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The Lancaster City Alliance 2017-2018 Impact Report

Message from Our Board Chair and President

IT WAS A YEAR OF MANY ACCOLADES for the City. Forbes Coolest City to Visit, Kiplinger’s Great Place to Retire, Newsweek’s Best Places to Live, and a nod from the New York Times on the City’s unique ability to work together. Validation from the national media is a lot of fun, but the past year has indeed been full of real impacts. The following report demonstrates the work of the Lancaster City Alliance; however it is not our work alone. It is our responsibility to engage the community and work side by side with residents, businesses, local communities, education, non-profits, and government to ensure Lancaster is a clean, safe, and vibrant City for all. There is still much to be done, but we hope you will agree that our work in the past year has had a significant impact.
We thank you for your support of the Lancaster City Alliance, and in turn our partners, whose collaboration and expertise helps us realize success for the entire City and beyond.
To learn more, review the 2017-2018 Impact Report, discuss it, and share it with others.
–   Peter Barber, Board Chair
–   Marshall Snively, President

Downtown Dollars Make Great Holiday Gifts!

The Lancaster City Alliance want to make your shopping and gift giving easier.  Downtown Dollars are gift certificates available in $5 and $10 increments and are accepted at over 100 Lancaster City merchants, including Central Market, galleries, restaurants and shops.

You can purchase Downtown Dollars in two locations.

  1. Downtown Dollars can be purchased online or picked up at the Lancaster Visitors Center at 38 Penn Square.
  2. Or call the Lancaster City Alliance at 717.394.0783 to make your purchase. The Lancaster City Alliance accepts cash or check.

Please click here for a list of participating merchants.

Merchants interested in participating in the program should contact the Lancaster City Alliance at info@teamlanc.org.

Shop Late In Lancaster City!

Come ‘Shop Late’ in Lancaster City on Thursday, December 13!
Whether it’s last minute holiday shopping or a much-needed night on the town,
Lancaster Shops Late is the perfect excuse to explore what Lancaster City has to offer! Home to over 200 eclectic, local shops, businesses, and restaurants, Lancaster City has something special for everyone on your list! Nearly 50 merchants will stay open late (9 pm or later) to encourage shoppers to do their holiday shopping in Lancaster City. There will be roaming entertainment, warm treats, and plenty of holiday cheer! Come #shopsmall and #dinelocal in Lancaster City!

Please note street parking is free after 6 pm as meters are no longer enforced.
This event is in partnership with the Downtown Investment District, Visit Lancaster City
and LSJ Studios.
*If your business/gallery/restaurant, etc. would like to participate,
please email Wyatt Behringer

Neighborhood Connector: Vincent Derek Smith

The diverse neighborhoods of the City of Lancaster are unifying and organizing to improve the quality of life for their communities. They are forming committees, hosting block parties, cleaning up streets, planning public art initiatives, and communicating with neighbors to work together towards common goals. Each of these neighborhood groups have individuals who serve as connectors in their communities. Lancaster City Alliance is proud to shine a spotlight on them here.

Name: Vincent Derek Smith
Neighborhood Group: Crispus Attucks Community Center

Your work as one of the leaders in your Neighborhood Group is important because:

I serve as liaison between the people and families of Southeast to connect them with community resources. I also  work with youth to help them identify and navigate barriers that may be holding them back to taking the next step in life.

As a neighborhood committee member, I discuss the needs of our community. This past holiday season, residents of Southeast Lancaster came together to celebrate their city, their neighborhoods, and their community. With the help of Crispus Attucks Community Center and the Community Action Partnership, Southeast Lancaster hosted the first annual Light Up Southeast. This event featured a large SOUTHEAST sign covered in lights, and a Southeast-wide house decorating contest, all culminating in the first-annual Southeast tree lighting ceremony that took place Saturday, December 16 at 6:00pm in the MLK plaza on the corner of Duke and North.

We have held community meetings at Crispus Attucks Community Center and had residents attend and discuss their concerns. I want residents to feel welcome at our meetings and talk about their concerns. I will continue to advocate for them, but my goal is to have more resident participation in all of the committees.

Challenges that you are facing in your neighborhood right now:

Redevelopment:  The neighborhood understands that change is coming but they fear that change will happen without the input of the community it will affect.

Trust: The Southeast was a place where neighbors chatted over porch railings, sang in church choirs and patronized each other’s businesses, including corner groceries, barber shops, pharmacies, a dentist, a general practitioner, a soda fountain and Haddie’s sub shop.

Neighborhood pride was never greater than when bands and drill teams strutted down South Duke Street during the Conestoga Elks parade. Hundreds lined the sidewalks, many in their Sunday best.

It was a hard-working community that wanted better jobs and greater opportunity. Instead it got change it hadn’t sought: Demolition crews in the 1960s razed whole blocks of the Southeast — places where people with a range of incomes lived — to make way for public housing for thousands of Lancaster’s poorest residents.

