Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sun Rising on Brownsville's Redevelopment Prospects

For Immediate Release

Jan. 11, 2011

"Brownsville on the move – remembering the past, but moving forward" – Mayor Lester Ward

Sun Rising on Brownsville's Redevelopment Prospects

BROWNSVILLE, Pa. – Seven students from the Brownsville Area School District's art department will lead a community initiative on behalf of the borough's mayor to showcase five historic buildings now controlled by the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority.

The students will gather at 10 a.m. Jan. 17 in the Market Street parking lot to construct a mural that will be expanded as more buildings become available for redevelopment and adaptive reuse. The students' community day is being held in conjunction with AmeriCorps Vista's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2011, a nationwide annual event promoting volunteerism as a tribute to the late Civil Rights leader.

Brownsville Borough Mayor Lester Ward initiated the multi-faceted project, which is aimed at marketing the buildings' availability to the more than 8,000 motorists who daily pass through the downtown while depicting the progress of an ongoing eminent domain case by the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority.

"What we're trying to do is bring some light to these buildings, bring light back into the town," explains the mayor, "and bring some hope."

The project's first phase will target vacant commercial properties recently acquired by the redevelopment authority – 5 Market St., 21 Market St., 18-24 Market St., 35 Market St. and 43-47 Market St. During the borough's heyday in the 1960s, commercial uses included specialty shops, a department store and a Murphy's 5&10, a now-defunct chain that embedded itself into the fabric of prosperous towns.

BASD's art students selected a sun design by senior Kendle Parsons as the focal point for a colorful mural featuring stencils of their silhouettes on the vacant storefronts. The conceptual phase included design input from AmeriCorps OSM/Vista's local volunteer Blake B. Fisher and BASD art department director Brian Nicholson.

"I've never really seen anything happening in Brownsville. I've heard it used to be busy and there were things to do. Now, there's nothing," says Parsons, who will be attending Waynesburg University in the fall. "Our project is the beginning of something new to signify Brownsville's rebirth."

In addition to Parsons, the participating BASD students are seniors Jared Gibson, Karen Ross, Gabby Vaughn and Parsons plus juniors Chad Gump, Garret Rohrer and Matt Karol.

The students' project is sanctioned by the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority, Brownsville Area School District, Brownsville Blueprint Communities Committee, Brownsville Borough, Greater Brownsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp., Brownsville Rotary Club, AmeriCorps Vista and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2011.

For additional information, schedule photos or interviews:

Andrew French, Executive Director, Fayette County Redevelopment Authority, 724-437-1547 ext. 210

Brownsville Mayor Lester Ward, 724-785-3363

Brian Nicholson, BASD art department director, 724-785-2021

No comments: