Perry County Receives Regional Keystone Communities Main Street Designation
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs and Development Rick Vilello recently announced Perry County’s designation as a regional Keystone Communities Main Street, which will enhance the quality of life for residents by supporting businesses in Blain, Duncannon, Landisburg, Liverpool, Marysville, Millerstown, New Bloomfield, New Buffalo, and Newport.
“The Keystone Communities Main Street program works to spur economic development and support small businesses across Pennsylvania,” said Deputy Secretary Vilello. “This regional program will provide the participating communities with the tools they need to make all of Perry County a better place to live, work, and play for many years to come.”
Regional Main Street programs have been completed in other Pennsylvania communities, but this is the first time Perry County has received this type of designation. The nine participating communities will receive priority status for various applications submitted to DCED and will be eligible for Neighborhood Assistance Program Enterprise Zone tax credits for private sector development within the designated Main Street program area.
“Comprehensive economic vitality plans for each of Perry’s nine boroughs were developed with participation from borough leaders, residents, and business owners,” said Martha Roberts, Board Chair of the Perry County Economic Development Authority. “This process identified revitalization strategies that work across the county, including unique steps for each downtown. The ultimate goal is to make Perry County a more vibrant and economically resilient community.”
The nine communities in the program are also now eligible to receive complimentary technical assistance and programmatic support from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center over the next five years.
“Although Perry County’s designation is its first Regional Keystone Communities Main Street, in years past, this regional revitalization approach has been utilized in other regions or counties throughout the commonwealth along a corridor, trail or waterway or around similar economic generators with industrial or cultural heritage legacies,” said Julie Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC). “This regional strategy is an ideal way to support smaller, usually rural communities to encourage sustainable economic development and improve the quality of life for the local residents. PDC looks forward to assisting PCEDA in their commitment to this initiative.”
The primary goals of designated Main Street areas are improving the quality of life in a community by making the traditional downtown area a more attractive place to live and work. They also strive to increase business development and create jobs in the area, improve the level of planning in the community, and ensure that public and private investments are impactful to the local economy.
A Keystone Communities designation is a flexible tool for use in community and economic development for a variety of uses including planning activities, façade grant programs, accessible housing programs, and development grants, and designation applications are accepted at all times.