LINESVILLE — A national U.S. Route 6 center proposed for Linesville was to be more than just a regional museum and visitors destination. It was to oversee and coordinate Route 6-related travel and tourism activities at the national level — until the plans recently hit a funding roadblock.

But it’s not too late to save the effort.

That’s according to Russell J. Lombard, president and chief executive officer of the not-for-profit U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association and chair of the American Road Foundation’s board.

The nonprofit Envision Linesville Inc. secured funds to purchase the Morrison’s Supply building downtown on Route 6, but the group has been unable to secure funds to rehabilitate the circa-1880s community landmark to be used as the center’s site, according to ELI President Doug Smith. Initial costs for the project are expected to be more than $4 million, according to Smith, who also serves as the national association’s executive director of museum and visitor centers.

Travel and tourism officials have said the center — four years in the planning — could serve as a catalyst for further downtown revitalization, not only in the Linesville community and throughout the region, but also in each of the 14 states that Route 6 passes through.

“As part of a (nationwide) chain/network, it would not only have benefited the economy in Linesville, it would have also benefited all the communities along the entire route,” said Lombard. “I truly don’t believe that the people in Pennsylvania really understand the overall financial benefit of having the national museum and visitors center in Linesville.”

Pennsylvania Route 6 Heritage Corp. will spread that word and offer information about related national Route 6 efforts at the corporation’s upcoming annual meeting, Sept. 28 in Ansonia.

Michele Heitzmann, board member and vice chairperson of program development for the tourist association, is keynote speaker at the public event. She plans to address economic development and cultural preservation efforts in several states, according to organizers, and will also be highlighting the benefits of including senior high school and college student interns as active participants in development projects. The corporation’s annual report for 2007 and planned projects for 2008; the state association’s current promotional efforts; and an update on the state Route 6 Artisan Trail project will also be presented.

“Now is the opportunity for the people, businesses, city and town governments along Route 6 in Pennsylvania to voice their opinions and provide the financial and physical support needed” to make the project a success, said Lombard.



Ryan Smith can be reached at 724-6370 ext. 287 or by e-mail at rsmith@meadvilletribune.com.



Get involved

Pennsylvania Route 6 Heritage Corp. will discuss the proposed National U.S. Route 6 Museum and Visitors Center in Linesville and offer information about related national Route 6 efforts at the corporation’s upcoming annual meeting, Sept. 28 at the Coach Stop Inn in Ansonia, Tioga County.

To register and/or for more information, call the corporation at (814) 435-7706.

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