The Weed and Seed community revitalization effort is funded by a $220,000 grant.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
SHARON, Pa. -- Gov. Mark Schweiker will visit Sharon on Wednesday to launch the state's Weed and Seed site for Sharon and Farrell.
The public is invited to assemble at 9:15 a.m. at the Quinby Street Service Center in Sharon and join the governor for a walking tour of the Weed and Seed area, said Ron Errett, chief executive officer of the Mercer County Community Action Agency. Errett said he hopes 200 people will show up.
"Hopefully, this grant will provide the impetus to bring both communities together towards a common purpose and to focus funds and efforts on the target area," Errett said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Although the governor's press office said it didn't plan to issue an advisory officially confirming details of Gov. Schweiker's appearance until next week, Carl Anderson, state Weed and Seed program director, announced the governor's appearance late Wednesday on Errett's radio show on WPIC-AM 790.
The Sharon-Farrell site, approved by both mayors and city councils, covers 60 square blocks, and will be funded by a three-year, $220,000 grant. The state funding, which diminishes as the three years progress, must be matched with other funds, Errett said.
About the program: It will be the ninth site in the state-funded Weed and Seed program, whose design is similar to the national Weed and Seed program run by the U.S. Department of Justice, said Alison Delsite, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which administers the state program.
A site on Youngstown's South Side is funded by the federal program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has more than 200 sites nationwide.
The state grant covering the Sharon-Farrell site will be coming to Mercer County, whose District Attorney's office will coordinate the intensified law enforcement, known as the "weeding" aspect of the program. Errett said his agency is the county's subcontractor for the "seeding" part of the program, which includes neighborhood revitalization, housing improvement, economic development and after-school and community activities.
"The 60-square-block area identified comprises the single major target of poverty in the county, one of the higher crime rates and some of the oldest housing in most need of repair or replacement," Errett said.
"I've been in Community Action for 30 years, and this is the first time I've been involved with something where the governor personally showed up. That tells me that this program is seen as important by this governor, and I think that will be conveyed to the people that join him that day," Errett concluded.