That’s Lawrence County you see in the lovely photo attached to this blogpost. Recently, our colleague Phil Cynar with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (part of the Allegheny Conference, of which ImaginePittsburgh.com is a program) reached out to the PRA’s regional partners to help paint a picture of the places that help create “one extraordinary region” – as our 2015 holiday season promotional campaign touts. (Look for the campaign in regional print and online publications, as well as in this video.

Here is Phil’s Q&A with Linda Nitch, executive director of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation.

What are three “fun facts” about Lawrence County that would pleasantly surprise people?

  • The county seat of New Castle is officially dubbed the Fireworks Capital of America as a result of two of the nation’s largest fireworks companies – Zambelli Internationale and Vitale Pyrotechnico Industries – calling it home.
  • Spanning over 2,500 acres, McConnells Mill State Park has been a long-time favorite for outdoor activity. The park boasts nine miles of trails ranging from easy to difficult, whitewater rafting on Slippery Rock Creek and prime spots for fishing.
  • Peppered among the countryside surrounding New Wilmington and Volant is the Amish community, small in number but significant in their historical presence. The descendants of Jakob Amman have carried out the same simple way of life for generations. Families can often be seen on the area’s back roads in horse and carriage or at work on the farms their ancestors founded decades ago.

What are your three wishes for Lawrence County in the new year?

  • Lawrence County becomes home to Lawrence Downs, a racino, offering harness racing and gaming to the county and the region.
  • Westminster College continues its successful tradition of being an affordable liberal arts college.
  • Ellwood City becomes a bedroom community to the thriving Cranberry Township area.