CLARKS SUMMIT — Representatives from local businesses, service organizations, schools and non-profits, along with local historians and WVIA staff met for a community planning meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at the Abington Community Library for the “Our Town: The Abingtons” television program set to run in April.
The one-hour documentary featuring the Abingtons will be the 25th in the WVIA “Our Town” series.
“The (Our Town) series is really important to us as a grassroots project to get to know people in the communities we serve,” WVIA President/CEO and Executive Producer Tom Curra said. “About two years ago, we did some research to better understand our audience. We hope to craft a relationship with the Abingtons that will continue.”
Abington Heights Superintendent of Schools Michael Mahon believes the the relationship between the schools and the public would add a nice touch to the program.
“This community very largely supports its schools,” Mahon said. “Some component of this program might be the Abington Heights School District through the voice of the young people who are doing so much to support the community in many different ways. A great story can be told about the community through the school.”
According to WVIA Vice President of Television and Productions Doug Cook, all local schools will be incorporated into the segment.
Holly Packer, a member of the Scranton Tennis Club, believes the non-profit organization located in Clarks Summit brings diverse members of the community together.
“I think recreation is the melting pot for families in the area,” Packer said. “It takes something universal, makes it personal and gives you a segue to come into the community.”
Clarks Summit resident Dennis Martin believes the history of transportation in the area should be featured prominently during the program.
“Basically, transportation has made this area,” he said. “It provided access to markets for farmers and is really the key to understanding the area.”
Charles Kumpas, of Clarks Summit, also thinks transportation should be a part of the show.
“From 1907 to 1932, the trolleys built the Abingtons and brought people to the area,” he said. “It also evolved into the Countryside Conservancy Trolley Trail so the trolley system lives on today.”
Newton Township Supervisor Kevin Carr mentioned Marley’s Mission, a non-profit organization that provides equine-based therapy free of charge to children, and their families, who have experienced trauma.
“We’re very proud to have them in our township,” Carr said.
The Abington Business and Professional Association (ABPA), the organization that spearheaded efforts to bring the show to the Abingtons, will have a presence during the broadcast highlighting unique local businesses and seasonal events.
“The Clarks Summit Festival of Ice draws 35,000 people to the area each February and also hosts Fall Fun in the Abingtons featuring pumpkin carving and Summer Fest which often features sidewalk sales,” ABPA board member Barry Kaplan said.
Many of the area’s local service clubs, including the Rotary Club of the Abingtons, Abington Lions, VFW, local scouting organizations, and Waverly Masonic Lodge, will also likely be represented.
Cook was impressed with the wide variety of activities the Abingtons has to offer both residents and tourists.
“This is a very active community in all aspects,” he said. “I think it makes a great story as a whole.
WVIA Our Town Series Producer Lisa Mazzarella echoed Cook’s comments and believes the show will put a nice spotlight on the area.
“Given the Abingtons has all these little divides, we’re going to try to get a little sample for each of them in the production to show what makes each area shine,” she said.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.