Longietti: Grant will help fund Sharon business revitalization plan

HARRISBURG, Feb. 26 – A $15,000 grant from the Keystone Communities program will help fund a coordinated business development plan for the City of Sharon, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today.

“At the heart of any successful community is a thriving, prosperous downtown area that attracts businesses, shops and pedestrian traffic,” Longietti said. “Downtown Sharon has developed a vibrant landscape thanks to the grassroots efforts of various local organizations. The city has experienced a renaissance of new businesses, storefronts and community events that is attracting businesses and consumers alike.

“Now, we have to build on that success. It’s time for a unified business development strategy to ensure that we continue moving forward with a common vision that will make the city even more attractive to investors, shoppers, tourists and students attending the Penn State Shenango campus. The funding awarded today is going to help make that happen.”

Sharon Community and Economic Development Director Melissa Lynn Phillips is equally enthusiastic.

“The efforts of our small business community and dedicated volunteers have created a flower-laden downtown where visitors can enjoy shopping, dining and special events,” Phillips said.

“Sharon’s growth potential has surpassed the capacity of volunteers alone, however. This grant creates an opportunity for those of us in the public sector to better support our small business community. We hope the ultimate outcome of the action strategy will be to hire a manager who will coordinate collaborations, market Sharon’s business community and provide opportunities for local entrepreneurs.”

Longietti noted that the grant will help fund a business improvement district feasibility study and the development of a five-year revitalization action strategy. The city anticipates a $15,000 match from private donors to meet the total project cost of $30,000.

The Keystone Communities program is administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The program is designed to support local initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and communities, encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community and enhance the overall quality of life for residents.