Study indicates Kane could boost tourism

Kane’s proximity to the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) and other “natural” attractions is a key resource in attracting more tourists—and the money they spend.This is one of the local assets pointed out in a study commissioned by the Pennsylvania Route 6 Alliance, which is based in Galeton.The study looks at the “special qualities and attractiveness” of the “small, vibrant and picturesque towns” along the 427-mile Route 6 corridor in Pennsylvania.Richard F. Truscello, the manager of planning services for the EADS Group of Altoona, reviewed the study Monday at a public meeting at the Kane Area Community Center.In his “power-point” presentation, Truscello said Kane has a “strategic” location to “nature tourism.” He said the study recommendations call for the “building, enhancing and promoting an identity that emphasizes Kane.” He said the community could draw more tourist dollars by making “better connections with natural, cultural and regional attractions.”Truscello said Kane and 19 other “heritage communities” along Route 6 are featured in the study that covers an 11-county area along the northern tier of the state. Smethport is the only other McKean County community featured in the study, he said.In addition to drawing more tourists, Truscello said Kane needs to “engage and capture” the local community by improving its appearance and reducing blight.Truscello praised the Kane Area Development Center (KADC) and the Kane Area Revitalization Enterprise (KARE) for erecting new “welcome” signs at the main entrances to Kane.He believes Kane should “embrace” its label as the “Black Cherry Capital of the World” by developing a wood products education program that could include “interpretive panels at key wood products sites.”Truscello called for Kane to consider reviving the annual “Black Cherry Festival” as an event to draw together “local people and tourists.”The Art in the Wilds in Evergreen Park on the last weekend in June now is the main annual attraction in Kane. The event coincides with Alumni Weekend.The consultant believes the community could attract more tourists by featuring programs or activities linked with the Civil War and Union General Thomas Kane. The general is the founder of Kane, which will mark its 150th “birthday” in 2014.A committee headed by borough office employee Sue Holt already is meeting regularly to make plans for the sesquicentennial.In his study, Truscello said expanding the hours of the Kane Depot museum and Artworks on Fraley Street would make the site more of a destination for tourists in the area.“Community enhancements” suggested in the study include the decorating of vacant storefronts, increasing the utilization of funds for façade improvements, the lighting of archways on certain buildings in Uptown Kane and the addition of trees, benches and landscaping at key sites.Truscello said the creation of special maps and “walking tours” also could spur more travelers to stop in Kane.As part of the 14-month study, local businesses and groups were asked to respond to a survey.Truscello said 37 Kane businesses and non-profit organizations responded to the survey. He said a vast majority of Kane businesses are locally owned.See full article by purchasing the April 5 edition of The Kane Republican.