City of Princeton

PRINCETON — A status report from the county’s tourism promotion agency, a report from the “Christmas With A Cop” program and a proposal to develop the Brush Creek area for pedestrian usage dominated the Princeton City Council’s meeting Monday night at the Princeton Municipal Building.

First up was Jamie Null of the Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau, who presented the MCCVB’s 2018 financial report via slide projector and laptop, beginning by saying that both the print and electronic versions of the 2019 visitor’s guides had more information than the 2018 guide.

According to her report, visitors to Mercer County spent $106 million in 2018 as compared to $93 million in 2017, with $415,413.14 in gross tax revenue. Visitors spent an average of three days and over $100 a day in the county just via the ATV-related activities.

“Chain motels in Mercer County reported $16 million in revenue basically through Friday through Sunday business in the months of May through October, while the State Office of tourism reported that there are 100,180 jobs. We’ve had 1.5 million visits to our Facebook page and a 54 percent increase in visits to our web page,” said Null.

She went on to say, “An ad campaign done as a joint effort between the CVB and the Appalachian Regional Commission in magazines such as Southern Living has brought good results. We hope the current legal dispute between the Hatfield-McCoy Trail and the mining company can be resolved so that the riders can safely ride the trails there.”

Councilman Jim Hill asked about creating an Uber service between the trails and the municipal areas and Councilman Jim Harvey suggested the creation of a ‘courtesy car” service. Null said that both would depend on finding qualified drivers and getting corporate sponsorship, respectively.

The next speaker, Princeton Police Department Lt. Jeremy Halsey, gave his report on the “Christmas With A Cop” program.

“We’ve long been involved with ‘Shop With A Cop’ but we wanted to do something different. I’m very honored and humbled to be a part of this program,’ Halsey said.

The program, which was held at Coal Country Kandies, involved 65-75 kids from county schools selected by their principals. The kids received meals and gifts courtesy of the PPD and visited with Santa.

“There were a lot of people to thank. Lisa Biermann of Coal Country Kandies, Sheraine Gunnoe, my fellow officers, the Mercer County Board of Education and Dr. Deborah Akers and the people who contributed over $10,000 for the event. Everything we heard from the community was very positive and the kids had a blast. Through the work of everyone in the community, it was a success,” he said.

The third speaker, retired contractor Carl Calfee, brought a proposal to turn part of the shore of Brush Creek into a pedestrian recreation area to Council.

“We have a valuable asset in Brush Creek which is not being used. It could be developed into an area to exercise and meet and we could get access over the railroad to downtown,” he said.

Calfee said that he understood the railroad’s ownership of the property, but suggested that a 30-year-lease by the city could be possible.

City Manager Mike Webb announced that there were still 35 “Princetonoply” games available at the city’s business offices and the Railroad Museum for sale.

Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com.