10,000 Friends Of PA To Recognize Bethlehem With 2018 Commonwealth Awards Dec. 6

On December 6, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania will recognize the winners of the 2018 Commonwealth Awards for smart growth initiatives, including the revitalization efforts of the City of Bethlehem.

The Bethlehem story sends a strong message to other Pennsylvania cities that when public/private partnerships creatively use local, state and federal incentive programs, positive change can occur.

Bethlehem has benefited from the foresight of many civic and business leaders, dating back to the historic 1959 six-month steel strike. There is a spirit of grit and resilience underlying the city's redevelopment.

Growth and revitalization are apparent throughout the City, but no more so than in the soaring glory of the SteelStacks campus. No industrial brownfield site of such magnitude has ever been repurposed and redeveloped with such results.

But perhaps no gamble was larger than the City and RDA's decision to bring gaming to downtown Bethlehem. The Sands Casino opened in 2009 - producing 2000 jobs at the height of the recession. It continues to thrive. That is an achievement we can also celebrate.

Several individuals from Bethlehem will be also be recognized--

-- Jeff Parks / ArtsQuest will receive the Joanne Denworth Founders Award for visionary institutional leadership in community revitalization. Jeff is a pioneer in leveraging the arts to drive economic and community development.

Collaborating with private and public sector partners, he helped transform the Bethlehem Steel plant into the multi-dimensional SteelStacks campus. This project reflects the impact that a non-profit institution, teamed with visionary private and public sector partners, can have on a city's future development.

-- Michael Perucci / Peron Development will receive the Louis J. Appell, Jr. Leadership Award for outstanding private sector leadership and innovative investment. Mike led the effort to acquire the Bethlehem Steel site and maximized its potential by bringing the Sands Casino to downtown Bethlehem.

Mike's dedication to his hometown, innovative entrepreneurship and commitment to enduring investment strategies epitomizes the spirit of the Appell Award.

-- John Callahan, Former Bethlehem Mayor will receive the Mark Schneider Friend of Pennsylvania Award for individual leadership. Over his ten years as Mayor, John provided the political and marketing energy that fueled his city's redevelopment.

Working with City officials and business leaders, John's administration is credited with overseeing more than $2 billion in private development investment and the creation of more than 5,000 new jobs. John's work as Mayor and since leaving office make him a most deserving honoree.

-- Tony Hanna / City of Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority will receive the Public Sector Excellence Award for governmental entities and their executives who demonstrate visionary leadership and political courage.

Tony's leadership of the RDA during the acquisition and repurposing of the Bethlehem Steel site played a central role in the City's remarkable revitalization. This award also salutes the key role the RDA played in leveraging critical tax incentive programs.

In addition to recognizing these major award recipients, 10,000 Friends' Commonwealth Awards will be awarded to leading private sector companies, and public and nonprofit institutions, whose projects and initiatives have made outstanding contributions to the City of Bethlehem.

The recipients of these project-specific awards will be announced prior to the event.

The December 6 awards event will be held at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem.  Click Here for the latest information.  Sponsorship information available.  Questions should be directed to Cassandra Romanowski at 717-234-6070 or send email to: cromanowski@10000friends.org.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania website.


WITF Smart Talk: What Happens When Smart Growth Policies Collide With Stakeholder Interests?

[Posted: Sept. 6, 2018]


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