Share This Page

Group mapping vision for future of New Kensington, Arnold, Lower Burrell area

| Saturday, April 20, 2013, 1:01 a.m.

More than 70 local leaders, business professionals and citizens met Friday afternoon to discuss the future of the New Kensington, Arnold and Lower Burrell area.

The meeting, which was held at the Westmoreland Community College New Kensington campus, was held in hopes of spurring ideas to revive the area, according to Scott McMannis, who is with the Circles Initiative.

The Circles Initiative is a group that teaches people how to overcome poverty.

“When people live in poverty, they live in the moment,” McMannis said. “They don't take a step back to look at the ‘future story.'

“What we want here, today, is for everyone to look at the future story — where we want to be.”

John Turack, a community development educator from the Penn State Cooperative Extension in Greensburg, and Whit Watts, assistant professor of geography at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, led the group through exercises designed to spark ideas on how to better the community.

The group was given tasks ranging from drawing the community and labeling its assets, to working on a concrete community plan.

“Sometimes it takes an outsider to act as a catalyst for change,” Turack said. “Maybe we can play the role of catalyst.”

The group, which was split into 10 teams, worked on developing a strategy to create new ideas.

“The biggest thing we're hoping to bring out of this is discussion,” Turack said. “When that happens, things progress.”

Watts, who brought a team of IUP graduate students with him, said he was happy with the group's size and demographics.

“I'm really happy it's such a diverse group,” he said. “It's a cross-section of the population of the area.”

New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo was one of the day's participants.

“This city means so much to me, and I'm glad these people took time out of their schedule to try to make it better,” Guzzo said. “It's important to see other people's ideas.

“It's important to see where they think this city can go.”

Circles' McMannis said his group will collect the data that the participants provided Friday and release a detailed breakdown in the coming weeks.

“We want to build on this,” McMannis said. “We want to do whatever we can to change our community.

“To build the area and end poverty.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.