Growth Report 1: Citizens Group Makes New Wilmington Its Mission
By Aaron Tervo
EDCOM Board Member
New Wilmington, Pa. – The New Wilmington Economic Development Committee, formed in 2015, set a mission to improve the community through civic programs, projects and initiatives that add public value to those who live, work, learn and visit the borough in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.
The organization, known as EDCOM, recognized the need for infrastructure advancement to improve the borough’s appearance, a long-term strategic goal. By 2019, the group was able to accomplish several objectives that bettered the community. Most notably, EDCOM acquired a federal grant for the Fresh Marketplace and received a state grant matched by borough funds to construct the New Wilmington Amphitheater.
The group started hosting events on Fridays to attract people downtown with programs such as the wine walk, dinners on Market Street, movies in the park and the “Tour De Donut.”
When the pandemic struck in 2020, some of these events were postponed. But the break allowed EDCOM to refocus and strengthen programs.
The Tour De Donut cycling and donut tasting event allows riders to select between 10- and 41-mile routes of Amish landscape, stopping for donut breaks along the way.
The Donut Dash 5K was added in 2021. This past year’s Tour De Donut event had more than 450 participants from several states. The tour is planning on having its races again in June, with registration opening in April.
The Fresh Marketplace is managed by EDCOM. It was established by individuals who wanted to support local farmers, ranchers, musicians and artists, while simultaneously creating an event for social interaction.
The marketplace hosts about 30 vendors and 300 customers weekly. Open every Saturday from May through September, the market offers children’s craft activities and local specialties and serves freshly prepared breakfast and lunch entrees using local farm products. Musicians perform three hours each week at a concert.
In the early months of 2022, the organization decided that a revitalized downtown business district is needed to create an even more vibrant community. An initiative regarding the appearance of downtown building façades led to the formation of EDCOM’s façade improvement program.
The program is designed to provide grants to partially fund exterior improvements of privately owned buildings in the business district. This section of town is essential to the success of the entire community, serving as a hub for borough residents, Westminster College students and tourists.
EDCOM has raised more than half of the money needed to complete the first phase of the revitalization project. Preston Auto Group, Westminster College, Lawrence County commissioners, Emma May Hoyt Foundation, the borough and private donors have all contributed to fund the program.
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.