What is happening in your part of the region?

In an effort to bring as much local news as possible to our readers, The Era has started a weekly segment called “Checking In.”

Reporters will be talking to municipal officials for an overview of current happenings in the municipality. Today’s focus is on Kane Borough.

Kane Borough is full of energy, with multiple projects on the horizon, according to Kane Borough Mayor Brandy Schimp. Currently, the borough and TAMED (Trail Along McKean Elk Divide) are working together on the Knox Kane trail and trailhead.

“Plans call for a state-of-the-art welcome center on the borough-owned section of the trail, offering a wide array of visitor accommodations,” explained Schimp.

Schimp also noted the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund recently acquired a building on Fraley Street, with plans to renovate and convert it into an energy-efficient building model.

In addition, she said the Kane Area Revitalization Enterprise (KARE) is working on a Neighborhood Partnership plan, aimed at beautifying the eastern gateway into the community. Meanwhile, “the Wilds Sonshine Factory is moving forward with its one-of-a-kind product, a spirit distilled from the sunflower, grown and harvested exclusively in the PA Wilds.”

Last, but not least, the PA Wilds is scheduled to open its Media Labs on the second floor of Laughing Owl Press, located on Fraley Street.

“The Media Labs will include a professional photography studio, a recording studio, computer lab and classroom and event space for entrepreneurs to take the distribution of their goods to the next level,” said Schimp.

With prosperity also comes challenges. One hurdle the borough is facing is the availability of newly constructed, one-story homes.

“Our goal is to incorporate new homes into the Neighborhood Partnership plan so that we can offer what is being sought,” Schimp explained.

In regards to taxes, the borough’s budget proposal for 2020 does not include a tax increase.

“As with many communities, we are always working on ways to increase our population, and in turn, tax base. Because this does not happen overnight, we are very mindful of our borough’s budget,” said Schimp. “We’re able to approve a balanced budget — making cuts where necessary by prioritizing what’s most important.”

When talking to the mayor, one can tell she is proud of the area, from the adults and youth that volunteer for the KARE for Kane “spring clean-up” program each year, to the budding entrepreneurs bringing in new businesses.

“Kane has also been named the Route 6 Heritage Community of the Year for 2018,” said Schimp. “Our citizens and businesses have been working hard for years, oftentimes under the radar, and it has been very exciting to see those efforts being recognized on a state level.”

She also mentioned SPARKS, which is a collaboration between Kane Borough, Kane Area School District, UPMC-Kane, Wetmore Township, Kane Chamber of Commerce, KARE and the Kane Area Industrial Development Corporation.

“Liaisons from these organizations meet once a month to share updates and collaborate on future projects and initiatives,” explained Schimp.

She named a wide variety of ways for citizens to have a bigger voice in the community including attending council workshops and meetings “so they can see firsthand what is happening around the table and offer their feedback.

“We encourage everyone to use their talents and get involved with organizations whose missions resonate most with them,” Schimp noted. “We hold a Resources and Connections Fair, which pulls together a wide variety of volunteer-based organizations and countywide service providers so that our citizens can learn what is available and where they may like to give their time and talents.”

Schimp displays great passion for getting youth involved in the community, as someday they will be taking the reins.

“Nothing makes me happier than seeing our youth become involved in community-based volunteering. By engaging our youth, we give them a sense of ownership and pride in the community and hope that they continue to feel rooted and vested here,” she concluded.

The next borough meeting is Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m., located at 112 Bayard St.