State Officials Meet with Downtown Hershey Volunteers Regarding Designation

At the August 25 board meeting, Downtown Hershey Association board members and interested people from the community had an opportunity to learn more about how Keystone Community designation can help shape and fund the future of our downtown.

Keystone Communities assists Pennsylvania’s communities in achieving revitalization. The program designates and funds communities that are implementing Main Street, Elm Street, Enterprise Zone efforts or other community development efforts by supporting physical improvements to communities that are undertaking revitalization activities.

Downtown Hershey Association Keystone Communities Visit 1
Downtown Hershey Association Vice-Chairman Justin Engle describes some of the changes coming to downtown to Julie Fitzpatrick, assistant director and special projects coordinator with the Pennsylvania Downtown Center.

Julie Fitzpatrick, assistant director and special projects coordinator with the Pennsylvania Downtown Center reviewed the Keystone Communities Program in Pennsylvania and explained how our area can be designated as a Keystone Community.

Julie was joined by David Zellers, field services specialist, from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and Kerry Kirkland, Regional Director with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Kerry will be working with Julie and David to review our application for designation as a Pennsylvania Keystone Community.

Downtown Hershey Association Keystone Communities Visit 2
Pictured left to right: Downtown Hershey Association Chairperson Susan Cort, Regional Director with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Kerry Kirkland, Derry Township Economic Development Manager Lauren Zumbrun and Township Planner Chris Brown review the downtown master plan.

Before the board meeting, our guests enjoyed an informational session and walking tour of downtown Hershey with Economic Development Manager Lauren Zumbrun, Downtown Hershey Association Chairperson Susan Cort and Vice-Chairman Justin Engle, and Derck & Edson consultant Chris Brown.

All three guests were very impressed with the progress our organization has made and by the passion for revitalization that is embraced by our community.

The Downtown Hershey Association completed a master plan in January 2015. The plan aims to enhance the beauty of the downtown, attract new businesses, and improve the quality of life for everyone with a walkable, bikeable, safe, welcoming, quaint, and delightful downtown that respects our heritage. Goals and action items of the plan focus on each of the five categories of the Keystone Community five-point strategic framework:  organization; design; asset enhancement; promotion; and clean, safe, and green.