While local residents endured bridge closures and travel delays getting through town, the head of borough council endorsed the movie industry coming to Kittanning.
Council President Kim Chiesa said the amount of money Lionsgate Productions brought into the business community more than compensated for the discomfort experienced by the downtown commercial district for two days.
“It changes our lifestyle for a few days. I haven’t enjoyed it all myself,” Chiesa said in response to reports of disenchanted residents and business owners. “But there are many businesses that were compensated for losses and money was spent in this town by the production crew.”
Chiesa said a total sum of $40,000 was given to the business community directly affected by the movie production.
“It’s not fun having the bridge closed. However, to bring in nearly $40,000 to merchants on a Monday and Tuesday is huge,” Chiesa said.
The movie company was filming segments for Manhunt Lone Wolf, a serial whose first season aired on the Discovery Channel. Kittanning was transformed into Murphy, North Carolina. The bridge was used for various scenes as well as the former Kozy Kafe that was transformed into a 1996 print shop.
“The drama focuses on the 1996 bombing on the Atlanta Olympic games,” Location Manager Ken Jackson told Kittanning Borough Council in a June public meeting. In this part of the series, we are focusing on the eventual apprehension of the perpetrator. Murphy, North Carolina was where he was eventually apprehended.”
A total of $4,000 was paid to Kittanning Borough in compensation for additional police assistance and other services performed by borough employees.
“There have been some negatives. However, there are a lot of positives as well,” Chiesa said.
Kittanning has been a favorite of movie production companies because of the attraction of the Citizens Bridge, according to Kittanning Police Chief Bruce Mathews.
“The bridge is the drawing factor with the old girders. As bridges are being replaced, everything is jersey-barrier sides. Pennsylvania, with tax credits, is a big incentive to bring productions here. The bridge has got us on the radar with film companies almost every time.”
Mathews said that this isn’t the final time we will see the film crew.
“Once this scene is done, there is a follow-up scene that has to be shot or else they will end up scrapping several episodes. They will have a return trip here before this season is over.”
No date has been established for the return visit.