Picturesque Pittsburgh honors Ligonier for safeguarding and sustaining its small-town attraction
A few months ago we listed Ligonier as one of our favorite distinctive, quirky small towns in Western PA – not just because of Idlewild, its famous amusement park, and historic Fort Ligonier – but because it’s a standard for walkable, historic, quaint community that is constantly changing improved.
We were not alone in this observation. Now, Scenic Pittsburgh – which is helping promote beautification efforts such as fighting billboard intrusions and restoring green spaces – is presenting Ligonier with a Regional Scenic Beauty Award.
“Ligonier catches the travelers’ eye with the look and feel of the Hallmark Card, and once they stop, people will find they enjoy our small town charm,” says Ormond “Butch” Bellas, mayor of Ligonier Borough.
Ligonier recently completed a multi-million dollar upgrade of its 200-year-old diamond park, around which its thriving core of local businesses extends.
Picturesque Pittsburgh will be presented to Ligonier on November 6th at 12:30 pm during the tasting in the Fall into Ligonier restaurant. The public is invited to the awards ceremony, which will take place in the Diamond Bandstand.
This award is presented to a community in southwest Pennsylvania that has “demonstrated a consistent, long-term, visionary commitment to protecting and promoting its natural resources.”
“Our motto is that beauty is good for business,” said Michael Dawida, executive director of Scenic Pittsburgh, a former senator and Allegheny County commissioner. “The steel industry once offered us all jobs, but that wasn’t very nice. The new jobs can go anywhere … Most industries today prefer to go to a nice, nice place. We try to protect communities; We’re trying to help them get there. “
It’s a problem that crosses bipartisan lines – which is extremely rare.
“We are probably one of the few issues that Republicans and Democrats can agree on,” notes Dawida.
Scenic Pittsburgh started 11 years ago with support from local foundations, primarily to combat billboard proliferation. The organization has long fought the Mt. Washington billboards – and their efforts to make them electronic. But more recently it has tried to make a more positive argument.
“We try to be a pro-beauty, not just anti-billboards,” says Dawida.
The awards are a chance to honor communities, locations, and even businesses that promote beautiful places in West PA. Anyone can nominate a spot for an award through the Scenic Pittsburgh website.
This will be the second award that Scenic Pittsburgh will present in 2021. The first was presented at a ceremony at The Highline on the South Side of Pittsburgh on September 23, when Indovina Associates Architects received the Scenic Achievement Award.
The awards are presented by glass artist William Haynes, who created a wrought iron stand with green and blue glass in a mountain and river pattern, intended to evoke the region’s landscape and two of its historic industries, glass and steel.
Scenic Pittsburgh is a subsidiary of Scenic America founded by former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson who wanted to plant flowers across Texas.
The first 2019 winner was Connellsville, which Dawida once referred to as a “ravaged old coal town” that did the hard work protecting and restoring its old buildings and making it an inviting stop on the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Path.
“When we gave the Connellsville Mayor an award, he went to the bars in Connellsville, took our award and showed it to everyone in town,” says Dawida.
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