Smethport Begins Year with New Mayor

January 7, 2014

Smethport Web - by Nathan Muller

Wayne Foltz, with wife Lisa, sworn in as Smethport  Mayor by Judge Bill Todd.Wayne Foltz was sworn into office by Magisterial District Court Judge Bill Todd at last evening’s Borough Council meeting. The Mayor’s wife, Lisa, took part in the ceremony by holding the Bible upon which the Mayor took the oath. Foltz is captain in the Smethport Fire Department and a former Smethport Chamber of Commerce president. He is currently employed as district manager at Universal Well Services in Bradford.

Council members Greg Rounsville, Josh Costa, Kent Herzog and Jeff Tanner were sworn into office, having won reelection last year. Leo Church, the newest member of the Council, was also sworn in by Judge Todd.

By unanimous vote, the Council reelected Greg Rounsville as President and Brian Gustafson as Vice President.
Read more

Smethport Hosts ‘Wheel Around the Hub’ Cycling Races on September 14

August 1, 2013

Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller

Smethport’s historic “Wheel Around the Hub” cycling races are coming to town on Saturday, September 14th. The starting gun fires at 12 noon in front of the McKean County Court House on Main Street.

This year’s event will feature a new Junior Mountain Bike Class for cyclists aged 12-13, 14-15, and 16-17, who will participate in a one-lap race. Parents are encouraged to ride along with younger cyclists along the route.

Male and female cyclists in the 53-mile and 7-mile circuits, as well as the new junior class 1-lap race, will follow the traditional route through Smethport’s quaint business district, past the McKean County fairgrounds and scenic farmlands, over the Galico Bridge, through rolling hills, past Hamlin Lake, and back onto Main Street past Victorian homes.

Participants in all classes – including the Junior Mountain Bike Class – can register online at: www.bikereg.com.

Following the race, there will be a Pig Roast / Beef Brisket Dinner and Awards Celebration at the Smethport Fire Hall. Smethport’s own Hamlin Station Blue Grass Band will provide musical entertainment.

Cyclists and their family and friends are invited to attend. The awards ceremony is open to the public at no charge and a nominal fee is charged for the dinner. There is no charge for hungry race participants.

The event is being organized by the Wheel Race Committee, a fundraising project of the Smethport Volunteer Fire Department.

ANF Visitors Bureau Announces Availability of Trail Maker App for Android Devices

June 12, 2013

In addition to trails, the app highlights historical points of interest, businesses, and recreational facilities in Smethport.The ANF Visitors Bureau, McKean County’s travel and tourism promotion agency, has partnered with the Allegheny Institute at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford to create a self-guided tour of Smethport, PA for smart phone users.

The first in a series of community-maintained digital maps, users can access information about Smethport and go to locations of interest at specific coordinates. The Trail Maker app can be streamed live or downloaded for areas with poor data coverage. Read more

Spring Migration on the Potato Creek Trails

May 24, 2013

Smethport Web - by Lisa Chapman

Green Heron along the Shawmut TrailMay is a month of surprises for birders of all stripes. The winds bring short term visitors through the area on their way to northern breeding grounds and our local breeders return from thousands of miles away to perpetuate their species.

Saturday, May 11th was the date for the Pennsylvania Migratory Bird Count. On this day birders across the state spent whatever time they had available finding, identifying, and reporting every bird they could in all 67 counties. This is one of many citizen science projects that help scientists monitor the status of birds in the state.

Our local club, the Allegheny Highlands Bird Club, had several members in several counties at work. Part of my day was spent on the Shawmut Trail and at Hamlin Lake, both part of the Potato Creek Trail System. Read more

Smethport Trail App Unveiled at Hamlin Memorial Library

December 13, 2012

Smethport Web - by Nathan Muller

In addition to trails, the app highlights historical points of interest, businesses, and recreational facilities in Smethport.About 40 people attended last night’s presentation by UPB students and staff who introduced the newly developed Trail App for Smethport. The meeting was held at Hamlin Memorial Library.

The app overlays trail information onto Google Maps. With an iOS or Android mobile device, users click on a specific point highlighted on the map. These may be trail markers or local points of interest. Clicking on the markers opens a pop-up window that contains more information.

