The private group has scheduled a festival as its first fund-raising event.
By LAURI GALENTINE
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Lorrie Smith had been following the story of Greenville's financial woes even before their full extent was known.
When she learned that many planned improvements to the community would be delayed because there was no money, she and other Greenville area residents decided to do something about it.
They formed the Greenville Area Preservation Association.
During the association's few months in existence, the group has grown from six to just more than 40 members who are already putting together two fund-raising events to benefit Greenville, Smith said.
They've gained the support of local businesses and have already raised enough money to cover expenses for the first event, the Riverside Park Festival, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 15 and noon to 5 p.m. June 16 at the park.
The festival is attracting vendors from all over Pennsylvania and Ohio, Smith said. It will feature food booths, games, wagon rides, helicopter landings, crafters and more.
One of the event's highlights is the tug of war over the Little Shenango River between members of the business community and borough officials, Smith said.
Plans for dividing funds
She said the association plans to put 75 percent of the money raised by the festival back into the community. The association will control the money, she said, but it will be used for community projects such as sewage hookups and landscaping, as well as replacing barbecue grills and other improvements at Riverside Park.
She said an additional 15 percent will go into a fund to help Greenville Borough pay its debts.
The remaining 10 percent will go to pay for the next fund-raising event, Smith said.
"The ultimate goal is to bring in outside money and let people know that we're still a viable community," said Smith.
"I know we can't change the past and all the bad things that have happened, but we can move forward," she said.
The association has also contracted with the Kelly Miller Circus for July 22 at the Transfer Fairgrounds.
Greenville Borough officials learned earlier this year that the community is facing a $1.62 million deficit and is awaiting a decision by state officials as to whether Greenville can be designated as a Distressed Community under state law. The designation would make the town eligible for state assistance.