Brackenridge Improvement Group rallying for growth, support
With its mission rooted in beautifying the borough landscape and bolstering community spirit, the newly formed Brackenridge Improvement Group will hold a July 15 meeting at the park pavilion to amass membership and support.
Paul and Janet Valasek of Brackenridge are forming the group after participating in the national Make a Difference Day. The couple said the experience exposed the need for a full-time Brackenridge community service program to run throughout the year.
“We've lived in Brackenridge for 16 years and we care a lot about this community,” Janet Valasek said. “There's definitely a need for a program like this to restore a sense of pride and give residents something to rally around.”
The group held an exploratory meeting on June 21 to form a steering committee. Among the 18 people in attendance was Natrona Comes Together Association president Bill Godfrey.
Natrona Comes Together is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that has spent the past nine years improving the quality of life in Harrison's Natrona neighborhood with an emphasis on art and history preservation, childhood education and youth services.
Godfrey will advise the Brackenridge Improvement Group in its infancy on how to raise funds and awareness, apply for nonprofit status, receive grants and organize community projects.
Godfrey said he supports the Brackenridge group because he's committed to building a unified community improvement presence throughout the area to eradicate the negative effects of poverty.
“The drug problem is pervasive in the area,” he said. “It's not just contained to Natrona or Brackenridge; it spills over.
“If we can all work together and create a unified front to improve the entire area, I think it would help significantly to improve the problem.”
Godfrey said he was approached by BIG steering committee member Dino Lopreiato, who owns Vibo's Bakery on Brackenridge Avenue. He is one of several borough business owners involved in the group along with multiple borough council, Salvation Army and chamber of commerce members.
The group is trying to increase its visibility by posting flyers throughout the borough.
Paul Valasek said he's also working with borough council to have the group's flyers mailed to residents along with their water bills.
Another meeting will be held July 15 to raise awareness and promote the group's formal kick-off event in September.
According to Valasek, the event will feature a block party and car show. It most likely will shut down the Tarentum half of Brackenridge.
BIG will be promoting the event in August at the borough's Community Day.
While the group has yet to formalize any programs or events, Valasek said one of the primary focuses will center on youth services. The Natrona Heights, Harrison, native hopes to build a park area for the borough youth to gather and participate in organized events.
“I grew up an athlete, and I remember always running around or being involved in something at our park,” he said. “These kids don't really have that, and it's a shame.
“I think that will definitely be a priority when everything starts really coming together.”
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- CNG station approved for Harmar
- Harrison man held in jail on molestation charges
- New Kensington-Arnold School Board reviews facilities use policy
- Second-graders at Fawn Elementary School hold forth on origin, meaning of Thanksgiving
- West Deer CCD class learns lesson in helping those less fortunate
- Bicyclist killed in crash with tractor-trailer in Upper Burrell
- Conflicting meetings don’t work out for Cheswick, neighbors
- Apollo-Ridge closer to naming buildings, facilities
- Deer Lakes School Board gives $10,000 raise to new Superintendent Logue-Belden