Potter County receives funds, plans market village

Proposed plans for God’s Country Village and Farmers Market in Coudersport.

Potter County was recently awarded $41,400 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the development of the God’s Country Village and Farmers Market in Coudersport.

This park and vendor space will be located across from the Potter County Jail on a currently-empty double lot on the corner of North East Street and East 2nd Street.

Ellen Russell is the community development director for Potter County and Will Hunt is the planning and geographic information systems director for Potter County.

Hunt was inspired to create God’s Country Village by a visit to Tionesta, a small town in Forest County.

“Tionesta has a market village in the middle of town,” Hunt said. “They have vendors, events — it’s been an economic boon for them. I couldn’t stop thinking about their downtown redevelopment on the drive home.

“It was kind of a pipe dream, but I thought it could work here. When I got home I started working with the commissioners, and when Ellen (Russell) heard about it, she wouldn’t let it go.”

In April 2020, Coudersport Borough received a PA Wilds Rapid Response grants of $5,000. This grant paid for the architectural plans to be drawn up by YSM Landscape Architects.

The plan is to have eventually build seven small, semi-permanent buildings that will be available for vendors and other uses.

“This could be an incubator for entrepreneurs and small businesses that might not want a storefront,” said Hunt.

“The structures will be attached to utilities,” said Russell. “We can use the lot for festivals. I’m hoping to tie in with the larger events in Potter County, like the Woodsman’s Festival or the Dam Show.

“The Village and Farmers Market will be seasonal, running from the opening of trout season in early April with some events “periodically leading up to Thanksgiving,” said Russell.

“This is an opportunity for economic growth and educational opportunities, and it takes advantage of our downtown,” said Hunt.

The environmental educational facets include a rain garden and rainwater management opportunities.

“We’ll be working with the Potter County Conservation District on this part,” said Hunt.

Russell and Hunt said that work will begin on the project this summer.

“There are engineers involved to make sure everything is up to code, and we need to coordinate with utilities,” said Hunt.

Coudersport Borough and Eulalia Township have matched the funding in kind.

“They have been great and so have the commissioners,” Hunt said.

“There will be minimal taxpayer money involved,” said Russell. “The county staff and me and Will will be the ‘work crew’ — we’ll be heavily involved in landscaping and the environmental education part.”

The next phase of the project includes meeting with the Pa. Department of Conservation & Natural Resources in 2023 and “trying to navigate getting the buildings built,” said Hunt..

The grants fall under the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

For more information or to volunteer in this effort, visit pottercounty.net and click on “Revitalize Potter County”.

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