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Neighborhood Partnership Program celebrates 1st anniversary in Jeannette

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jeannette Mayor Richard Jacobelli, Leonard Galante and Kathie Tanyer are all members of the Jeannette Community Action Team. In the past year, Galante has helped maintain the Christmas lights on Clay Avenue and prepared the flags which now hang along the Downtown corridor.
Margie Stanislaw | For Trib Total Media
Jeannette Mayor Richard Jacobelli, Leonard Galante and Kathie Tanyer are all members of the Jeannette Community Action Team. In the past year, Galante has helped maintain the Christmas lights on Clay Avenue and prepared the flags which now hang along the Downtown corridor.

The Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) has reached the one year mark in Jeannette.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's website describes NPP tax credit program as “long-term collaborations (five years or more) of business, government and community leaders to produce a comprehensive, asset-based and relationship-driven approach to community development.”

Companies that participate in the NPP donate a portion of their state tax to be used for various projects in the community.

In Jeannette, the project is led by Westmoreland Community Action (WCA), which is a county-based nonprofit that is the lead agency of the housing project on South Sixth Street and the Bridges to Prosperity Initiative. WCA also operates a Head Start program in the city.

Director Tay Waltenbaugh and his staff work closely with the Elliott Company and First Niagara Bank, which are the initial funders for this NPP project and have pledged about $500,000 over a period of five years for beautification projects in the city.

This coming year, DeLallo's and UPMC will join the group, which raises the amount of annual contributions coming into the city to about $700,000 over the next five years.

Last year's $100,000 is close to being spent. According to Waltenbaugh, the funders have agreed that any remaining money can be carried over into next year.

Projects completed within the last year includes the tree removal at Altman Park and on Clay Avenue, the purchase of seasonal flags, flag poles, hangers and hanging baskets for Clay Avenue and the purchase of planters with flowers for both City Hall and Altman Park.

Other expenditures included new signage for the city which should be installed in the near future and the purchase of equipment for watering the plants and for city-wide cleanups.

Although the overall focus is beautification, Waltenbaugh said, “The funders do have a say-so in how the money is used and DeLallo's wants to make sure that the children in Jeannette are fed, so we will be discussing feeding programs in the future.”

Elliott and First Niagara Bank have made it clear that funds from their companies are to be used for beautification.

Lenny Galante, who, along with Rob Fejes, hung the flags on Clay Avenue, has suggested decorating with cornstalks for the fall and he also has made repairs to the Christmas bells used on Clay Avenue.

The Community Action Team of the NPP meets monthly at City Hall. For dates and times of upcoming meetings contact Waltenbaugh at twaltenbaugh@westmorelandca.org.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.

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