Celebrating the Season – and Fayette County – from a Fresh Perspective

by on December 16, 2015

McConnellsHolidayImgRecently, we reached out to the PRA’s economic development partners in both Lawrence and Fayette to have them further paint a picture of two counties that are part of the 10 that create “one extraordinary region” – as our 2015 holiday season “fresh perspective” promotional campaign* touts.

Today, Bob Shark, executive director of Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, shares his responses to several questions that we posed.

Bob Shark - 1 (002)

Bob Shark, executive director of Fay-Penn Economic Development Council

In the spirit of the holidays, give us five golden “things” about Fayette County that would surprise people.

  • The county is the birthplace of the Big Mac.® In 1967, franchise owner Jim Delligati invented the Big Mac® at the McDonald’s on Morgantown St. in Uniontown.
  • Fayette County is home to one of Pennsylvania’s largest state parks. The gateway to the Laurel Mountains, Ohiopyle State Park encompasses over 20,000 acres and attracts over 1.5 million visitors annually. With its 65 miles of hiking trails, 18 miles of biking trails, a natural waterslide and some of the best Class 1 to Class 5 rapids for whitewater adventures in the East, is it any wonder?
  • Uniontown, the county seat of Fayette County, was founded on July 4, 1776 – the same date the Declaration of Independence was signed.
  • During the Coal Boom of the early part of the 20th century, Uniontown was home to at least 13 millionaires, the most (per capita) of any city in the U.S.
  • Fayette County boasts two Frank Lloyd Wright homes. The more renowned, Fallingwater has been named the “best all-time work of American architecture” by members of the American Institute of Architects and is on the Smithsonian’s list of “places to see before you die.”  The second is Kentuck Knob – the former full-time residence of the I.N. Hagan family (owners of the notable local Hagan’s Dairy). The house was commissioned by the Hagans after a visit to nearby Fallingwater, a mountain retreat/summer home of their friends, the Edgar J. Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, owners of former Kaufmann’s Department Store.  Kentuck Knob is now owned by Lord Peter Palumbo of Great Britain and is open to the public.

What are your three wishes for Fayette County in the new year?

  • Improved transportation: extension of the rail lines and the airport runways at the Joseph A. Hardy/Connellsville Airport.
  • Continued improvement of the public infrastructure; providing water, sewerage and internet access throughout all of Fayette County.
  • Adequate emergency response services (police, fire, and EMS) for all and no reason to ever use them!

Finally, why the Pittsburgh region right now … considering business investment and live-work-play-learn opportunities?

Southwestern Pennsylvania is loaded with key ingredients: a low cost of living with a high quality of life; a talented workforce, both experienced and developing and one known for its work ethic; a wealth of education opportunities from technical schools to top-rated universities; a location in the heart of the Marcellus Shale with the availability of well-priced sites and a competitive cost of doing business. I think the question should be “why not southwestern Pennsylvania?”

Note to readers:

*If you haven’t caught our “celebrate with fresh perspective” television public service announcement spot, which promotes the uniqueness of our Pittsburgh region, you can watch it here.