A local leader has been selected to serve as a new member on the board of directors for Pennsylvania Downtown Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the overall well-being and sustainability of Pennsylvania communities.

Jeanine Henry, president of Waynesburg Prosperous & Beautiful’s board of directors, joins five other new members appointed as new board members effective July 1.

Henry has been an active leader with WP&B and its Main Street program since 2001. With a background in banking and economic development, she said she is happy to lend both her professional wisdom and volunteer perspective from a rural community to her role on the PDC board.

“I am excited and honored to have been asked to serve on the PDC board,” Henry said. “Our downtown has seen its share of changes over the last 20-plus years combined with our current pandemic. It is important that we must never lose sight of our local small businesses, as they are the pulse of our community.”

Julie Fitzpatrick, PDC executive director, said in a release that PDC is “fortunate to have all of these incredibly talented and dedicated new individuals join the organization, and we look forward to their leadership throughout the next few years.”

In July, WP&B was one of 22 state downtown initiatives recognized by PDC for earning national accredited status, which PDC officials state is “the top tier of recognition by Main Street America,” the release states.

Fitzpatrick said this designation “signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive community revitalization and a proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach.”

In the release, Fitzpatrick said the organization is proud to recognize the Pennsylvania communities as part of a national movement of over 860 nationally accredited Main Street America programs.

“These programs exemplify the hard work and dedication of various stakeholders, community leaders, organizational staff, and volunteers who are committed to making their communities better places for us now, and in years to come,” she said.

“We are working to revitalize our older authentic communities to build vibrant and thriving economies where people choose to live and businesses choose to invest,” she continued. “Our current health and economic crisis have demonstrated that our programs are the ones delivering boots on the ground technical assistance services, guidance and resources to businesses when they need it the most.”

Fitzpatrick added that Pennsylvania Main Street programs are the lifeblood of local communities and both state and national reinvestment statistics continue to indicate their critical importance, according to the release.

Since the early 1980s, Pennsylvania’s Main Street program participants have provided support for local businesses, particularly those in smaller and more rural communities — attracting more than $1.7 billion in public and private investment, creating over 24,000 net new jobs and over 7,200 net new businesses, the release states.

In 2019 alone, over 1,000 net new jobs and over 100 net new businesses were created, along with over $7.3 million in public investment, leveraging over $17.9 million in private investment in Pennsylvania Main Streets, the release states. Accredited Main Street programs are evaluated annually by their coordinating program.

Fitzpatrick said PDC, the coordinating program of Main Street America programs in Pennsylvania, is proud to see these downtowns acknowledged for their determination to meet Main Street principles.

Evaluation criteria determines communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively rehabilitating historic buildings.

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