After discovering parks as a hidden asset in Westmoreland County, the commissioners allocated a large chunk of hotel tax revenue to various projects, including two new stainless-steel slides to replace the famous Mammoth Park “giant slide” and a rehabilitation project at Cedar Creek Park.

The commissioner approved a memorandum of understanding between the county and Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau concerning the annual tourism plan, which allocates $861,783 toward county tourism efforts. The funds are derived from the county’s additional 2% in hotel tax that was approved in 2017.

“There’s a lot of good stuff in there,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas. “We are investing in the things that make Westmoreland County great.”

The largest portion of the allocation, $290,000, went to the Cedar Creek Park rehabilitation project, which includes improvements to the Hilltop site, with work on a new playground, winter tubing and sledding run site, renovations to three restrooms, parking expansion, improvements to walkways with ADA access, and landscaping and beautification work, and the development of the River ‘n Trail Pavilion, a 200-seat pavilion along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail.

Other parks and recreation projects earmarked with funds included revitalization and replacement of park amenities, including new stainless-steel slides to replace the Mammoth slide and a long, plastic slide for younger children ($180,000); completion of the new Westmoreland County Education Center at Historic Hanna’s Town and administrative offices of Westmoreland County Historical Society and Westmoreland Heritage in the Steel Farmhouse ($52,446); replacement of a “spider climber” near Twin Lakes Park Pavilion No. 3, in accordance with playground safety requirements ($15,870); repairs and maintenance at the county’s trail system of hiking/biking/walking trails ($9,500); replacements to certain types of playground equipment at Twin Lakes and Mammoth parks ($8,099); installation of two dryers in each park to allow for a reduction in litter and to be more eco-friendly and the installation of Game time grills in each park for an overall upgrade to the park system ($6,200).

In addition, funds were allocated toward two of Westmoreland County’s premier events, the Westmoreland County Air Show, which is planned for Memorial Day weekend ($93,750), and the Westmoreland County Arts & Heritage Festival, which is held around July 4th ($165,000).

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