Armstrong officials begin weekly business tours | News

KITTANNING – There are a lot of good things happening with Armstrong County’s many businesses, and county officials are hoping to highlight some of those success stories each week.

Commissioner Don Myers said that the county has many small businesses “tucked away” and off the beaten path, and that he and fellow commissioners Jason Renshaw and Pat Fabian have started weekly tours to bring more awareness to entrepreneurs across the county.

“The idea is to highlight them,” Myers said following last week’s meeting of the board of commissioners.

The first week of tours took the commissioners to Gross Embroidery And Sign Shop in Ford City, DiMond Chiropractic Center in McGrann and the StudeCakers gourmet cupcakes and sugar cookie business in Ford City.

“All three have said things have picked up for them” since the pandemic, Myers said.

Photos from the commissioners’ visits, along with information about the businesses, are posted on the “Armstrong County Commissioners” Facebook page.

“The response has been good so far,” coordinator George Skamai said of the new initiative. He said that any businesses in the county that would like to take part in the tour and Facebook posts can contact him at [email protected]

Also at last Thursday’s meeting, Myers said Armstrong County has also been getting attention from the publication, “Invest Pittsburgh.”

Not only was an interview with Myers highlighting the county’s recent successes published last month, but Armstrong will be featured in a larger way in 2023.

“This county is in better financial shape than it’s been in a long time,” Myers said, noting that the Pittsburgh-based publication goes out to a lot of businesses and executives in the region.

In the recent article, titled “Growth and excitement underpin Southwest PA counties,” Myers points to the the RIDC Armstrong Innovation Park at Northpointe, noting that a 100-home residential development is being planned at the site in southern Armstrong County, and the upcoming construction of two 30,000-square-foot office buildings at the site.

“All of this is pretty exciting news for us in Armstrong County. This land has been vacant for a long time, and this housing development is the first of this size in over 40 years,” Myers told Invest Pittsburgh. “We are elated about the significant levels of recent economic development activity going on in the area, attributable to the restructuring that we have done.”

Myers also said that small businesses in the county are in “comeback mode” following the downturn with the pandemic. He noted that one major issue hindering the comeback is the shortage of workers.

Looking to the future, Myers told “Invest Pittsburgh” that the county sees a lot of potential for tourism, noting the county’s recent acquisition of the Kiski Junction Bridge that will connect trails in the county to Pittsburgh and beyond.

“We are pushing and supporting our local tourism industry to attract more people to the county,” he told the publication.

Other Business

• The commissioners approved an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of State, which will provide increased online security for county elections. The program will be paid for by the state, with no cost to the county.

• An agreement with Laurel Mountain Energy was approved, granting the company permission to place a 12-inch water line across a county-owned bridge in Perry Township.

The water line will serve a gas drilling operation in the township. The agreement runs through January 2024, with the company paying the county $15,000 for use of the bridge.

• Approval was given for an agreement between the county and the American Legion Home Association for a three-year lease for the Senior Center in Dayton at a cost of $627 per month.

• Mike Daquilante of Shelocta was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Armstrong Conservation District Board of Directors, running through December 2025. Also, Deanna Schaeffer of Ford City was appointed to the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Board, for a term running through December 2023.

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