The CDT has reported what committees are trying to do to preserve historic Bellefonte, but let me tell you what one man has done.
Since 2010, I have noticed a number of tour buses in downtown Bellefonte. One day I spoke with one of the bus drivers. He told me that Bellefonte resident Ron Wiser contracted with Diamond Tours, the driver’s company, to make Bellefonte a lunch stop on tours to and coming from New York City.
Each year, the company sends 41 buses through Bellefonte for a two- to four-hour stop, and those buses carry 50 people. Wiser gets on each bus and gives those people a 15-minute tour around town, pointing out historical places of interest. He also gives each person a three-page booklet with other facts about the town.
When Wiser is finished those people go out on foot and eat lunch at one of our many restaurants and shop in our handful of stores.
Simple math tells me that each year 2,350 people from states such as Nebraska and Wisconsin, who would otherwise have no interest in visiting Bellefonte, come to our town. If each of them only spent $10 apiece on lunch that would mean our restaurants are getting an extra $23,500 a year they wouldn’t otherwise have. That’s almost $100,000 over the four years since Diamond Tours has been doing this.
I think our town needs more people with Wiser’s initiative.