Charleroi drafting downtown revival strategy

March 31, 2014
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The Coyle Theater has been among the targets for those working to revitalize downtown Charleroi. Order a Print
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Photo provided by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
David Farkas, Main Street director at Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, will be among the guest speakers at an April 7 breakfast meeting in Charleroi as the borough drafts a downtown revival strategy.

CHARLEROI – Charleroi Borough is drafting a downtown revival strategy in new efforts to attract artists and “trending business” to its empty storefronts.

Borough leaders also plan to become involved with Pittsburgh History & Landmark’s Neighborhood Partnership Program, which assists with community renewal efforts, said Donn Henderson, borough manager in Charleroi.

“We have to try something,” Henderson said.

He said for years “everyone thought (Charleroi) would come back on its own.”

To kick-start the plan, the borough is hosting a breakfast meeting Monday with several guest speakers, including David Farkas, the landmark foundation’s Main Street Program director.

The foundation has led the way in revitalizing Pittsburgh by combining a focus on historic preservation with tax credits and creative funding strategies, Henderson said.

Banking representatives are invited to the breakfast to learn more about Charleroi’s Sustainable Marketplace for Arts, Artisans, Recreation and Trending Businesses initiative, which is in the early stages of development, Henderson said.

He said the borough wants to attract businesses using the “incubator” method, in which they would be offered training and other assistance to help them succeed.

Cindy Gormley from the state Department of Community and Economic Development will attend the meeting to explain the Neighborhood Assistance Program and how it can benefit the borough.

The Small Business Administration will be represented by Regina Abel from its Pittsburgh office.

Joe Kirk, executive director of Mon Valley Progress Council, will be available to discuss the Enterprise Zones it oversees. Such zones are created with policies designed to encourage economic growth.

The breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. Monday in the borough building, 338 Fallowfield Ave. Those who plan to attend must contact Henderson at or 724-483-6011

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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