The objective of the project is to build connections between outdoor enthusiasts and local businesses, and includes educational and recreational features that will be useful to visitors, residents, and students. Read more

Stream Bank Stabilization Underway Along Marvin Creek

October 6, 2012

Smethport Web - by Nathan Muller

Marvin Creek stream bank gets stabilized with logs to help prevent further damage from erosion and help protect the wildlife habitat.Smethport Borough and the McKean County Conservation District are working on a joint project to stabilize the stream bank along Marvin Creek on the west of Hamlin Lake, near the Little League baseball field.

Borough employees have removed some of the retaining wall’s concrete blocks and Conservation District personnel are installing wood poles in that space. This will be followed by rock cover — also known as “riprap” — to help prevent more of the bank from washing away. These steps also help preserve the area’s wildlife habitat.

The primary goal of the Conservation District is the development, improvement and conservation of the County’s Soil, water and related resources as well as educating the community in various conservation and environmental practices and methods. To learn more, visit their website.

Seneca Highlands Snowmobile Association Considers Trail Expansion

September 10, 2012

Smethport Web — by Les Jordan Jr.

Seneca Highlands Snowmobile Association meeting with county, state and federal representatives.The Seneca Highlands Snowmobile Association met with representatives from county, state and federal agencies at the Smethport Senior Center on Friday afternoon, September 7th, to discuss trail expansion, including two bridges planned for the area.

The association was represented by Corky Hull of Smethport who has been active in trail development for the snowmobile group since it was formed.

Adam Mattis, Northwest Regional Advisor of DCNR, played a key role in advising the association concerning several issues about trail expansion and the processes required for preparing grant applications. Other agency representatives offering advice included Susquehannock State Forest District Forester, Chris Nicholas; Assistant District Forester, Eric Allenbaugh; and Recreation Forester, Cory Gulvas. Also present were Liz Krug, President of the Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association, and Potter County PSSA Director, Amy Jacoby.

Ross Porter represented the Borough of Smethport. The snowmobile club is a standing member of the Potato Creek Trail Association, which is under Smethport Borough. Read more

Hamlin Lake Dam Repairs Underway

August 9, 2012

Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller

Hamlin Lake lowered by 3 feet for dam repairs.  [Photo by Matt Muller]If you’ve been over to Hamlin Lake recently, you may have noticed the water level isn’t what it used to be. In fact, the water level has gone down by three feet. [Click image for aerial photo.]

The missing water isn’t due to summer drought or clandestine siphoning by parties unknown; the level was taken down to allow for repair work on the dam by Duffy, Inc. of East Smethport. The project is expected to cost about $190,000.

As reported by Borough Council president Greg Rounsville, the project is on schedule to be completed by the October deadline set by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Microburst Slams Smethport

July 27, 2012

Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller

With little advanced warning, a mid-afternoon storm barreled into Smethport, Pennsylvania on Thursday, July 26, taking out power, disrupting phone service, uprooting trees, damaging homes and clogging streets with debris.

Borough police, fire department, utility and road crews were quick to respond in getting Smethport cleaned up. No storm-related injuries were reported.

The storm has been officially declared a “microburst” with wind gusts from 70 to 100 mph causing widespread property damage in Smethport and elsewhere throughout North Central Pennsylvania.

Woody Biomass Demonstration Project on Hold Until Natural Gas Prices Rise Again

June 28, 2012

Smethport Web

When the Smethport Woody Biomass Demonstration Project was started in June, 2008 the price of natural gas was almost $14.00 per thousand cubic feet. It’s now hovering around $3. The final report places the viability of the Smethport Biomass project when natural gas prices go above $6 per thousand again. [Also available for download as a PDF.]

In 2008, however, natural gas heating prices were skyrocketing and wrecking Smethport homeowners’ household budgets. In addition, Smethport was facing a $20 million bill to replace its aging community water pipe infrastructure.

Since the first electric came to Smethport in the early 1920s the Borough has owned and operated its own electric utility system. Smethport is the only community in the 12 county Pennsylvania Wilds region to do so. So it was logical for Smethport to explore solutions that included electricity. Read more

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