The government called the initiatives of the 1960s “urban renewal.” But the Southeast experienced nothing of the sort. Instead, poverty only deepened, and neighborhood cohesiveness collapsed. The impact reverberates today.

“I felt like we lost a community,” said Betty Hurdle, 74, of Lampeter, who grew up in a Locust Street row home knocked down during urban renewal. “I feel like we were just erased.”

What are some of the rewards from being a neighborhood connector in your Group:

  • We have successfully held a Peace on The Street Block party for the past 4 years which is an event to provide the community with resources to prevent violence and increase peace. We team up with amazing organizations and dedicated community activists for our Peace on the Streets Block Party and to help make our local neighborhoods safer.
  • Halloween in the City: Halloween in the City is a fun, family event featuring bounce house , special entertainment, tasty treats, and the Trick-or-Treat Games: a safe, interactive trick-or-treating experience!
  • Coordinating food and holiday toy giveaway to resident across not just the Southeast but the county.

Can you give a specific example of how your neighborhood has worked together?

Our neighbors are engaging in many community events that we do, from helping run games at the block party, passing out food at a community event.

What is your secret to meeting new neighbors and welcoming them into the community?

The secret to meeting new neighbors is talking to them at the corner store, while they sit on the porch or even when they are dropping off and picking up their kids from school.

Favorite way to spend a day with family, or friends in Lancaster City:

 I enjoy visiting the special event and activities that are going on in the neighborhoods and downtown, the atmosphere at each event is dynamitic to the neighborhood it is in.

#GiveEXTRA during the Extraordinary Give on November 16!

Did you know that Lancaster City Alliance is a non-profit organization? We are funded by the community we serve. Donations primarily go toward public safety, community development, and economic development initiatives for the City ensuring Lancaster is a clean, safe, and vibrant City for all.
We hope that you will consider supporting the mission of the Lancaster City Alliance during the #ExtraordinaryGive on Friday, November 16 at http://bit.ly/ExtraGiveLCA

Neighborhood Connector: Allyson Wells

The diverse neighborhoods of the City of Lancaster are unifying and organizing to improve the quality of life for their communities. They are forming committees, hosting block parties, cleaning up streets, planning public art initiatives, and communicating with neighbors to work together towards common goals. Each of these neighborhood groups have individuals who serve as connectors in their communities. Lancaster City Alliance is proud to shine a spotlight on them here.

Name: Allyson Wells
Neighborhood Group: Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity

Your work as one of the leaders in your Neighborhood Group is important because:

Everyone deserves to have a safe, warm, dry—and most importantly—affordable place to call home. Affordable, stable housing impacts so many crucial factors of life: health, education, economic stability, safety, and self-reliance. I am so grateful to help my community members achieve this otherwise daunting goal of homeownership. In addition to our Homeownership Program, I am also excited to help keep homeowners in their homes through our new Home Repair Program and energize the community through our Neighborhood Revitalization efforts.

Challenges that you are facing in your neighborhood right now:

Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity is incredibly grateful to be geographically located within the SoWe neighborhood and I’ve been honored to work arm-in-arm with our fellow organizations in the SoWe Collaborative. Being a Collaborative member has allowed us to expand our Neighborhood Revitalization program; we can now take our Habitat tools and work side-by-side our neighbors (some of which are Habitat homeowners!) to improve the entire neighborhood. A big challenge I see is ensuring that this neighborhood improvement is both equitable and sustained for generations to come.

What are some of the rewards from being a neighborhood connector in your Group:

Every day I am so lucky to feel the rewards of our team’s work—these rewards range from having a nice conversation with a community member while out canvassing, to as monumental as accepting a new family into our Homeownership program.

Can you give a specific example of how your neighborhood has worked together?

Our most recent example was the kickoff celebration to our Neighborhood Revitalization efforts: ROCK THE BLOCK!  This event brought together approximately 120 volunteers (many of whom came from the SoWe neighborhood!), 12 repair project homeowners, 6 partner organizations, and a community-wide effort to beautify the neighborhood. While unfortunately the rain kept us from completing the repairs that day (sadly paint and rain don’t mix well), everyone was still incredibly enthusiastic to roll up their sleeves for street cleanup. With our community’s help, we were able to pick up over 80 bags of street trash from SoWe! It was really powerful to facilitate an opportunity to have neighbors helping neighbors.

What is your secret to meeting new neighbors and welcoming them into the community?

Upon entering Lancaster’s nonprofit community, both professionally and personally, I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded with such kind and caring individuals; they never hesitated to make an introduction on my behalf and were always quick to share a warm word of welcome. I strive every day to keep passing on that sentiment and gratitude to my fellow community members!

