York Town Square

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This Rust Belt town has viable options: Linked in with neat stuff about York County, Pa. – Nov. 29, 2009

A car navigates around the rotary at an intersection in Vandergrift, Pa. Frederick Law Olmsted designed Vandergrift, 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Street corners and accompanying buildings were rounded. According to the Associated Press, many communities are embracing sustainable revitalization, but Vandergrift’s comprehensive strategy is to create an energy independent, ecologically low-impact, economically viable town from the ashes of its postindustrial wasteland. Consultant Roger Brooks will present his findings for the revitalization of York, Pa., on Tuesday. (See additional photo, story below.) Olmsted family designers also laid out Wyndham Hills in the hills south of York City. Also of interest: York Sunday News columnist: ‘Time for York to break shackles of Colonialism’ and Author: ‘York’s streetscape features almost every style and era of American architecture’ and Every day, York County struts its diverse architectural stuff

A York Daily Record/Sunday News history entry won a coveted statewide award, the G. Richard Dew Award for public service reporting.
The multi-media entry, “York’s Own Civil War,” competed in Pennsylvania Newspaper Association competition against entries from newspapers of all sizes, including those in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Here are some excerpts from my acceptance speech, themes readers of this blog might find familiar:
“Our entry was a body of work that explored the Civil War and its implications for York County, which was fully involved in that war. For various reasons, York’s role in the Civil War was sublimated until recently… .

And because the war was overlooked, the community never fully grappled with the racism that helped fuel the war. “Here’s a clear example of the community’s ambivalence about the Civil War and race written by the county’s foremost citizen as late as 1921: “York was distinctly northern but not bitterly anti-Southern.”
So our history team, via its own research and reporting on the findings of others, opened the window on the Civil War and brought issues of race and black history in with it.

A few years ago, another Daily Record/Sunday News history entry won the contest, which some folks call the “Dewitzer Prize,” a play on Pulitzer Prize, because it’s the most coveted of all statewide journalistic awards.

The Casino Theater in Vandergrift was saved when a group formed 20 years ago to oppose the demolition of the vaudeville show theater, built in 1900. Volunteers renovated the Greek Revival-style building where school shows and occasionally movies are now featured. On the revitalization front in York, marketing specialist Roger Brooks will present his findings on how to better market downtown York. Brooks will host his presentation on at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center York. Founder and CEO of Destination Development International, Roger is a specialist on community branding, development and marketing. The presentation is open to the public. (AP photo)
From the AP: More than 100 years after New York’s Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted built a western Pennsylvania steel town, residents are trying to revive the community in a 21st century fashion.
Using Olmsted’s original designs, they are trying to create a “green” town that will usher in economic recovery.
They want to attract people to live or shop in the quaint town of just 5,000 people — which lost residents, jobs and allure along with steel.
From bringing back green spaces paved-over for parking to harnessing electrical energy from the Kiskiminetas River, Vandergrift is investing millions in environmentally sustainable revitalization — a concept gaining popularity in Rust Belt towns that have few viable options for renewal.
Recommended blog post of the day: From Joan Concilio’s Only York blog: Dig deeper into county’s past. (Joan assembled that vast list of county history links.)
Forum of the day, from York community bulletin board The Exchange: Share your thoughts on beautiful York, PA landmarks – no longer standing.