HAWLEY - With a few ceremonial strokes of the paint bush, Mayor Kevin Hawk and other officials put their stamp of approval on downtown Hawley's
latest round of revitalization June 13th.
Workers began on May
19 painting and fixing commercial fronts up and down Main Avenue,
courtesy the Benjamin Moore Main Street Matters program.
Winning of the Benjamin Moore contest was matched with another
win, approval of a grant from the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) that helped to complete the work. There are 21 commercial facades being freshened.
In all, an estimated $160,000 was invested in Main Avenue, plus another nearly $50,000 in state funds from another DCED grant that paid for the new, red flower planters, benches, trash receptacles and other street-scape accessories, put in place earlier in the week.
Work will still be going on to finish the project. Simon Knox, Administrator, Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP), said that crews will be back over the next couple weeks.
Some businesses are getting new awnings and the Hawley Diner's metal finish will be refurbished among other work to be done to this and other buildings. Rain held up crews on some days.
Benjamin Moore CEO Mike Searles spoke at the press conference set
up in front of About Face Orthodontics, 210 Main Avenue, where the
ceremonial paint strokes were applied.
Searles reviewed the Main Street Matters program which was started in May 2013.
occurred picking from 140 nominee communities across the United States
and Canada. Hawley was one of 20 that were picked.
Across the continent, commercial districts were being revived, and
like celebrations held. Searles said that he wished he could have been
at all of them personally and was glad to come to Hawley.
He said he
grew up in a small Vermont town, and Hawley brings back fond memories
Benjamin Moore is a 130-year old company with approximately 6000
dealers. The program's goals to brighten Main Streets across the land
is described as a way for the company to honor their dealer network and communities that have contributed to the firm's success.
He said that freshening downtowns in this way is a catalyst for further revitalization. Storefront tenancy tends to increase, vacancies fill and enthusiasm for the town spreads.
Searles said that
people still remember how Main Street used to be a community hub,
which he said is on its way back.
"We have deep roots in small town America," the CEO told a reporter.
Clyde "Champ" Holman, Deputy Secretary for DCED, also spoke of
their pleasure to be part of this project, which he noted has been a community effort.
Sen. Lisa Baker later commended the DCED
officials for finding a way to approve Hawley Borough's request for
funding to match the Benjamin Moore contribution, and see that the project did meet the guidelines of the grant source.
Mayor David Hawk and Simon Knox both expressed their thanks to the many involved.
Hawk and Searles took brushes to a paint can and applied it to a
portion of the facade. Senator Baker and County Commissioner Wendell
Kay also were given a turn.
Michael Gleason was also present, representing Gleco Paints, Benjamin Moore dealer in Mount Pocono and Scranton, which supplied the
paint. Grimm Construction, Waymart, is the general contractor.
A big community party followed on Keystone Street, with a free
barbecue, music, an art show of downtown Hawley scenes done by Juan
Espino, and the Hawley Farmer's Market vendors joining in.
The Settlers Inn contributed a grand cake done by their pastry chef
Alanna Braun. The cake resembled downtown Hawley, with representative
buildings: AMSkier, Joe & Lorenzo's, Finan's barbershop building and
After much admiration and snapping of photos, Hawk performed
the "first slice" and the gathering proceeded to eat the sweet rendition of Hawley.
Many enthusiastic remarks were made about the new look on Main Avenue.
"It looks just great, it's awesome," said the Hon. Bonnie Carney,
magistrate. "I'm very excited about Hawley." She said it was a real
community effort that should be very good for the town.
Now she will
be doing her part, having received the Borough's approval, to freshen
up the outside of her offices at Borough Hall with plantings.
Joe Sciarrino, owner of Joe & Lorenzo's restaurant, was outside planting his own flowers during the celebration.
"Who would have thought it would happen to Hawley," added Glenn
Rice. "I think it's a major aesthetic improvement."
Catherine Burns, working for Momentum Marketing, was helping with a Benjamin Moore contest table where people could walk around and mark what businesses received which Benjamin Moore color type. This allowed a chance for a free t-shirt.
Burns had another view, commenting that it would have been better
had their been more local vendors picked by the paint company, as well as a way to recycle the trash from the barbecue.
Barbara Briden found a very positive outcome to the whole downtown
revitalization in that it has the potential to bring people together.
She found that personally true this week when the new red benches were put around, as the paint crews worked.
Will Wyckoff, Bev and Lou Beck were enjoying the new bench outside the Becks' store, The Trading Post.
Briden came along and chatted with the Becks.
Bev asked Briden where she was from.
"Plainfield, New Jersey," she said.
It turns out that Lou was also from Plainfield, and from the very same street- at the opposite end- they had attended different high schools and didn't know each other
Now they did know each other, here in Hawley, PA and on a new Main
Avenue bench- demonstrating one way "Main Street" - as a community focal point- does "Matter."