For over ten years, leaders of the Smart Growth Partnership have assisted Penn State New Kensington and the surrounding municipalities consisting of New Kensington, Arnold, Upper Burrell, Lower Burrell, and Allegheny Township and beyond in forming a multi-municipal collaboration to envision and create an action plan of prioritized projects for this northern cluster of Westmoreland communities.
Among other projects, this early Penn State Extension’s Charting the Future of Our Community visioning created an action plan that led to construction of a State Route 366 climbing lane coming from the Freeport Bridge into the northern point of Westmoreland County. This early climbing lane project is potentially a first stage to additional north and south transportation enhancements to Delmont and a State Route 22 and State Route 66 interchange.
Other prioritized projects included adaptive reuse of the former Montgomery Ward Plaza in Lower Burrell and revitalization of New Kensington’s mixed-use downtown. Lower Burrell’s Montgomery Ward Plaza is now a U-Haul facility, and focused community engagement, visioning and action planning led to our regions’ first tactical urbanism demonstration event – NEW New Kensington – A Better Block.