Rivertown label must be impetus for more activity

The city of Williamsport was officially designated as a Rivertown by the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership at last week’s City Council meeting.

The designation should come as no surprise to anyone in our region who gets to see daily evidence of the connection between the city and the Susquehanna River.

That connection shows itself in trailways, bicycle paths and a variety of business and industry activities that feed off the river relationship.

But a designation is nothing more than a hollow name if it is not taken advantage of.

That is the challenge going forward for public bodies, civic groups, Lycoming County tourism brokers and local businesses and industries.

The designation needs to be a stepping-off point for more activities than ever connected to the river, activities that promote downtown Williamsport and all points east and west of there along the river.

It may take money beyond what local entities can afford to make those activities and economic activity happen.

To that end, the hope that the designation will give the city a better chance to apply for and receive state grants needs to become reality.

Since 2001, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership has worked to create a greenway along a corridor of river towns that includes trails, parks, bikeways and conserved lands that link people to the natural and cultural heritage of the region. That endeavor has led to such regional staples as the Susquehanna River Walk.

Our hope is that the Rivertown designation for Williamsport, along with the previous ones for Lock Haven, Jersey Shore, Montgomery, Renovo and Lewisburg and the others that may follow will serve as the impetus for even greater development of the river connection in our region.