Downtown Lewistown Inc.  accredited by 2 organizations

Future of DLI, Bon-Ton building discussed

LEWISTOWN — For the fifth year, Downtown Lewistown Inc. was accredited by both the National Main Street Center and Pennsylvania Downtown Center for “outstanding organization performance in sustaining a main street and elm street effort,” according to DLI Executive Director Jim Zubler.

Zubler announced the accreditation during the quarterly DLI board meeting Wednesday, following a comprehensive review of DLI by Field Outreach Specialist Rick Diglione from the PDC.

Diglione observed the meeting as part of an assessment of DLI and reviewed with the board the progess he observed since their first-year evaluation, such as local municipalities getting involved, as well as the “positive strides” made in changing the negative perceptions of the area. Board members advised Diglione of the fruits of DLI’s efforts, such as the formation of Entrepreural Meet-ups, First Fridays and coverage by Keystone Edge, as well as indirectly related efforts, such as a sixth-grade job-shadowing program implemented by the Juniata Valley Chamber of Commerce Business and Education committee. The group also advised Diglione that they unanimously wished to continue their efforts after completing their five-year designation term with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Keystone Program.

“We’re believers here,” said Mifflin County Commissioner Rob Postal.

Diglione also discussed challenges the board considered possible, such as changing demographics and finding sustainable workforce employees, as well as attaining two grants to help maintain Keystone Program Designations, such as DLI.

Various real-estate endeavors were also discussed by the board, including an interest in three properties owners developing two buildings on Brown Street and one on Market Street. The board also discussed the status of the Bon-Ton building. According to agrealtypartners.com, seven “fee owned big box properties in the Midwest & Northeast,” including the Lewistown property, are scheduled for auction today, in Chicago, Illi.

The board touched on a possible revival of the Embassy Theater renovation project, establishing a Mifflin County Athletics Hall of Fame, creating a video highlighting DLI efforts and featuring local business invovlement as well as improving train passenger service. DLI was also apprised of the potential for a new DLI applicant. The applicant is anticipating a sizeable tax credit for developing in the DLI desgination, five percent of which would be given to DLI in fees, which would contribute to the organization continuing their efforts.

“Continue the good work,” Viglione said.

Other items discussed by the DLI board included:

¯A perception survey and public forum for the community to give feedback about DLI and its efforts.

¯Approving the DLI Historic Preservation Statement, last meeting’s minutes and Treasurer’s Report.

¯Changes to the DLI Vision Statement.

¯Receiving approval for Keystone Program funds by December.

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