The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 12, 2013

Ripple effect seen downtown from flames upon water

WaterFire Sharon is success on many levels, business owners, officials says

SHARON — A week after WaterFire Sharon sparked an amazing blaze in the Shenango Valley, people are stoked for the next two events this year.

"We're having WaterFire withdrawal," volunteer Tony Delgros said.

The Aug. 3 event drew more people than anyone imagined. Organizers have been saying 35,000 came to the event, but no official headcount was done or scientific calculation made.

Regardless of the exact number who reveled in the day-long, family-friendly arts and cultural festival, it was a success.

"It just turned out better than anybody thought," Delgros said. "Nobody can believe that many people showed up."

"If anyone wasn't listening to us before, they're going to be paying attention to us now," he said.

Downtown businesses benefited from the increased traffic, those interviewed this weekend said.

"I really was very impressed," Jacque Abrutz, who owns the Korner News said.

She would have closed at 3 p.m., but decided to extend her hours because there also was a $300 million Powerball jackpot luring customers in.

"We did OK," she said.

She was impressed by the event once she left that night to enjoy it herself.

"I thought Sharon really looked nice," she said. "It was fantastic."

All of the businesses on East State Street were busy, their workers said.

"We had them out the door," Elaine Davis, who works as a clerk at Niko and Lou's Coney Island restaurant, said.

"It was crazy in here," Amanda Cowan, sales manager of The Winner fashion store, said. "We did really well."

"It was artistic and beautiful and really classy," Mary James, a co-owner of Clarencedale Cakes said.

Newer businesses such as Gallery 29, owned by Donna Bostardi, also benefited from the event."The exposure was priceless," Bostardi said. "We had 600 people come through here. Sales were good and the whole experience was wonderful."

City officials agreed.

"To say that WaterFire was a success is an understatement," Sharon City Manager Scott Andrejchak said. "I think you could judge the success of the event on a lot of different levels."

Andrejchak believes the onslaught of 35,000 people into downtown Sharon caused a ripple effect for businesses in downtown and in the region.

"There were economic impacts we can't imagine yet," Andrejchak said. "Businesses all over the valley felt the impact."

City officials and residents agreed that WaterFire was a safe and fun family event.

"It was incredible." Andrejchak said. "It was a very special event for people who were there."

Sharon police reported no problems with fighting or disorderly conduct.

"The only problem we had was traffic and parking," Michael Menster, Sharon police chief, said. "We had relatively few problems."

A slow-moving, very long train was the culprit of a major traffic jam, according to Menster. Sharon police had extra patrolmen on duty directing traffic.

Andrejchak believes this will not be a problem as the police are contacting the railway to postpone or cancel train crossings through downtown Sharon for future WaterFire events.

The next WaterFire Sharon lightings will be Sept. 14 and Oct. 12.

The Penn State Shenango campus opened its doors for WaterFire planning meetings and parking.

There were a lot of faculty and staff who participated in WaterFire, according to Liz Izenas, public relations spokesman for the campus.

Downtown Sharon has been changing over the past two years. There is a lot of positive energy downtown. Having WaterFire has created positive energy. Andrejchak said.

"The event has branded itself as a family friendly event." he said.

"I think when they announced the open-container policy, it set a precedent," Izenas said, referring to a crackdown on alcoholic beverages in public during the annual Small  Ships Revue downtown earlier this summer.

"This could bring a sea change to downtown," Andrejchak said.

Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014

  • 15-year-old legal battle returning to county court

    State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    April 16, 2014

  • Southwest mulls how to adopt study points

    Even though some members of the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department had little respect for a study of the department completed by a consultant, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. pledged to implement as many of the study’s recommendations as he could.

    April 16, 2014

  • Beader plans to resign, just not yet

    Democratic Mercer County Commissioner Brian Beader acknowledges that he intends to resign, but said nothing will happen until after he meets privately with the county’s judges next Thursday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wildlife fund for park Aiding Buhl Farm animals

    Some of Steven Jubelirer’s fondest memories of his mother, Natalie, was when they would walk together in Buhl Farm park, Hermitage.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • News briefs from April 15, 2014

    Man charged with attack on his wife in Walmart

    Woman arrested for stabbing man with knife

    3 injured in pickup-motorcycle crash

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Sharonheraldnewspaper Facebook Page