Residents of McKean, Potter, and Cameron counties will have a speak their minds about their communities’ future during a public hearing on the Northern Pennsylvania Tri-County Comprehensive Plan.
The plan will guide decision-makers across a broad spectrum of public policy areas over the next decade, including economic development, environmental conservation, transportation, employment, education, small business, community facilities and other areas.
After the first round of public input, during which nearly 2,400 people participated across the three counties, the top issues that have emerged for action are:
- business attraction and workforce development;
- protection of clean air, water and natural places;
- expansion of infrastructure (including public works and high-speed internet);
- enhanced attractions for tourism and recreation;
- strengthening downtown amenities and community services;
- investing in expanded housing;
- addressing issues related to drug addiction.
Focus groups have been meeting to provide the framework. The public will have another opportunity to be heard during a three-county public meeting scheduled for 6-8 pm on Thursday, June 27, at Port Allegany High School. Input is also being accepted by planning directors Will Hunt (Potter), Jeremy Morey (McKean) and Cliff Clark (Cameron), and by consultant Joe Passmore at email@example.com or 717-221-2061.
Initial research cited multiple public policy challenges that will be posed by declining population, combined with steady increases in median age. Implications will be felt in terms of needed services, changes in the job market, economics and other areas. While the master document covers a three-county region, the plan will include sections that are exclusive to each county.
The plan is mandated by the state and must be updated every 10 years. Total cost is $115,000, with $80,000 covered by federal funding and the remaining $35,000 shared equally among Cameron, Potter and McKean counties.