Yesterday, on the backdrop of Ruins Hall in Glen Rock, the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) announced the recipients of the York County Trail Towns Bloom grant program.
York County Economic Alliance launched the York County Trail Towns program in June 2020 to support five communities adjacent to the York County Heritage Rail Trail: City of York, Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Railroad, and New Freedom.
The program received 19 applications, and narrowed down to 12 finalists, of which all were partially funded, representing all five Trail Towns. Grants up to $5,000 were considered for projects intended to increase the portion of the business related to York County Heritage Rail Trail users and/or to make the business more trail user-friendly such as marketing and promotions aimed at trail users, expanding inventory, physical improvements (such as better lighting, storefront enhancements, façade repairs), addition of bike-friendly amenities (such as bike racks, water, restroom improvements), or other creative ideas. Funding for this allocation of grants came from the York County Community Foundation.
The recipients of the Trail Towns Bloom Grant are:
- Capt. Bob’s Crabs in Railroad, for portable toilets, a bike rack, and landscaping
- Four Springs Winery in Seven Valleys for signage and seating
- Glen Rock Train Stop Pop-Up for marketing expenses to promote their new hours and entertainment expenses for their summer and fall festivals
- Grace Manor Bed & Breakfast in Downtown York for accommodations and transportation for Black travel bloggers
- Keystone Kidspace in Downtown York for bike pump station and signage
- Simply Local of Glen Rock for bike rack, benches, signage, expanded inventory of PA-produced goods
- Jackson House Bed & Breakfast in Railroad for trailside mobile drink cart and funding toward landscaping and replacement of awnings
- Summit Grove Camp & Conference Center in New Freedom for renovation of four motel rooms
- New Freedom Roasting Company and Deli for signage and bike rack
- Fresh Pressed Juice Bar in Downtown York for bike rack and sidewalk seating
- Gillice Italian Ice & Hand-Dipped Ice Cream in New Freedom for outdoor signage
- Kindred Wellness Café in Glen Rock for signage and shaded outdoor seating
As you may already recall, the Bloom Grant Program was created in 2018 by a class of summer interns, to offer unique funding opportunities through this small business grant program. Grant rounds have been hosted for women-owned businesses, Downtown York specific businesses, graduates of the YCEA’s small business development program, Start-up businesses, and YCEA member businesses throughout York County. To date, Bloom grants have awarded over $240,000 to 79 small businesses/Non Profits, of which over 53% were owned by persons of color, and over 62% were women owned or led.
In addition to the grant program, the YCEA also announced yesterday a new initiative – the Trail Towns Trail-Friendly Business Program. This program encourages businesses to leverage “trail traffic” through hospitality and service recommendations as a “best practice” to market to and attract trail users. The objective is to establish a level of customer service along the trail to serve trail users. On the YorkCountyTrailTowns.com website, businesses can review the program guidelines and benefits, as well as apply to be designed a Trail-Friendly business. The first recipient of this program is Gillice Italian Ice & Hand-Dipped Ice Cream in New Freedom.
Ending the press event was the debut of the official Trail Towns promotional video, created by Brian Lazzaro, who has a vast knowledge of the Heritage Rail Trail, and the Trail Towns program. Brian and his wife Rachelle left Los Angeles to settle in Railroad, PA, where they renovated a 19th century home, now available on Air B&B, named The Creek House. Click here to watch the video.
For more information on the program, visit www.YorkCountyTrailTowns.com
About the YCEA
YCEA drives York County’s economic growth by leveraging the collaboration, resources and expertise needed to create sustainable prosperity.