Core Community Projects
Professional Planning and Business Development
Our organization works closely with our most important stakeholders - Latrobe's residents and business owners. We also work with the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and other related organizations in our region and state. We are currently implementing our Comprehensive Plan, our Streetscape Plan, and our Three Year Project Plan each of which have been developed with senior level planning professionals along with comprehensive community input and visioning sessions from the community at large.
Central to our efforts is bringing new life into Latrobe by capitalizing on our community assets, increasing foot traffic and bringing new businesses into downtown. Although not comprehensive, below is a snapshot of a few of our current undertakings!
As the community development arm of the City of Latrobe we leverage our connections through the immediate area, county and state. We work hard to ensure all visual based improvements and larger scale projects in Latrobe are sustainable for years to come and when possible, have a historic preservation based ethic. An example is the image to the right which was created by our design team for the new 981 bridge into downtown. This multi-million dollar project now have historic decorative lights, a widened multi modal surface and an attractive TX-C412 barrier. We are grateful to have worked with the city government and PENN DOT to stop the trend of jersey barriers and highway lighting from being used on bridges in such a critically important urban setting.
Business Incubator and Consulting
We offer free consultation for current and start up businesses through our team of consultants. We have assisted numerous businesses prior to opening their business and have also helped retain jobs by assisting newly opened businesses. Product consulting, web design, business plans, and strategic marketing, e commerce and retail integration are areas which we focus our expertise on to help you grow what you do best. Contact our office anytime, we are here to help or visit our incubator page.
Decorative cast iron LED lamp posts
We have worked for a number of years to upgrade our highway style lights to proper historic style, cast iron LED decorative light posts. Through support from a very generous local foundation, and partnering with the City of Latrobe we have been pleased with the results of this $345,000 project. During this project we also were able to bring attention to safety issues which were corrected. This critically important project has brought Latrobe into the future while properly preserving the fabric of our history for decades to come.
Building Renovation and Preservation
Our design team led by Histroic Interpreter and Architect Steve Patricia, M.A and Art Director, George Fetkovich help provide the direction for our core building renovations and restorations. This committee also has other contractors, architects, and city officials dedicated to preserving and enhancing our downtown infrastructure. For more examples of a few of these many projects, please visit our Facade Page.
Blight remediation and Intentional Place making
Allowing blighted structures that cannot be saved to stand devalue all adjacent businesses in a 600 foot radious by approximately $6,000 each. The former Grub and Pub Lot which burnt to the ground is a recent example of a blighted structure that was threatened the downtown business district. Through the help of many, grants have been secured to turn this lot into an open parklet highlighing our towns proud heritage. Aggregate and stained concrete, a kisok, seating, solar lighting and landscape will soon give the many new businesses and patrons a gathering space open for all to use.
WCCC's NEW LATROBE COLLEGE CAMPUS
Many years ago our organization and board of directors took the initiative to bring the leadership of Westmoreland County Community College to the table to propose an aligned vision for a new campus in downtown Latrobe. After many early morning meetings assisting in the site and land aquisitions - demolition and construction would soon begin. In the summer of 2015 this beautiful, state or the art campus was completed and WCCC was proudly welcomed to our neighborhood along with hundreds of students!
Over the past several years we have drastically improved the look and feel of downtown with top-of-the-line street furniture. From benches, bike racks, to planters, trash cans and banners (new designs coming in 2016!). As part of our overall Street Scape master plan we haved teamed up with Keystone Ridge Design out of Erie Pa and Special Lite Company, here in Latrobe/Derry area to provide a new look and function to our town that will last a lifetime. The Mr. Rogers theme will continue to permeate much of our designs in the coming year. If you are interested in sponsoring some furniture, please see our Streetscape page today!
Saint Vincent College to Latrobe Trail
In the end of 2014 a NEW Saint Vincent to Latrobe Trail Council was formed which is being led by Linda Boxx, President along with many other leaders from around the area. A groundbreaking occured on April 1, 2015 on the area near Devereux Drive near Unity Run stream as Robindale Energy generously donated the heavy equipment to clear over 1,000 feet of land! With a feasibility study and base mapping all complete and easements being secured, please check back for regular updates on what will become a two mile long trail at ten feet wide that will one day connect downtown Latrobe to the Saint Vincent College campus.
