The Downtown Bradford Revitalization Corporation (DBRC) will once again apply for the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP). This time, in a new area of the City.
The DBRC has run a successful NPP in the Second Ward for the past nine years. “Thanks to our partners – American Refining Group, Northwest Bank and Zippo Manufacturing, the area has undergone over $7 million in improvements since the start of the program,” says Sarah Matzner, Main Street/Elm Street Coordinator. NPP improvements to this area will be wrapped up by the end of 2022.
Hoping to continue to implement the program successfully, the DBRC will be applying for funds to begin making improvements to another neighborhood.
OECD Staff, members of City Council, City Administrator Chris Lucco and members of the NPP Advisory Committee began searching for the next potential NPP Area last fall. “We looked at several areas of the City for possible improvements. This included walking various neighborhoods, looking at crime and poverty rates and the potential for economic development,” said Shane Oschman, OECD Executive Director.
The area chosen is primarily in the Third Ward, adjacent to the Historic District. The boundaries currently being proposed begin at a north point of Willard Ave & Bank Street, extending south to Campus Drive. The area will have a breadth of Marion Ave to Charlotte Ave. This is approximate, but a complete map can be found at www.bradfordpa.org. The boundaries are subject to change pending DCED approval.
“We chose this area for a number of reasons. First, PennDot is planning a Betterment Project in the West Washington corridor. This will help us to capitalize on additional improvements while they are doing their work. Additionally, all parties agreed it was important to invest in a neighborhood that has proximity to the Bradford Regional Medical Center, Bradford Area High School and Callahan Park. This area is also the northern gateway to the PA Wilds Region from Allegheny State Park. This project should also bring improvements that will enhance the gateway to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Perhaps most importantly, we also think there is great potential for economic development in this area,” explained Oschman.
First steps by the consultant, Derck & Edson LLC, will be to create a plan and strategy for the Third Ward improvements. This is where the DBRC needs the community’s help. Residents and business owners are invited to attend open houses where discussions regarding potential improvements for this neighborhood will be held. Comments and suggestions will be highly encouraged. “We want these improvements to have the greatest impact possible. Without hearing the residents’ suggestions and concerns, we cannot optimize the dollars that are to be spent,” says Bill Leven, Chairperson of the DBRC.
Two sessions will be held at the Bradford First Church of the Nazarene located at 55 North Bennett Street. Derck & Edson will begin each open house with a short presentation, followed by open discussion with attendees. The sessions will be heldMay 3rd at 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM and May 4th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. In the coming days, those who live in the proposed area should be on the look-out for door hangers with information about the upcoming Open Houses.
Residents and business owners may come at any time during the two-hour window.
“We are incredibly grateful to American Refining Group, Northwest Bank and Zippo Manufacturing for their past participation in NPP projects,” says Oschman. “We are hopeful that we will receive funding to begin this next phase. The Neighborhood’s voice is crucial to strengthening our application and planning our next five years of improvements.”