FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announce the release of the Nature-Based Placemaking 2.0 project including a statewide economic impact analysis: Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Recreation Economy: Exploring the Economic Development Potential of Nature-Based Placemaking and a Nature-Based Placemaking video – Connecting Nature, Commerce & Community.

PDC and DCNR staff will host a press event on Tuesday, April 6th, 12:00 noon at Veterans Park, 145 E. Pumping Station Road in Quakertown, PA. to make a formal announcement. This Nature-Based Placemaking initiative complements Quakertown Alive!’s Keystone Communities Main Street program designation through Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) as well as their work in developing an Active Transportation Plan with a grant through Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) WalkWorks program. The public is invited to join local community leaders, elected officials, municipal staff, the staffs of PDC and DCNR, and others for this celebration. Although this is an outdoor event, please practice Covid-19 restrictions by social distancing and wearing a mask. Rain date is Wednesday, April 7th, 12:00 noon.

“Communities that are walkable and bikeable with trails, green space, parks, and access to water not only create a richer quality of life for their residents, they also have the potential to draw visitors into their downtowns,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Lauren Imgrund said. “Nature-based placemaking provides a step by step process for communities to fully embrace their outdoor assets. “Kudos to Quakertown for exploring this concept to take advantage of visitors to DCNR’s Nockamixon State Park.”

“We have reason to believe that almost every community in our commonwealth can benefit directly or indirectly from the opportunities and impact from Nature-Based Placemaking,” says PDC’s Executive Director, Julie Fitzpatrick. “Our intent is that the economic impact analysis and video will be utilized as tools for growing awareness and support to prioritize a Nature-Based Placemaking plan in your own community.”

“Along with strong synergy from local leaders and technical support from the PA Downtown Center, our Nature-Based Placemaking and WalkWorks committees are working to develop plans for better and safer access to our parks and trails, said Naomi Naylor, Executive Director, Quakertown Alive!. Our collaborative efforts will increase tourism as Quakertown becomes a unique destination with state-of-the-art recreational assets.”

This economic impact analysis is designed to reach a wide audience – from elected officials to residents, existing business owners to potential community investors, and partner community neighborhood and community development organizations. The economic impact analysis was completed by Jon Stover & Associates - Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Recreation Economy: Exploring the Economic Development Potential of Nature-Based Placemaking.

The video - Connecting Nature, Commerce & Community – is a visual resource telling the story of Nature-Based Placemaking initiatives from a variety of perspectives throughout the commonwealth. It is designed to reach a wide audience – from elected officials to residents, existing business owners to potential community investors, and partner community neighborhood and community development organizations. It was produced by Emily Zebel of Wilder Mile Creative.

Nature-Based Placemaking (NBP) is an evolving, integrated theory that utilizes a community’s natural, outdoor recreational resources (its NBP assets) and the recreational activities associated with those resources, to maximize the potential economic and quality of life impact of those activities on the community(ies) involved.

In May of 2012, DCNR engaged PDC for the purpose of developing a unified strategy, called Nature-Based Placemaking that addresses both the economic and the quality of life opportunities that such an effort might provide to communities with the ability for it to be developed to its fullest potential. PDC received a C2P2 grant to implement this project that came out of DCNR’s Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan 2009-2013: The Keystone for Healthy Living, and in July 2017, PDC was awarded a second C2P2 grant to implement Nature-Based Placemaking 2.0, which came out of action items from the 2014-2019 PA Outdoor Recreation Plan – Natural Connections, working in four pilot communities: Clearfield; Connellsville; Allegheny-Clarion River Valley (Emlenton, Foxburg, City of Parker); and Quakertown.

Pennsylvania Downtown Center believes that as we are recovering from the effects and impact of the pandemic, Nature-Based Placemaking provides an ideal opportunity for communities to capitalize on these natural resources and benefit from the economic and quality of life opportunities that exist in the majority of our Pennsylvania communities. For more information on this concept for community revitalization, or to download any of the above resources, as well as the Nature-Based Placemaking Handbook visit PDC’s website. For more information about designated Main Street or Elm Street programs, nationally accredited communities, or how PDC can help you make your town a better place, contact Maria Wherley at (717) 870-9334 or email here.

About Pennsylvania Downtown Center

Founded in 1987, the mission of Pennsylvania Downtown Center is to build and support the capacity of local nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and individuals to enhance the overall well-being and sustainability of Pennsylvania’s core communities. PDC accomplishes this mission by engaging and educating local community leaders and volunteers, to advance the sense of place, quality of life and economic vitality of the Commonwealth's downtowns, traditional neighborhood business districts and nearby residential areas. For more information about designated Main Street or Elm Street programs or nationally accredited communities, contact Maria Wherley at (717) 870-9334 or email here.