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Congratulations to the Community Improvement Award Recipients

Congratulations to the Community Improvement Award Recipients
In partnership with the Huntingdon County Planning Commission, Community Improvement Awards were presented last evening in the categories of Preservation, New Construction, Community Spirit and Special Merit. These awards would not be possible without the sponsorship provided by Kish Bank.  Awards were presented for projects completed in 2020.

This 2020 Community Spirit Award recipient is the Huntingdon County History and Heritage Roundtable, which is comprised of representatives from museums, historical societies, and individuals interested in local history. Their website is considered their biggest accomplishment to date. To learn more, please visit their website,  where you will find a brief history of Huntingdon County; information about almost every museum, historical society or organization and historical site in the county; and pages highlighting outdoor activities, community events and stories and legends of the County. Lonnie Smith accepted the award.

Juniata Brewing Company is the recipient of the New Construction Award. This business is located in a renovated furniture warehouse, where it focuses on enriching the community while creating specialty products. The taproom provides a distinctive gathering space to serve the products produced by the five-barrel brewery, and the connected warehouse area serves as outdoor seating. Some of the original wood from the EB Endres warehouse was repurposed in the outdoor seating area for support and to retain the weathered and historical texture, and some was refinished to serve as tables in the taproom.

The Huntingdon Rotary Club is the recipient of the Preservation Award for restoration to the 1850 Stone Arch Railroad Bridge. The Stone Arch Railroad Bridge was part of the original single-track line that brought Pennsylvania Railroad Company service to Huntingdon. It was used by the first steam engine “Henry Clay” when it arrived in Huntingdon on June 6, 1850. This bridge was in service until it was abandoned after the great flood of 1889 destroyed extensive canal property and the railroad moved its tracks from Allegheny Street to the former canal bed, closer to the river. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Stone Arch Bridge is located directly beside the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal Greenway Trail and represents Huntingdon’s transition from canal to railroad.

Members of the Huntingdon Rotary Club participated in this two-part restoration project. The first part included cleaning up the area around the bridge, removing overgrown vegetation on the bridge and placing a sign identifying the bridge as the 1850 Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge. The second part was preparation and placement of a sign panel relating the rich history of the canal and railroad era at Huntingdon. Rotarians collaborated with members of the Huntingdon County Historical Society, Fred Lang and Nancy Shedd, to design the historic panel. Artist Neal Campbell donated the use of his artwork for the panel. This original painting portrays a train crossing the Stone Creek bridge circa 1870. In cooperation with the Huntingdon Park and Road Association, the large sign panel was placed in Blair Park - across the road from the Arch Bridge.

The final award for the evening was the Special Merit Award presented to Cookies for Caregivers. The Cookies for Caregivers initiative was born in Huntingdon as a reflection of the COVID-19 experience in 2020. To show gratitude to essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic, two dads started baking and delivering cookies to Huntingdon’s Hometown Heroes as a sign of appreciation and respect.
This movement to spread kindness started as a challenge between Scott McKenzie and Jeremy Uhrich. Their hug radius has greatly expanded through local and national media recognition and the formation of national and international Cookies for Caregivers chapters. Throughout the past year, Scott and Jeremy have been quoted as saying “it’s ok to be small, just don’t think small” and “there’s no expiration date on kindness”.

Congratulations to all of the award recipients.

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