History gets boost from tourism grants

Shawn Hardy news @echo-pilot.com

Grants of $10,000 each have been awarded for two historic properties in the Greencastle-Antrim area through the Franklin County Tourism and Quality of Life Enhancement Grant program.

On Jan. 2, Franklin County commissioners announced grants totaling $267,000.

Among the recipients are Allison-Antrim Museum Inc. for the mansion house on South Ridge Avenue, Greencastle, and The Archaeology Conservancy for the Ebbert Spring Archaeological Preserve and Heritage Park off U.S. 11 south of town.

AAMI will be involved at both locations since it has a 99-year lease to care for the standing structures at the preserve and heritage park, which opened last summer.

The $10,000 for the Ridge Avenue site will be used to repoint the mortar on the 1860 mansion house, as well as for changing tables for the ADA bathrooms and an outside storage area for tools and a mower, according to Bonnie Shockey, president of AAMI.

The Ebbert Spring funding will be used for a one-room schoolhouse in what is called the dining room in the 1780s Allison house at Ebbert Spring.

The recreated 1764 classroom will open up opportunities to work with the Greencastle-Antrim School District and other schools and enhance their use of the heritage park by bringing history lessons of the Pontiac and French and Indian wars to life, Shockey said.

Furnishings will include a teacher's desk, benches for children, horn books, quill pens and ink wells. A volunteer interpreter will be a living history teacher from the 18th century. An opening date for the schoolhouse has not be set yet.

The purpose of the Tourism and Quality of Life Enhancement Grant program is to help boost the tourism experience; promote visitation and overnight stays in Franklin County; improve the county as a destination for leisure travel; preserve and enhance the historical resources in the county; and provide bike and walking trails for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.

Other recipients in this round of grant funding are:

  • Fort Loudon Community Center Walking and Bike Path, $17,800 (Peters Township)
  • Monterey Pass Battlefield Park Trail System Improvements Project, $50,000 (Washington Township)
  • Zion Union Cemetery Association for continued care of the cemetery, $5,000 (Mercersburg)
  • Tuscarora Wildlife Education Project to install two interactive touch screen stations, $5,000 (Mercersburg)
  • Fort Loudon Historical Society for reconstruction of soldier barracks at Historic Fort Loudoun, $73,000 (Peters Township)
  • Mont Alto Historical Society for renovations to the museum, $3,190
  • Historic Letterkenny Chapel & Franklin County Veterans and 9/11 Memorial Park for preservation and tourism upgrades, $8,375 (Letterkenny Township)
  • Totem Pole Playhouse for expenses associated with heating, plumbing and electrical upgrades, $50,000 (Greene Township)
  • Franklin County Historical Society for renovations to the Kittochtinny St. Thomas Toll House No. 2, $20,000 (St. Thomas Township)
  • Capitol Theatre to repair walls affected by moisture, $15,000  (Chambersburg)

Over $1.7 million has been awarded to more than 40 local projects since the grant program started in 2014. The funding is derived from the hotel/motel tax on overnight stays in the county, as well as Marcellus Shale impact fees.

Nonprofit organizations and municipalities located in Franklin County with a mission and operations related to tourism or the improvement of quality of life for county residents are eligible to apply. The next application process will begin in August.

 For more information, call the Franklin County Planning Department at 717-261-3855.