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'Selling' Rural Communities on Cycling-The River Town Program

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Title: 'Selling' Rural Communities on Cycling
Track: Prosper
Format: 60 minute panel
Abstract: This panel will share successful strategies and programs utilized in Oregon and Pennsylvania developed to leverage and promote the economic benefits of cycling in rural communities.
Presenters:
Presenter: Sheila Lyons Oregon DOT
Co-Presenter: Jessica Horning Oregon DOT
Co-Presenter: Cathy McCollom River Town Program

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'Selling' Rural Communities on Cycling-The River Town Program

  1. 1. The River Town Program
  2. 2. The River Town Program is: An initiative in partnership with heritage areas, environmental groups and community development organizations A regional program based on the growing outdoor recreational market A community driven process Grassroots rather than grass tops driven
  3. 3. Asset Based Community Development Mobilizes community to take action Is not dependent on outside expertise Allows communities to drive the development process Creates local economic opportunity
  4. 4. History and Heritage
  5. 5. Combined with nature and recreation
  6. 6. Trail Towns, River Towns, Canal Towns Economic development and community revitalization programs linking communities, tourism and heritage
  7. 7. Based on a growing interest in outdoor recreational activities. Capitalizes on existing assets of natural environment, navigable rivers, developed trails and heritage attractions. Engages municipal and civic leadership in the value of the resource and the need to conserve, sustain and improve.
  8. 8. It Works: In the first three years… Over $1.2 Million raised in project funding Regional River Town signage installed River-related activities attract 1000s more visitors than in previous years 2 Kayak rentals, two marinas and 1 Paddleboard business open 50 new campsites opened River view corridors opened in five communities
  9. 9. Public docks improved and expanded Five public art installations Hundreds of flowers planted Three buildings and one caboose painted Five facades improved Four business signs designed and installed One park donated to the public Three other parks cleared and improved Trail master plan completed
  10. 10. It’s All About the Economics! The Great Allegheny Passage (2008) Over $40 million in economic impact in the 2008 season April - November (Campos Market Research study). Plus another $7.26 million in wages in trail-related businesses in the same period.
  11. 11. Water Trails are Good Business University of Vermont, Northern Forest Canoe Trail study (2007) 90,000 visitors per year $12 million in total economic impacts 280 jobs created $215 spending per trip Non-locals spending average of $414-$498 per trip Paddler recreation & tourism impacts local economies
  12. 12. Economics of Trails Pine Creek Trail $3.6 million Schuylkill River Trail $3.6 million Oil Heritage Trails $4.3 million Torrey C. Brown Trail $5.2 million
  13. 13. Economics of Outdoor Recreation Active outdoor recreation employs five times more Americans than Walmart, the world’s largest private employer The outdoor recreation industry contributes more than $800 billion and 6.5 million jobs to the U.S. economy The average spending of overnight trail users is $98 per day Average paddlers spend $23-$64 per day
  14. 14. Sources of Economic Impact Rails to Trails Conservancy, an annual report Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Pennsylvania trail system) National Park Service (C & O Canal National Historic Park study) Outdoor Industry Foundation Many, many more
  15. 15. Answering the NIMBYs Outdoor recreation and tourism are small jobs and seasonal Trails are just for local residents The value of my property will go down with a trail passing through it I do not want strangers in my neighborhood; crime will go up.
  16. 16. The Power of Small Business Small Business accounts for 39% of GNP Small Business creates 75% of new jobs in our economy Small Business generated 60-80% of net new jobs annually over the last decade On average entrepreneurs make at least 25% more than the general population.  Experian, 2006
  17. 17. Property Values Rise Studies show property values increase with proximity to bicycle paths: Manon Trail, Indiana: homes within ½ mile of the trail sell for 14% more than comparable homes in the area. Pinellas Trail, 34 miles, Florida: median home sales prices adjacent to trail escalated faster than countywide.
  18. 18. Crime is not an Issue Renaissance Planning Group in a Florida study concluded that trails acted as a deterrent effect on crime. The Rails to Trails Conservancy studied crime statistics from 372 trails of diverse length and type and found that 5 million users reported crimes vastly below national levels
  19. 19. Confluence, Pennsylvania: The Story of a Trail Town
  20. 20. Population: 720 Residents 6 Bed and Breakfasts 15 Guest Houses 3 Campgrounds; plus 1 Glamping site 10 Restaurants/Cafes 3 Grocery stores 1 Outfitter; 1 Bicycle Rental (including recumbents) An Art Center, Art Gallery, Antique Store 2 Salons and 1 Spa
  21. 21. Cathy McCollom, Director, River Town Program and Principal, McCollom Development Strategies, LLC csm@mccollomds.com

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