PUNXSUTAWNEY — As tourism continues to grow throughout Jefferson County, several entities have gathered to place new “Welcome To Jefferson County” signs at key entry points to increase the county’s visibility.
Marlene Lellock, executive director of the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Jefferson County Hotel Tax Committee, said the committee and several other organizations paid for the new signs.
In addition to the committee, the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau, the Jefferson County Commissioners and sheriff’s department recently partnered to install the new signs.
Existing welcome signs installed several years ago had either fallen down or were in disrepair.
Lellock said the Hotel Tax Committee took on the project this summer, soliciting bids from county sign makers and selecting a new design for the signs.
Also, the Jefferson County Orange Patrol — under the direction of Sheriff Carl Gotwald — is installing the new signs, which were designed and constructed by RM Signs & Design of Punxsutawney.
The signs are being installed along the major roadways entering the county: Routes 119, 36, 28 and 322.
Jefferson County collects a three-percent hotel tax on room nights to be used for the promotion of tourism activities in the county.
Lellock added that the county collects the tax, with a portion of the monies going to the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau for regional promotion. A portion is also used to promote tourist activities and projects in Jefferson County.
A nine-person committee appointed by the county commissioners oversees the county’s portion of the tax, she said.
Northwest Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoors helps promote area businesses and events.
Although the Great Outdoors has members in various northwestern Pennsylvania counties, it is the official tourism promotion agency for Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Forest, and Jefferson counties, operating under the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.
Each year, the group distributes more than 500,000 member brochures at dozens of hotel lobbies and high traffic attractions in the region.