Forest City Looks For Businesses To Cash In On Rail Trail

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FOREST CITY -- Locals in Forest City are gathering together to learn more about becoming a "Trail Town."

As crews continue working to replace the downtown's storm drains as part of a borough revitalization project, Joy Zazzera's focus is on the community's other thoroughfare: The D&H rail trail.

"We need more people in town," said Zazzera. "We need foot traffic into these businesses."

That's why this business owner, along with many others, is teaming up to try to make Forest City the first "Trail Town" in Susquehanna County. A designation Zazzera credits as helping many small towns in western Pennsylvania, where the program first started.

"Why not draw the visitors that use this trail seasonally," said Zazzera. "It's a four-season trail for activity happening. Why not draw those patrons two blocks north where they can eat and shop and they can visit and patronize these businesses?"

And people in the borough are hopeful that a rail trail designation could bring more from the trail into downtown.

"This town has been drying up for a couple recent years," said Doug Campbell of Forest City. "And with more people coming in, we might get more sustainable businesses instead of businesses that only stay open for a couple months and close down."

Dave Burnis runs on this trail about every other day. Right now, he's training for this weekend's Steamtown Marathon, which starts not far away at Forest City Regional High School.

For him, he hopes a trail designation will bring plenty of signs to help explain to bikers, runners,and anyone else using the trail what's available to them just down the street.

"There are a lot of people that use this trail," said Burnis. "I know some bikers that come through here and they come from way up in the valley toward Thompson and Binghamton. And they don't stop here. They don't realize the town is actually here."

That trail designation meeting starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the high school in Forest City.