Starting in 2007, Derry Borough’s new, visionary mayor and council had the foresight to engage their community stakeholders and stakeholders from surrounding communities in visioning for their north central region of Westmoreland County. An early project was a design charrette and plan focused on a five-acre underutilized railroad parcel in the center of town.
In 2010, with Penn State Extension and Smart Growth guidance, DARCee created a Vision Plan for the next decade. 10 years later … new community leaders still access and implement the plan by educating themselves with Extension programs and implementing the lessons learned.
A quote from the current Derry Business Committee exemplifies:
“I am going to take all the farmers market and food for profit classes. The goal is for utilizing food grown in Derry Township (possibly New Alex as well) and connecting it to a market in the borough where there is more traffic. I have started a social media news page called Derry Whistle Stop: News and Happenings on Facebook and have highlighted two local farmers that sell beef to the public.
This is to help the residents become more familiar and have more access to local farmers, as well as connecting the farmers to buyers.”
– Brenda Nicely, Derry Business Committee.
In this micro-Westmoreland region, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Keystone State Park also engaged with the Smart Growth Partnership and DARCee to create a vision plan for the Chestnut Ridge sub-landscape, part of the Laurel Highlands Landscape. This led to a $250,000 Derry Borough Community Dog Park from a DCNR grant, and a connecting trail that is currently being built between Keystone State Park and the New Alexandria kayak launch.