Creative place-making addresses areas that are delapitated or offer minimal to no use and makes them into more viable, functional and accessable areas for the public. These projects tend to offer temporary or permanent solutions to such troubled areas. We have invested over $21,000 for our Post Office project on Jefferson Street through mutliple sources including the Westmoreland Realtors Association. After removing shrubs that were overgrown to the point of taking over nearly half of the sidewalk we will implement a nice, permanent design adjacent to Rogers Park that will see even heavier foot traffic upon the opening of WCCC. We will be updating the progress of this project in the spring, please check back soon.
Many years ago hundreds of street trees were improperly planted into the sidewalks. As they died, tripping hazards were left throughout downtown. To address this we have begun making sidewalk corrections and modifications. Led by our lead horticultural specialist, Jim Walter in partnership with the Mini Garden Group we continue to plant columnar, salt resistant street trees throughout Latrobe while providing ongoing maintenance and watering. In a downtown dominated by concrete and asphalt, street trees play a critical role in decreasing traffic speeds, increasing property values and providing overall beauty that leads to a desire to visit downtown for both services and shopping.
2020 Community Vegetable Gardens
We initiated the Latrobe Community Vegetable Gardens in partnership with the Latrobe Mini Garden Team that is responsible for planting thousands of flowers annually. Our goal is to give our residents, who may not have enough space for a garden at home, the opportunity to plant a vegetable garden of their own by providing well maintained, quality garden plots for them. For more information, please see the 2020 letter and application or please call (724) 805 – 0112 or e-mail email@example.com.
Lincoln Avenue Rails to Trails Greenway
The Latrobe Foundation completed a comprehensive study and assessment of the rail bed running from State Route 981 in the north to State Route 982 which had been acquired by the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation. The conclusion of the study, paved the way for the rails to be removed and recycled. After this was completed, community planning students from IUP completed a year-long project to transform Lincoln Avenue into a "Complete Street." These concepts include a vision to slow traffic, install bike lanes, install a trail and develop a one of a kind sustainable greenway with rain gardens and strategically planted trees. In the fall of 2013, an aggressive tree planting took place behind the Carpenter Technologies-Latrobe Specialty Metals plant. In 2014, the City of Latrobe was awarded a $250,000 matching implementation grant in partnership with the LCRP and Latrobe Unity Parks & Recreation to construct the proposed walking/biking trail. Today the trail is complete and is heavily used and enjoyed by so many in the community! The whole story is here: http://keystonefund.org/success-story/uniting-a-divided-town/
The Lloyd Avenue Gateway Improvement Project
Over the past 12 years, 4.6 million has been invested in dramatically improving this corridor (State Route 981) which sees over 17,000 vehicles a day. Once known for blight and overhead wires, this entrance point into the City has greatly improved with the removal of deteriorating properties and the construction of new homes. Many of the utility poles have been removed and have been replaced with single post decorative lighting. The current phase of this project has given Latrobe national press with the installation of stamped and dyed pervious concrete (which rain water passes through) and the careful planting of salt resistant, columnar trees. As tree guards will be added in the spring, further removal of the difficult to maintain grass strip is also planned along with the completion of more decorative lighting and the removal of the final poles. Increased home values, cleaner air, a new business and overall beautification are the results to date, with the help of many partner organizations.
Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program
The EITC Program enhances learning through innovative partnerships and collaborative learning models by allowing businesses to redirect thier state taxes to help fund them. To date we have successfully created an outdoor learning park for children, taught high schoool studnets the value of learning hands on work in the community through the Quatrini-Rafferty Law Firms generous participation. Most recently we partnered with highly talented start up business in Latrobe - Write Local to create an enhanced pedagogy for kindergarden students and provided an indoor garden bed to learn multiple facets of envirnomentalism while growing real produce. Special
Latrobe Serves matches young, middle age and even those of much older age who love Latrobe with projects of their choosing. The image to the right shows needed maintenence of one of our many creative place-making projects (This hour long project was so easy and fun two young children made a lasting impact!) While most of our service and beautificaiton projects occur over spring, summer, and fall there are also a few opportunites over the winter months as well. Please consider filling out the below form to be added to our growing list of volunteers and you will be contacted by our organization. We need your help to make Latrobe the safest, most walkable, bikable, sustainable and family-oreinted small town in PA!
Sign up to join our growing list of volunteers and get involved when your schedule allows!