Mark Platts said a $250,000 grant proves that the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area has a vote of confidence from the state.
The organization, based at 1706 Long Level Road in Wrightsville, recently received the grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to support the organization's work along the Susquehanna River corridor.
The grant was part of the distribution of $31.5 million in Community Conservation Partnership Program Grants awarded to 218 heritage, conservation and recreation projects across the state.
Funding for the grants came from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund and from federal funding.
"The rewarding part of the grant is that the state recognizes and knows that we have our act together down here and they want to be part of that," said Platts, SGHA's president.
Mission: Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area aims to raise awareness of the Susquehanna River region's history through guides, river art exhibits, its riverside Zimmerman Center and other projects.
"Let's make Susquehanna River (area) a really nice place to visit, so when people appreciate it, they can really actually come and enjoy it," Platts said.
He said the funding will be used for SGHA's operating and staff costs and for accomplishing goals on its 2012 work plan.
Platts said the plan includes developing a signage system for sites along the river and finishing improvements at the Zimmerman Center to make it more accessible to the public for river art exhibits
and interpretative, or storytelling, activities.
The plan also calls for working with Susquehanna River towns Wrightsville, Columbia and Marietta to bring more economic development projects into those areas.
SGHA also plans to work with Lancaster County officials to do a Veterans Memorial Bridge lighting project that includes placing historic cast iron lights above the bridge, which connects Wrightsville and Columbia, Platts said.
"The funding helps us to build public awareness and understanding of the importance of the river, along with its history and natural features," Platts said. "And (the grant) will help with preserving actual places and resources on the river."
-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at 505-5438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.