An informational workshop Wednesday at Skytop Lodge in northern Monroe County drew about 25 businesses in a region where commerce was hurt by the 45-day manhunt for accused police killer Eric Frein.
“It went well,” Elizabeth Richardson, public relations manager for Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, said this morning. “We think people got the information they needed to start moving forward.”
The workshop was facilitated by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau and designed to better assess the damage done to – and needs of – Pocono businesses. Businesses were encouraged to fill out an economic injury survey, which could help to qualify the Poconos for a federal disaster declaration.
The disaster declaration, if granted, would allow Pocono businesses to qualify for low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration.
The state Department of Community & Economic Development also helped organize Wednesday’s session, where more than 10 organizations were on hand to provide resources and direction to the businesses. The session included chambers of commerce from Monroe, Carbon, Pike and Wayne counties and representatives from the University of Scranton’s Small Business Development Center.
“I think people were happy,” Richardson said. “It’s one of those things that’s not always easy to do on your own. You don’t realize what agencies are available to you, and [it helps] to have so many options in one room.”
The Sept. 12 ambush of two state police troopers in Blooming Grove Township left an armed and dangerous accused murderer hiding in the dense Pocono woods in seven townships in the region. The fears of a gunman on the loose kept away visitors, and businesses lost tens of millions of dollars or more in revenue, according to one estimate.