MOUNT UNION - At 6 p.m. on Thursday, the second of four strategic planning sessions to revitalize and renovate the town will be held in the Mount Union Area High School library. The meeting will review all of last month's proposed ideas, concerns and strategies for completion. Organizers said the meeting is open to the public and ideas, thoughts and strategies are welcomed.
Jeremy Crouse, founder of local nonprofit organization Planet LoveJoy, said that he and Mount Union Councilman David Yocum approached Maureen Safko, a grant writer from the Huntingdon County Planning Commission, to help find and write grants to help improve the town in areas such as economics, beautification and recreation.
Borough Council member Joseph Loner says the strategic plan will help focus and direct efforts in improving Mount Union.
"One of the great things about their process is the collaboration between local government, organizations and community members. Also, with a strategic plan, it can benefit the borough with grant applications and funding," Loner said.
Crouse said the first project is to fix a community wall that has been falling apart for a number of years.
"The first priority is the wall that is falling down on Pennsylvania Avenue. The commissioners gave approval today to begin restoration of the wall. At the moment, it's dangerous. They've actually shut down the road behind it because of the damage it could do," Crouse said.
Crouse also said Safko suggested he and Yocum write and develop a strategic plan to help Mount Union with a road map to reach their goals and present it to Judy Chambers, a strategic planner from the Penn State Extension Program.
Yocum took the suggestion and plan to the council and received approval in April, and the first strategic meeting was held on May 30.
In attendance for the initial meeting were school administrators, law enforcement, pastors, nonprofit members, library, school board members, teachers and other community members. The group listed various attributes of the town: hard-working, caring and giving people, civic pride, opportunities for hunting, fishing and river recreation, trails, inexpensive housing stocks and others assets, as well as the challenges it faces: isolation, lack of businesses and employers, homelessness, drug abuse and other concerns.
This week's meeting will feature a presentation by Safko on census data, housing stock, employment, age, ethnic diversity, income levels and comparison with other communities in the county. After the presentation, a review of last month's discussion will occur and goal setting will be put into practice.
Additional information can be found on the Facebook pages for the Mount Union Police Department, Planet LoveJoy, and Mount Unity - "Unity Within Our CommUNITY."