By MARY grzebieniak
NEW CASTLE, Pa.
Even though the economic news is unsettling, Lawrence County Commissioners are making plans to spur economic development in declining business districts in the county’s townships and boroughs.
Commissioner Steve Craig said Tuesday that commissioners are considering subsidizing the fee for a group that helps revitalize business sections by seeking tenants for empty storefronts.
Craig said commissioners are not deterred by this week’s bleak economic news. “These are tough times, but … there are still a lot of opportunities out there,” he said.
They have set a public meeting for 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Gettings Annex next to the courthouse for the group, Town Center Associates, to talk to representatives of local governments.
Craig said Town Center Associates, which lists offices in Beaver and Pittsburgh, has met with commissioners and with representatives of Ellwood City, New Beaver, Enon Valley and Wampum to hear about the company’s program to revitalize downtowns through lease and sale of real estate.
He said they match businesses with suitable space, trying to “jump start the leasing process.”
The company’s website at www.towncenter.info states it “provides comprehensive support to traditional downtown-based and main street communities.”
They list ongoing programs in 22 nearby communities, including Beaver and Beaver Falls.
The Sept. 7 meeting will give local governments that were not at the first meeting an opportunity to learn more about the possibilities. Craig added that Lawrence County Economic and Community Development Corp. is working with a similar group focused on larger communities to try to spark some business development in New Castle.
The commissioners will not meet Aug. 16 because they will be attending a state commissioners’ meeting.