A Start-up Grant Given to Begin Revitalization Work in Three Armstrong Communities: Freeport, Leechburg, and Apollo.
Armstrong County – April 12, 2007 – A start-up grant to fund initial work for a joint main streets project for Freeport, Leechburg, Apollo, was announced today by National City Bank as part of its community revitalization program. The grant was made to Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.
Senator Jim Ferlo initiated the program for the three communities.
“As the elected State Senator who represents many small town communities in Westmoreland and Armstrong counties, I have helped to lead efforts to re-invigorate their Main Streets based on principles of preservation, sustainability, and empowerment. The Vandergrift Improvement Program (VIP) is now in their second year of formal state recognition as a Main Street community and I am proud and supportive of efforts by Freeport, Leechburg, and Apollo stakeholders who envision a multiple Main Street approach in these Armstrong county municipalities. National City and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation are to be commended for their financial support and leadership in the re-building of these wonderful communities,” said State Senator Jim Ferlo.
Mitch McFeely, branch manager for National City’s Freeport branch, said “Our bank has been serving individuals and families in the Freeport, Leechburg and Apollo region for more than a century and a half. This our hometown, where our employees reside, work, raise their families and volunteer with the organizations that make this a special place to live. We are proud to support the business, municipal and community leaders who have established the F.L.A.G. program, with a seed grant of $7,500 to implement a Pennsylvania Main Street Program. The Main Street Program will strengthen our existing retail corridors and significantly improve the vibrancy and quality of life in these neighborhoods. At National City, we are fond of saying that taking care of our communities is not just the right thing to do, it is the best thing we do.”
Freeport Leechburg Apollo Group Inc. was recently incorporated as a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation on 3/19/2007. The multi-municipal organization is in the initial stages of creating a five-year multi-municipal economic revitalization plan. Developing such a plan is one of the application requirements to enroll the group in Pennsylvania’s Main Street program. If approved for the Main Street program, FLAG and its participant communities will have the ability to leverage over $295,000 in state grants through the Department of Community & Economic Development. National’s City’s $7500 seed grant will provide initial funding for the organization, enabling them to hire a consultant to conduct public “Visioning” sessions in each community.
FLAG Board officers include: President, Mary Bowlin (Freeport); Vice President, Bill Charlesworth (Apollo); Treasurer, Chuck Pascal(Leechburg); and Secretary, Jim Seagriff Jr. (Freeport).
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation actively creates and manages Main Street and Elm Street programs for the revitalization of Western Pennsylvania Communities. The Foundation initiated the Carson Street Program in 1969, which became a successful national prototype Main Street Program through four decades.
Currently PHLF is managing a relatively new Main Street Program in nearby Vandergrift, PA. “We would like to see these communities in this area work on their significant individual architectural and business resources to attract new businesses and to work together so as to leverage the area as an attractive one in which to visit and shop in variety of interested small business districts,” said Arthur Ziegler, President.
Shaun Yurcaba, who heads the Vandergrift Program for the Vandergrift Improvement Program for PHLF said, “I am really looking forward to working with these communities to magnify our individual results through cooperative activities.” “We are very grateful to National City for this faith in the efforts that Senator Ferlo has launched.”