About Downtown North East
Downtown North East, Inc. (DNE) is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization patterned after the National Main Street Program and the PA Elm Street Program. DNE works in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, NE Borough, and NE Township, to revitalize, enhance, and promote downtown North East and to address related issues within the broader community.
There are five established committees of volunteers tackling exciting projects:
- The Organization Committee (meets 3rd Tuesday at 5:30 at Grape Arbor B&B) addresses organization management, volunteer development, funding, communication, and partnerships. It organizes major fundraising events like “Lovin’ Downtown.”
- The Design Committee (3rd Monday, 7:00 at Bella’s) addresses commercial facades, planning, and zoning, parking, image development, transportation, visual merchandising, and physical improvements. It redesigned the Information Kiosk in Gibson Park and developed the logo and banners hung throughout the downtown.
- The Promotion Committee (3rd Wednesday, 6:30 Railroad Museum) addresses retail promotions, special events, joint advertising, NE promotions, and image.
- The Economic Restructuring Committee (every other Tuesday 8:00 AM at Kerr/Piper’s home) addresses market information, business retention & recruitment, new economic uses, and financial incentives. Its key project is the development of the Welch’s Museum and Local Products Store scheduled to open in spring 2011 in the former Mercyhurst Police Academy, 17 West Main Street.
- The Safe, Clean & Green Committee (3rd Wednesday 5:00 at Boston Bean) addresses crime and safety issues, streets & alleys, community parks, gateways, and tree/flower plantings. All members of the community are invited and encouraged to participate. For more information contact us.
In the past three years, DNE had several public meetings, organized the five committees, and recruited many volunteers (more are always needed and welcome). “North East, PA: Where Vineyards View the Shore” was adopted as DNE’s tag line. Local artist, Christine French, and the Design Committee created the grape logo for banners, 30 of which are now hanging in the downtown thanks to donations from many individuals and businesses. The goal is to extend the banners even further out from the downtown. Donor names will be added in 2011. NE’s 2009 Cherry Queen, Tarryn Maas, designed the cherry banner; each year four will be hung at the main downtown intersection during the Cherry Festival.
Green and purple T-shirts with the DNE logo and tag line are available at Bella Salon and the North East Chamber. They make great gifts for anyone with any connection to North East.
Several small fundraisers were held and the second annual “Lovin’ Downtown” wine and food festival will be held again this February. Live music, food, wine, dancing, theme baskets, tip boards, game tables, and a silent auction are all being planned again. If you missed it last year, you missed a really good time.
Katie Rowan and the Promotions Committee started the Farmers Market, held Thursdays through the summer and fall in Gibson Park. The event was bigger and better this year and continues to grow.
The Safe, Clean & Green Committee is spearheading the North East in Bloom program, which you will be hearing a lot more about in the very near future. It is based on the America in Bloom program (www.americainbloom.org.) The national judges could be here in July 2011!!! Will you be ready?
The Freedom Shrine was converted to a North East events and activities kiosk, with brochures and maps of NE Borough and NE Township, as well as information and events calendars for local non-profits and schools. It is lit and bright, and will be updated as needed during the year. The North East Community Chest provided a grant for this project.
The Welch’s Museum and Local Products Store is progressing, with hopes for a spring 2011 grand opening. Welch’s, Better Baked Foods, Jonesey’s, and other local manufacturers will be featured, as well as local artists. Office space will be available on the second floor and a local restaurant will relocate to half of the first floor.
Other projects of interest include: the underpass on 89, Christmas banners, new sidewalks and curbs, joint advertising among businesses, recruitment of new businesses, more flower baskets and flowers in general, lighting in Gibson Park, a facade program, more signage on I-90, use of social media for advertising, one night/week when stores are open later, and assisting organizations with enhancing existing events.
Everyone in the community is invited to join Downtown North East, Inc. and help make North East an even greater place than it is today.