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City highlighted for booming business, recreation

LOCK HAVEN — After a year of growth in its downtown, the city of Lock Haven is beginning to catch a few eyes.

Online media outlet Livability.com featured the city in a recent article “Moving to Pennsylvania? Here’s Where You Should Live.”

Lock Haven was among 16 cities featured throughout the state and among big dogs such as Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as well as smaller areas like St. Mary’s, East Stroudsburg and Meadville.

The article, written by Lindsey Hyde, reads:

“What began as a timber town in the 1800s has now transitioned to an economically diverse city, with education and health care at its core.

“Located in the valley of the Susquehanna River’s West Branch, Lock Haven’s downtown is going through an impressive revitalization, with incentives for new businesses to set up shop.

“Those who love to stay active will be impressed by the full calendar of events that take place in Lock Haven, which is becoming a renowned spot for runners, thanks to races like the Boulder Beast, a challenging 25-mile trail run.

“On weekends, go for a picnic or hike, or come winter, go cross-country skiing in Upper Pine Bottom State Park, then grab a burger and beer at the 20-seat community table at Odd Fellas, which serves craft burgers and brings the community together. The city is also home to Lock Haven University.”

Lock Haven’s downtown has truly boomed with business in the last year with eight new stores opening up shop in the heart of the city. From clothing, baked goods, cigars and collectible items and gifts there’s sure to be something for everyone.

Downtown Lock Haven Inc. board member and Merchant’s Committee Chair Hanna Stover said local businesses are in the best of times. Stover owns women’s clothing store, Momoyo Otsu, on Main Street.

“We have the most amazing community who chooses to support small businesses. Lock Haven has this contagious energy that we can’t get enough of. We made it through hard times and came out stronger than ever because of this amazing community,” Stover said.

Paired with the city’s wide range of restaurants, it offers a variety of options for those who would like to enjoy a day out of the house.

“When people use the expression “it takes a village“… it makes me think of Lock Haven. The amount of people who are owed credit for the energy, growth, and exciting future of our community would constitute a village,” Downtown Lock Haven Inc. President Angela Harding said.

“The City of Lock Haven, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc., volunteers, interns, committee members, the entrepreneurs who made the leap during the pandemic, and the business owners who have been established and held on throughout the years; each and every one is the reason Lock Haven is doing so well,” Harding continued.

Harding hopes the energy surrounding downtown Lock Haven continues into the future and causes more growth in the city and throughout Clinton County.

For those who enjoy outdoor recreation, as Livability notes, there’s a lot of opportunity throughout the county. From the city’s levee walkway to a wide range of hiking, biking and kayaking routes, staying active can be a simple task.

“We have the wide open, fun and safe spaces many people are looking for these days: small, rural communities with lots of charm, friendly neighbors and a reasonable cost of living, yet within easy access to metro areas; and just a smorgasbord of recreational pursuits from the tame to the extreme,” Clinton County Economic Partnership Tourism Director Julie Brennan said.

Brennan encourages anyone interested in recreation to visit www.ClintonCountyInfo.com to learn more about what the county has to offer.

Lock Haven City Mayor Joel Long is proud of the progress the city has made in recent years, and commends staff for the improvements.

“We have a young, aggressive staff and we’re taking an aggressive approach to improving the city,” Long said.

Long thanked City Planner Abbey Roberts and Community Life Director Kasey Campbell for all their work through the city such as improvements to Jack Bailey Playground, work at Taggert Park and other areas of the city.

He noted that city staff have been on the ball with a lot of projects, including those that are city funded such as the new Geisinger Clinic at the intersection of Spring and Fourth streets. “Staff took the opportunity and said let’s do this right,” he said.

“I couldn’t be more excited by the performance of the staff,” he said. “Keep watching, we’re not done yet. There’s a lot to do.”

City Manager Gregory Wilson said quality of life plays a big part in the city’s decision making process.

“I think it’s no secret that the city doesn’t create economic development. It’s related to local enterprise,” he said.

However, the city does play a part in bringing local businesses, families and individuals to the area, he said.

This includes the improvements to infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer and support of local events and organizations too.

“I think it’s a livable community because we’re receptive to the needs of the community,” Wilson said.

Roberts said she was excited to see the city recognized.

“I think it’s awesome. We hit the ground running and it’s good to have that recognition on a higher level,” Roberts said.

She noted that this isn’t the first time the city has been featured on livability.com. The city was included in two other articles, Roberts said.

Campbell noted that the improvements to the city didn’t happen overnight.

“These don’t happen without the support of the community and city council. We’re kind of looking to the future but can appreciate seeing all the hard work paid off,” she said.

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