LANSFORD, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Communities that flourished when coal was king have faced an uphill economic battle. An effort is underway to breathe new life into one of those local communities.
Organizations and residents in Lansford are working together to spotlight small businesses, promote tourism and showcase the endless opportunities available in this carbon county community.
Christmas music filled the air at Kennedy Park in Lansford Saturday night.
People grabbed some hot chocolate and listened to community leaders discuss initiatives aimed at revitalizing the borough.
“It all just starts with people coming out and supporting small businesses, supporting local organizations, getting involved with local organizations, and volunteer organizations. That’s really what drives change,” stated Marianne Rustad, membership logistics & event coordinator of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce.
“Lights in Lansford” is just one of the many events this year hosted by the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce.
It’s a combined effort between organizations like “Lansford Alive” and the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau to highlight all Lansford has to offer.
“It’s a lot of great people that have been working very hard for a lot of years, and the efforts are actually what you see now, right, they’re coming to life and it’s a wonderful thing,” said Mayor Michele Bartek.
“This town is really getting some legs and getting some wind. So, we’re gonna make sure that we’re directing people to come here and visit Lansford and check it out. It’s really about the people, they’re the ones that make this happen,” explained Marlyn Kissner, vice president of membership & community relations, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.
One of the four new small businesses to open in Lansford in 2021 is Construction Clearance.
“We opened six months ago and we’re trying to bring business to the town. What we do is, we buy bulk items from Home Depot and Lowe’s, and then sell them for about 25 percent off,” said Julia Atiyah, owner of Construction Clearance.
The women-owned and operated store has been welcomed by the community with open arms.
“Since I’ve been here, everybody’s been extremely supportive, which is helpful because in these towns it’s like a community effort,” said Atiyah.
Many residents are thrilled to see their small town begin to thrive.
“There is a lot of good in Lansford. We have a rich history of coal mining, and to see it being revitalized and the good coming out of it, just makes me really excited for the future,” said Lynn Peterson.
One of Lansford’s top attractions is actually a nod to the past. It’s the Number 9 Coal Mine and Museum. The mine closed in 1972 before reopening 30 years later as the exhibit it is today.