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Letcher named executive director of Carnegie Community Development Corporation

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Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Joanne Letcher, new executive director of Carnegie Community Development Corporation, at her office on Chestnut Street in Carnegie.

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By Jeff Widmer
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

Joanne Letcher, the owner of J & L Travel in Carnegie, is the new executive director of the Carnegie Community Development Corporation.

Letcher, the owner of J & L Travel on Chestnut Street since April 1989, has replaced Leigh White, who served as executive director since 2007. White left the position last month to become vice president of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Letcher admits that White, who recommended Letcher as her replacement, is a tough act to follow.

“(White) has done many great things for Carnegie. We all owe her a lot,” said Letcher, a native of Penn Hills who now lives in Pennsbury Village.

Letcher's face is well known in Carnegie. One person who has worked with her on a steady basis is Carnegie police Chief and part-time Manager Jeff Harbin.

“I can't think of a better choice to replace Leigh. Joanne is a fantastic choice. Her business experience in this town is second to none. She knows so many people here and that can only help her and the business climate. I think the fact that she has been here for a while and worked with so many people will help her significantly.

“I think she will hit the ground running,” Harbin said.

Letcher appreciates and admires what White did for Carnegie, but she said she has plans of her own as the new executive director.

The Carnegie Community Development Corporation is working on its five-year strategic plan, Letcher said. Some of the projects the non-profit corporation is looking at are affordable housing; continuing to attract new and existing businesses to the area; getting vacant store fronts rented; and working with local government, she said.

Letcher will continue to work with the Business Development Advisory Committee, she said.

“We are in our second year of this five-year program, offered to select local communities by Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation,” she said.

Also, the “Get Winded Wednesdays” program has proven to be successful and it will continue through October, Letcher said.

Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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