Favorite way to spend a day with family, or friends in Lancaster City:

While free time is sparse in our double nonprofit household, I love walking around Lancaster City with my husband and our sweet little beagle, Newt. And naturally it goes without saying—THE FOOD!

Neighborhood Connector: Loretta Pagan-Crespo

The diverse neighborhoods of the City of Lancaster are unifying and organizing to improve the quality of life for their communities. They are forming committees, hosting block parties, cleaning up streets, planning public art initiatives, and communicating with neighbors to work together towards common goals. Each of these neighborhood groups have individuals who serve as connectors in their communities. Lancaster City Alliance is proud to shine a spotlight on them here.

Name: Loretta Pagan-Crespo
Neighborhood Group: Community Connector and SoWe

Your work as one of the leaders in your Neighborhood Group is important because:

I serve as liaison between the people and families of SoWe to connect them with community resources. I work with residents to identify and navigate barriers that may be holding them back to taking the next step in life whether that is employment, education, or access to transportation. As a neighborhood committee member, I discuss the needs of our community. During the first phase of the South West Revitalization implementation, I conducted surveys in the SoWe area and I was able to bring back neighborhood concerns to the committee. I brought those concerns back to the committee and we began discussions on how to address these issues. We held community meetings at Culliton Park and had residents attend and discuss their concerns. I want residents to feel welcome at our meetings and talk about their concerns. I will continue to advocate for them but my goal is to have more resident participation in all of the committees.

Challenges that you are facing in your neighborhood right now:

They don’t trust that change will come. They don’t feel their voices are going to be heard and some residents don’t feel comfortable talking in a committee meeting setting. Challenges in our neighborhood include:
Safety- Residents complain about drug dealers and drug users in their neighborhoods and the increase in crime. Some residents live in unsafe and rundown apartments and houses, but it is all they can afford. They do not have the resources to move to a better area. The Lancaster City Police has made a user friendly brochure for Lancaster City residents. There are many ways to contact them.
Transportation- many residents do not have reliable transportation and are unable to apply for higher pay rate jobs. Some residents have criminal records and can’t drive because their license has been suspended. Some people can’t afford car insurance, premiums are too high or their cars need repairs.
Employment– Education, language, work shifts/hours, child care and distance to job site is a barrier for some residents. We have had an influx of immigrants and people affected by hurricanes and oppression in other countries. Many of these people need better training on living in America. They receive a certain level of help but then are left to fend for themselves in a country they know nothing of.
Access to Resources– Some of my residents have used the system over and over again.  So, then they are living without water or heat or light. Some do not comply with the requirements to receive services and others have used the system and have burned their bridges. They are unable to get help with child care, food stamps, nutritional meals, housing, minimum wage jobs and criminal records.

What are some of the rewards from being a neighborhood connector in your Group:

○ We have had success putting together block parties and engaging residents of the community.
○ Watching kids play on the basketball court knowing we are going to improve the appearance of Culliton Park. Hosting Easter Egg Hunt and giving out hot chocolate and candy on Halloween night.
○ I was able to help out a young man who is trying to further his education so he can care for his young daughter. He had just kept running into road block after road block. But, he kept pushing forward and with my help and many around him, he was able to jump a hurdle.
○ A family fled to the United States on a political asylum from Cuba to come to a place where they didn’t understand the way of life here. They had to learn how to use our currency. They are learning to navigate in a new city. They are learning a new language but most of all, they are learning to live in a different world of their own. They came to me by chance. I was hosting an event with the Boys & Girls Club and I was able to connect with this family and give them some of resources that will help them adjust to a new life.

Can you give a specific example of how your neighborhood has worked together?

This past August we hosted a National Night Out event. The neighborhood committee and other community residents helped plan and organize a night where residents could come outside and get to know each other. There were so many families with their kids participating in the different activities. Residents brought food (sort of a pot- luck) in addition to our hotdogs and refreshments.  We gave out over 180 back packs filled with school supplies to kids in the neighborhood (Courtesy of the Riverside Camping Association). We had other community organizations participate and share their information with families. There was such a great BUZZ that night. The Mayor and other local officials came to support the community and the neighborhood welcomed them with open arms.

What is your secret to meeting new neighbors and welcoming them into the community?

Taking the time to knock on doors and have face to face contact. I meet many of our residents in the area at the Boys & Girls Club on Water St.  Some days I will meet and greet the parents and kids when they are arriving and leaving the club. I would start conversations and tell parents my role in the community and it sparks a conversation. We have our neighborhood, “Welcome Wagon”, which does a fantastic job welcoming new neighbors.

Favorite way to spend a day with family, or friends in Lancaster City:

I love to go to downtown Market. I like walking around at market and checking out all the different vendors. I like to see the variety of people who come to market. I enjoy watching softball games at Water St. Field/Culliton Park.

 

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