$500K grant from Wells Fargo to help revitalization efforts in Coatesville

By Pete Bannan, Daily Local News

COATESVILLE >> Another brick in the revitalization of Coatesville fell into place Tuesday as the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation (WFRF) announced a $500,000 grant toward the Coatesville Growing Greater Neighborhood Revitalization Initiativein partnership with the Chester County Economic Development Foundation.

The funds will be used to implement neighborhood-strengthening strategies developed by Coatesville residents during a year-long planning phase of the initiative, which was also under written by WFRF, according to a press release from Sonia Huntzinger, Economic Development Administrator of Coatesville 2nd Century Alliance.

“The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation only funds projects that we believe create long-term sustainable change, projects that help rebuild and revitalize neighborhoods,” said WFRF Executive Director Denise McGregor Armbrister as she announced the grant to an excited crowd of people at a press conference held at the Coatesville Area Public Library Tuesday. “The work of the Chester County Economic Development Foundation and its partners has proven to do just that by demonstrating a strong commitment to resident engagement and collaboration.”

McGregor Armbrister credited the planning and collaboration which went into to the revitalization initiative and the multiple organizations that took part. “We know to successfully implement the plan it takes the committed leaders, stakeholders, residents, but it also takes resources and that is why I am so delighted to present a $500,000 grant,” she said.

McGregor Armbrister said (WFRF) is a private foundation with an affiliation to the bank. Its websites states their mission is to improve the quality of life for children and families living in low-income communities in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Harry Lewis Jr., R-74, credited the 300 door-to-door interviews the organization made in developing the revitalization initiative and said economic development must be in line with community development and said the grant will give people tools to improve the community.

The interviews found four areas residents were most focused on: youth empowerment, public safety, jobs and resident engagement. Officials said the funds will support a community coordinator who will work with residents towards implementing their goals with implementation over the next five years.

Multiple officials credited Huntzinger and the work of the 2nd Century Alliance who said a public meeting will be held Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Coatesville Area Senior Center to discuss the implementation.

“This means a brighter future, I’m almost overwhelmed,” said Coatesville City Council President Linda Lavender-Norris. “2nd Century has been working on the grant for two years. Wells Fargo has been totally committed to the city.”

Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell pointed out the many positive things taking place in Coatesville from the train station revitalization to improvements to City Hall.

“Partnership are what’s helping Coatesville gain traction,” said Regina Horton-Lewis, chair of the Coatesville Area Partners for Progress. “Now with a boost from Wells Fargo, we are well on our way.”

“It’s about what our residents need, the community at large,” said Carmen Green, Coatesville City Council Vice President. “It’s not just the politicians, it’s an inclusive project.”

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