Wolf Administration Designates United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern PA, Scranton’s Pine Brook Neighborhood as Keystone Communities Elm Street

Scranton, PA – Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Neil Weaver announced today, August 9, 2022, that United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern PA (UNC) has received Pennsylvania’s newest Keystone Communities Program Elm Street designation, which will allow for additional funding for planning, administration and residential reinvestment. UNC is the administering agency responsible for implementing the revitalization effort in the City of Scranton’s Pine Brook neighborhood.

“This Elm Street designation for Pine Brook will have a big impact on its residents, as well as Scranton’s population, businesses, and visitors as a whole,” said Secretary Weaver. “An Elm Street designation supports projects like building and streetscape improvements, connecting residential areas to downtowns and developing sustainable strategic plans. UNC now has some great new tools to enhance the Pine Brook neighborhood and bring out its best.”

Through UNC’s five-year plan, the organization will create physical improvements to the public realm; implement streetscaping improvements to approve walkability along Capouse Avenue and the connection to downtown Scranton; develop affordable and mixed-use housing through UNC’s Community Development Corporation; and preserve and improve green spaces and parks, commercial and residential exterior improvement programs, as well as community building events and activities.

“We have spent the last two years working with the residents and businesses of Pine Brook to develop a plan to improve the neighborhood; and on some impactful early actions,” said Lisa Durkin, President and CEO of UNC. “We’re looking forward to working hard over the next five years to put those plans into action with the help from our state, county, and local partners.”

As a DCED-designated Elm Street, UNC will receive priority consideration under several programs including the Keystone Communities Program and will be eligible for complimentary technical assistance and programmatic support from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) over the next five years.

“This designation is a recognition of the hard work United Neighborhood Centers (UNC) has done to improve the Pine Brook neighborhood,” said Mayor Paige G. Cognetti. “UNC has been a vital partner to the city’s neighborhood revitalization efforts.”

Elm Streets are one of four designations within the Keystone Communities Program. An Elm Street designation takes a holistic approach to long-term neighborhood sustainability by operating in cooperation with existing downtown or commercial corridor revitalization programs, including the Pennsylvania Main Street program, to better connect healthy neighborhoods and strong business districts.

“The Elm Street model is the ideal framework for community partners with an already strong identity, such as Pine Brook, to become a more cohesive neighborhood,” said Julie Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Downtown Center. “PDC looks forward to assisting them in becoming a more welcoming place to new residents and new business owners alike. As a true live-work neighborhood, PDC will support Pine Brook in becoming a more livable and walkable place, and better position the neighborhood for the future. We look forward to being part of the growth and evolution of Pine Brook within the next five years.”

The Keystone Communities program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sector that jointly support local initiatives such as the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities; social and economic diversity; and a strong and secure quality of life. The program allows communities to tailor assistance to meet the needs of specific revitalization efforts.

For more information about Elm Street designations and other community improvement programs, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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