Renew, Revitalize and Restore Renovo

Renovo has had its fair share of problems. The community was divided in half over the drug crisis facing the area and the hope of a power plant that many residents and investors saw as its future. There were many underlying layers that were peeled away but one thing this community has going for them is the way they come together and rebuild for a better tomorrow.

As the weeks have passed Renovo is looking onward to a prosperous future in tourism.

Tourism offers great opportunities for emerging economies and developing countries. It creates jobs, strengthens the local economy, contributes to local development, and can help to conserve the natural environment and cultural assets and traditions and to reduce poverty.

Renovo, Pennsylvania -- Photograph by Donna Kshir.
Renovo, Pennsylvania — Photograph by Donna Kshir.

Recovering From Crisis

In recent months, the tiny town has relied heavily on local volunteer fire departments and ambulance crews to assist them in emergency situations. These incidents have placed volunteer rescue workers’ lives in jeopardy. Between the increasing drug presence, violence, and lack of police protection many residents are left wondering about the town’s future.

However, these rescue men and women aren’t complaining. They have such a passion for what they do. They are confident in their abilities and training whether it’s responding to an emergency crisis or assisting someone.

Rescue Worker and Renovo Area Outreach President Dave Young said, “I am very excited to bring a positive change to the Renovo area, not just help those suffering from addiction but also children that are affected by this vicious issue that’s strangling our community. We would like the public and community to find safety and comfort in knowing that our passionate, dedicated, and talented team are here for the community and determined to be there for anyone seeking help. We are hoping that Clinton County agencies and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania stand behind us and support the cause of our mission to protect not just our community, but our precious children as well.”

The Broken Promises of a Power Plant

Maureen A. Ruhl was the key player in the demise of the proposed billion-dollar natural gas-to-electricity power plant. Ruhl proclaimed she wasn’t against the power plant itself, but the location which was anticipated to be less than a football field away from each resident’s home. Fearing for her and her ailing husband’s health, she began investigating power plants across the state.

Ruhl, her husband John, and two unnamed women visited three surrounding power plant towns in Shamokin Dam, Montgomery, and Jessup, Pennsylvania. It became very clear that the power plant would not bring the town prosperity.

Through her 3 year investigation, Ruhl read through thousands of pages of documents, records, reports, and e-mails. She spent hundreds of hours researching. Through her research, Ruhl uncovered the power plant was a desperate, last chance, to pay back investors. She endured various attacks, faced intense criticism, and had her life threatened, but she refused to let Renovo fall victim.

On April 14, Bechtel backed out of the proposed energy plant.

What The Future Holds

Several groups, organizations, and townsfolk have come together to invest, renew, revitalize, and restore Renovo. The tiny town is located in the heart of the endless mountains centered in the PA Wilds along the Susquehanna River. Its best known for its beauty, laid-back lifestyle, and its outdoor recreational opportunities.

Many residents and tourists enjoy activities; camping at Hyner State Park and kayaking at Avin R. Bush Dam, fly fishing at YoungWoman’s Creek, hiking the Chuck Kieper trail, biking, ATV-ing, or just relaxing and connecting with nature.

There is also elk and eagle watching, scenic Hyner View, the Bucktail Scenic Byway, hang-gliding, the annual Hyner challenge, the PA State Flaming Foliage Festival, the Red Hill Fossil Museum is best known for its prehistoric discoveries, farmer’s markets, a community garden, fine lodging, its solid railroad history and restaurants that offer good old fashion home cooking like mom used to make.

No one quite knows what is in store for this tiny Pennsylvania town, but one thing is clear. Renovo has come together to move forward for a better tomorrow for their children and themselves.