Outlook optimistic for downtown Connellsville
Downtown Connellsville Steering Committee members don't have time to suffer from cabin fever.
They feverishly are working on a new four-year plan for Fayette County Cultural Trust's Downtown Connellsville program.
During the past four years, $120,000 has been raised by Downtown Connellsville for community projects that were completed with volunteer assistance from civic groups. The money was pledged over the four-year period by local businesses, organizations, churches and individuals.
It's pledge time again — and the response thus far has been encouraging, said Cultural Trust President Michael Edwards.
“We've received $45,000 in pledges already, and the money continues to come in,” he said.
Four committees continue to meet regularly.
“Each group has completed a four-year plan for specific programs,” Edwards said.
He continues to gather information for a state Department of Community and Economic Development grant from the Neighborhood Partnership Program. The grant could provide Connellsville with $3 million over a six-year period.
The Allegheny Conference's Strengthening Communities Partnership collected 20 applications last year from distressed communities. The conference is an association of 300 business members dedicated to helping struggling communities to prosper.
Of the 20 applications, only five were selected — and Connellsville was one of them. The others are Wilkinsburg, McKeesport, Washington and Community South (a group of small boroughs and townships).
Connellsville used a $25,000 grant to hire a consultant — Civic Square of Pittsburgh, which provided technical assistance with the cultural trust's six-year plan.
$3 million grant update
The in-depth application will be submitted to Harrisburg, Edwards said. Much of the $3 million, if granted, will be used for projects to assist low- to moderate-income families as well as park improvements, code enforcement and other projects.
Downtown Connellsville would benefit from some of the grant. Cash would allow the group to hire a small staff to oversee the many endeavors.
During the past four years, Downtown Connellsville helped lure 20 new businesses to town. Benches and planters provide rest and beauty there. Several businesses have attractive, new awnings and signs. There are crosswalks on Crawford Avenue and Pittsburgh Street.
Mums the word
The group also hosts business-oriented seminars and mixers. It sponsors a mum festival each September, a downtown farmers' market on summer Saturdays and “It's a Connellsville Christmas” celebration.
Downtown Connellsville's track record has been possible because of volunteers.
“Many local groups team together because they believe in Connellsville's future,” Edwards stressed. “It can only be done with the help of those who care.”
Laura Szepesi is a contributing writer.
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.
- Conn-Area to stage ‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’
- Judge rules in favor of Seven Springs Mountain Resort over road closure
- Donations keep Connellsville Area Community Ministries food bank afloat
- Lost bear hunter from Westmoreland County located
- Organizations benefit from grants
- Connellsville man charged after boy took prescription
- Fayette twins injured as newborns expected to be adopted by foster mother
- Brownsville man charged with attempted homicide in shooting near Cal U