AOAA hires new director
BURNSIDE - The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) finally has its leader.
At Monday night's meeting, the AOAA authority voted to hire Dave Porzi as operations director.
Porzi will make $48,000 plus a two-percent commission on sales in his new position. He will also have the full-time benefits of health insurance, a retirement plan and two weeks vacation beginning in 2015.
After Porzi's appointment was unanimously voted for approval, applause broke out in the AOAA trailhead building.
Jim Backes, authority chairman, said the authority had narrowed the candidate pool down to three finalists.
"They were all very good, qualified people," said Backes.
Porzi's experience within the ATV industry made him an ideal candidate for the position. He is currently employed as a sales manager Vreeland's Harley-Davidson and was previously a sales manager at TCP Power Center, a Suzuki and Kawasaki dealership.
"I have a strong passion for off-roading," said Porzi. "And, I just really wanted to help move this project along."
Authority member Barry Yorwarth said Porzi's familiarity with the mountainside helped earn him the role, but his first duty will be to step up his boundary line knowledge.
"He's familiar with the property from years of use," said Yorwarth. " He just needs to get familiar with what is AOAA property and who exactly are our adjoining landowners."
Porzi said he already has his eyes set on opening the AOAA more frequently.
"The first thing on the agenda is to try to get it open at least one to two more days per week," he said.
Currently, the AOAA is open Saturdays, Sundays and occasional holidays. Porzi said he'd like to see it also open on Thursdays and Fridays.
Service rep hired
In addition to Porzi, Carol Alexander was brought in as a part-time customer service representative at a rate of $9 per hour.
Backes said the extra hands will be helpful, not only with increasing park hours, but in preparation of September and October, when he expects the park to be busy.
The airing of an episode of "Fisher's ATV World" filmed at the AOAA may also drive up revenue. The episode will be shown at 9 a.m. Sunday on Discovery's Destination America channel.
As of July 13, the park has sold 1,907 passes, for a total of $57,586.
In other business
The authority announced the park will be open Monday, Sept. 1, for Labor Day. Hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A rental fee for a vendor was set at $30 per day for a Northumberland County business and $40 per day for an out-of-county business through the end of 2014. This measure has been in effect for the past two months as a trial.
The authority unanimously voted to make a $500 donation to the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center. The donation is being gifted as a thank-you for the welding department, which crafted gates for the park.
A $150 donation to East Cameron Fire Co. was also approved unanimously. The donation is in gratitude of the East Cameron Fire Co. watering the roads July 5 and 6.
The authority ratified purchasing a John Deere mower, Stihl chainsaw and two lopping shears from Valley Ag and Turf, of Watsontown, for $3,482.64.
The authority recommended the Northumberland County Planning Department pay Commonwealth Security, of Sunbury, $2,650 for the installation of the building security system, Lieb Drilling, of Ashland, $1,800 for pulling the well pump and galvanized pipe, In Sight Commander, of Yorba Linda, Calif., $390 for the repair of a solar camera and wireless system, and Berntsen International Inc., of Madison, Wisc., $374.67, for Carsonite marker signs and decals. All of these will be paid for by grant money.
The authority is requesting a Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant for $250,000 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. If approved, the money will be used to construct an observation deck.
A charitable contribution approval was given to Stoneroad Iron and Metal Inc. for donating a bucket.
Approval for ATV safety classes through the ATV Safety Institute was ratified.
"George Fetterman has been doing the safety classes and he's really doing a phenomenal job," said Backes, noting that he especially liked the use of a simulator for the training.