The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 4, 2013

Sunbury mayor hopes events attract tourists and money

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Mayor David Persing has a vision of hundreds of people visiting during summer months and shopping, eating and spending the night in the city.

During his state-of-the-city speech on Wednesday, Persing spoke about his meeting with John Moran, of Moran Industries, in Watsontown.

“He is looking at any and all opportunities to continue his investment in the city,” Persing said. “He owns the largest industrial site we have.”

Moran purchased the former Celotex site, and Persing said 50 percent of that site is undeveloped.

“It is available for new industry which could be a hotel or convention center,” Persing said. “Mr. Moran is open to all ideas.”

Persing said if a hotel were to be built in the city, it would mean a huge revenue increase for area businesses.

“I can see people in the city for weekend softball tournaments at the recreational facilities,” Persing said. “They would play, eat and then stay overnight right here in the city.”

The city has 22 events on the calendar for 2013.

“These events range from the largest ASA softball tournament in Pennsylvania in June to the Sunbury River Festival in August,” Persing said. “So far 11 of these events pertain to our recreational opportunities within the city. These events make positive economic impacts on many city businesses.”

A hotel in Sunbury makes sense, Persing said.

“Recreational tourism is the number one reason for people to visit Sunbury at this time,” Persing said. “The people who come to Sunbury because of our events are the people we want to bring back.”

The mayor said he often meets visitors who say they love the city’s recreational facilities.

“These are the people that leave wondering why their hometown does not have the facilities that we have,” he said. “These people may consider being a part of Sunbury or at the very least want to come back in the future even just to play in another tournament or eat in a city restaurant.”

Persing also praised the Sunbury skate park on North Fourth Street.

“There are kids up there all the time,” he said. “That is a one-of-a-kind place, and we have it right here in Sunbury. We need to focus on all the positives we have, and we need to keep moving forward and keep creating more positive things for the city.”

In July the Sunbury Skate Park hosted a statewide event that kicked off the Sunbury Celebration. It was the first event of its kind in more than a decade and drew several hundred spectators and participants.

“These are the things we need to pay more attention to,” Persing said. “We want to get more people involved and we will always listen to every idea brought to the table.”

For a list of events in the city visit www.cityofsunbury.com.