Study: Lackawanna Heritage Valley Has $31 Million Impact

Published 07/24 2014 05:41PM

Updated 07/24 2014 06:32PM

Each year, tourism officials spend countless hours trying to market our region to people in New York, New Jersey and beyond.

Up until recently, an agency based in Lackawanna County that promotes quality of life didn't have any real numbers about what kind of an economic impact it was having.

All that has changed.

A new study shows that the Lackawanna Heritage Valley pumps more than $31 million into the regional economy on a yearly basis.

Paul Merkel of Newton Ransom likes to exercise and thinks the agency's trail system is a great place to go.

"We use it every other day, at least every third day," Merkel said.

Thursday, results of an economic impact study were released finding the Lackawanna Heritage Valley, its trails and the programs it runs have an economic impact of $31.3 million annually.

The agency also helps support 386 jobs.

"I think compared to a lot of their national peers they have done more with less," said Paul Umbach of the consulting Firm Tripp Umbach who conducted the study. "They have only a staff of about eight but they have over $30 million annual impact."

For Paul Merkel, he believes the figures because he spends money everytime he comes to town.

"We just went to Catalanos for a hoagie, give them a little boost, pizza, soda, potato chips, we spent like $15," Merkel said.

Directors of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley say they only get a little bit of public funding so they believe the impact is huge.

"To me, it's just so exciting to be able to see, translate it into numbers the great work that our partners do," Executive Director Natalie Gelb said.

As the trail system is still being built, piece by piece, connecting the city of Carbondale is next on the map.

Mayor Justin Taylor is hoping some of the economic impact spreads to his city.

"This past weekend there were folks at the hotel for a wedding and they were looking for something to do for an hour or so to kill time and I mentioned to them about the trail. They went up, took a little walk and they loved it," Mayor Taylor said.

As a result of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley's work to bring visitors into the area, more than $2 million in tax revenue is raised each year.

When you add in all the LHV's partner agencies, the study shows the Lackawanna Heritage Valley brought in an estimated $80.7 million in economic benefits.

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