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Generations of Energy: Big boom in gas and economy

Marcellus Shale has had a positive impact on the economy in Lycoming County.

Williamsport, Lycoming County - Some new customers are in town.
 

They're in Williamsport to tap into the oil there ... But they're also tapping into the local restaurants and hotels.

"You've seen a significant growth within that activity here, which has also driven the revenue up because of the fact that a lot of those business travelers that have been going in here associated with the Marcellus Shale have been staying here in the greater Williamsport, Lycoming county area." Said Jason Fink, Executive Director of Lycoming County visitors bureau.

Over the past five years, this increase in revenue has made it possible for hotels and restaurants to grow.

"You've seen a number of restaurants that have opened up or have expanded their operations to be able to service the new clientele that's come in," Fink said.

Ozzie and Mae's Hacienda on west fourth street in Williamsport is one restaurant that has benefited from Marcellus Shale business.

The Mexican food restaurant used to have a staff of three people ... And now, that staff has grown to 10 people.

"It's definitely been a huge impact on my business, we've grown a lot, we've gotten to meet great people," said Mae Thaljih, co-owner of Ozzie & Mae's Hacienda.

And Thaljih has noticed the difference in other local spots, too.

"It's been amazing, actually, you see a lot of buildings have been restored, you see a lot of hotels popping up, a lot more hustle and bustle," she said.

Now, these area hotels have to apply for a hotel room tax. That tax money goes back to visitors bureaus throughout the Commonwealth and is used to promote the different counties. And this boom in tourism isn't just for oil drillers.

"Also with more buildings having been developed, more people feel comfortable coming downtown, it's a much prettier place to be so it's not just gas workers we're experiencing, it's also a lot more people from the community which is also very nice," Thaljih said.

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