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More than ribbon-cutting... Blueprint Communities initiative trains community leaders

group shot of 2015 Blueprint Communities graduates
Kate Lao Shaffner
The graduates of Blueprint Communities 2015 pose for a group shot at a State College hotel lobby.

What does it take to turn a community around?  Revitalization work is certainly more than just ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Every new bike path, main street project, or historic rehab likely represents stacks of paperwork and years of planning. 

The Blueprint Communities initiative is designed to train leaders to do the tough, long-term work of revitalization. The training spans almost a year and includes sessions on everything from how to attract businesses and recruit volunteers, to how to write grant proposals. The ultimate goal is to create a strong "core team" of leadership and a long-term strategic plan.

"If you care about your community..."

At a hotel ballroom in State College, dozens of people are divided up into six areas -- one representing each community taking part in the Blueprint program (Clarion, New Castle, Reynoldsville, Curwensville area, Huntingdon area, the Allegheny-Clarion Oil Region area). It's graduation day, but also technically the last day of training, so the folks in attendance are still hard at work. The Clarion team is hovering over a schedule covering March to December—they're coordinating their twice-monthly group meetings.

Read the full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.

Kate Lao Shaffner was the Keystone Crossroads Reporter for WPSU-FM from 2014-2015. She reports on infrastructure, economic, legal, and financial issues in Pennsylvania with reporters from WHYY (Philadelphia), WITF (Harrisburg), and WESA (Pittsburgh).
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