After several years of planning how to improve their economy, residents of Mercer County are ready to take the next steps. Led by the group Mercer County Better Together, they're starting to fix up their parks and promote tourism.
The group's executive director, Kyle McEwen, says they began working on a strategic plan in 2015, first organizing leaders from the 11 main towns in the county then holding public meetings. Now, they're ready to put their plans into action.
"During the planning process, our residents identified their public parks and recreation facilities as one of their most valued assets in their communities."
McEwen says a key part of the plan is for all the communities to help each other fix up their parks and recreation facilities, with money from a local foundation and donations.
Their second project is figure out what signs are needed to help tourists.
"And leveraging that tourism opportunity in our county is to identify are we steering visitors toward our important assets, whether they be recreational assets, business assets, historical assets, et cetera."
McEwen says Mercer County Better Together is now recognized by the IRS as a non-profit organization so financial contributions are tax deductible.