CLEARFIELD – A community gathering was held Wednesday evening to celebrate 10 years of revitalization in downtown Clearfield.
It was hosted by the Clearfield Revitalization Corp. (CRC) in the banquet room at Moena Restaurant. The speakers were CRC President Lisa Kovalick and Main Street Manager Loretta Wagner.
Kovalick welcomed guests saying they were the reason the CRC was still going. “If not for our community, if not for our people of Clearfield, this would have never happened.”
She said in 2007, a group of “forward-thinking” men and women from Clearfield set out to “bring life back to this downtown … once again.”
They gathered for regular meetings and learned from officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center.
In 2008, they set forth to create the CRC with the sole mission of “leading the revitalization of the All-American people, places and spirit of Clearfield, Pa.”
Kovalick acknowledged the first board of directors, led by former President Dr. Keely Casteel, who were the “driving force” and “real matriarchs and patriarchs” of the downtown’s revitalization.
She said Thomas Jefferson was once quoted as saying: “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past,” which directly relates to the CRC.
With an entity and board of directors established, she said they worked in a collaborative effort with Clearfield Borough to develop and implement a grant and Main Street Designation Program.
The program, she said, aimed to preserve and strengthen existing retail, to improve the quality of life in this community and to create new small business opportunities.
It also “provided assistance with cost-effective solutions for existing challenges and offers now a community with economic development.”
“And so was the birth of CRC’s Main Street,” Kovalick said, a program that mirrors the PDC’s community-driven, five-point approach.
The CRC has formed a committee to cultivate each of the five points, which are: design, organization, promotion, economic vitality and clean, safe and green.
“Our strength comes from our community of volunteers and all of you,” Kovalick said, adding three Main Street managers have served the downtown: Kellie Truman Swales, Heather Bozovich and Wagner.
“They have picked up garbage and pulled out weeds … they have acted as liaisons and accepted any challenge put before them. We all owe them a great deal of respect and gratitude.”
Under the leadership of former President Katie Penoyer, the CRC broadened its focus. Kovalick said it switched its designation from Main Street to “Keystone Community.”
This, she said, allows the CRC to not only improve and maintain its downtown, but also to unify and develop other neighborhoods, such as with the Clearfield Riverwalk and streetscape projects.
Kovalick said the CRC can’t possibly take all the credit, because Clearfield Borough and its Operations Manager Leslie Stott was the real “spit-fire” and “driving force.”
Today, she said the Riverwalk is a scenic spot for weddings, yoga classes and most recently an Easter Sunday sunrise church service. “This is beautiful for me to see … and hopefully, it is to all of you.”
Over the past 10 years, she said the CRC has been supported by countless merchants, organizations, government officials and others, and she humbly thanked them all on her board’s behalf.
Kovalick closed with this thought: “There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen and there are people who wonder what happened.
“To be successful, you need to be someone who makes things happen … for all of you here and for all of those who couldn’t be … I want to thank all of you.”
She concluded by saying: “You’re the most valuable resource that this revitalization corporation has. And without you, we would not be.”
Wagner reminded guests of the CRC’s upcoming events in downtown Clearfield, which include:
- Spring is Brewing on Main Street, May 3
- Beautification Day in Downtown Clearfield, May 18
- Cruise the Past, June 7
- Bloom and Berry Bash, June 22
- Clearfield National Night Out, Aug. 6
- Clearfield Fall Festival, Pumpkin Run and Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show, Oct. 12
- Clearfield Halloween Parade, Oct. 29
- Holly Days Shop Walk, Nov. 16-17
- Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30
- Taste of the Town Spirit Tour, Dec. 6
Wagner said the CRC has coordinated local events, such as the beer and wine tours, to get people into downtown and also into the merchants.
She pointed out a new summer Cruise event, which she hopes will be a “blast from the past.” From July 1-3, Potter Baseball will be in town and a cancer walk will benefit the Clearfield County Cancer Support Group.
Wagner said that during the cancer walk fundraiser event July 3, local bands will also perform at the Clearfield Riverwalk Amphitheater.
She noted the Taste of the Town Spirit Wine Tour is particularly successful for the CRC, which sold over 400 tickets in three days last year.
Wagner said the CRC’s promotion committee is always open to new ideas and suggestions from community members. Suggestion slips were also placed at each guest’s table.
Kovalick said the five-year strategic plan is currently available for public review at the CRC office, located at 6 S. Front St., in the Clearfield Borough Administrative Office.