Sharon City Council Approves $800K in ARPA Funding

SHARON, Pa. – City Council on Wednesday ended a four-month cessation of distributing American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The council approved $695,000 in startup funding for the recently formed Sharon Community Development Corporation and $105,000 to renew the contract of the Downtown Development Team for an additional year.

“What we’ve learned through research, community meetings and more is that a community development corporation can help support the city’s revitalization efforts through a wide array of programs that can positively impact community and economic development,” said City Manager Bob Fiscus.

He said that historically, CDCs were developed in communities that suffered a loss of their main industry, usually industrial, which then impacted the entire business community. 

“For example, in the city of Sharon, the loss of our steel mills decades ago played a key role in the community’s downturn,” Fiscus said. “But other cities that had a similar industrial loss, such as Youngstown, Erie and Pittsburgh, successfully implemented CDCs to help with city reinvestment and new business attraction.”

Fiscus said the nonprofit Sharon Community Development Corporation was created to provide programs and services that support revitalization and community development.

“The initial plan was for the SCDC to be funded by property owners, but once pandemic funding became available, the city realized it had an opportunity to fund it instead of the downtown Sharon business district,” said Carl Sizer, vice president of Sharon City Council. “The funding will allow the SCDC to continue to enhance and grow the development of the city’s business district, among other things.”

Courtney Cilli and Sherris Moreira.

The one-year contract renewal for the Downtown Development Team, which consists of Sherris Moreira, director, and Courtney Cilli, events coordinator, will allow it to continue to focus on business attraction and retention and create and coordinate events for the Sharon business district.

“The purpose of contracting with them both was to generate revenue by bringing people and businesses into Sharon, and that’s what they’ve successfully been doing,” said Molly Bundrant, council president. “The success of the events downtown speaks for themselves, as well as the new businesses moving into town. These two have done a great job in generating interest in people and businesses coming to Sharon, whether for just a day of entertainment or more permanently.”

Fiscus said Moreira and Cilli have focused on business attraction, retention, marketing the city, communications with the public and creating a calendar of downtown events while supporting existing events, such as Waterfire and the Father’s Day Car Show.

“They both have been a great fit for the city as they helped with supporting revitalization in the Sharon business community,” Fiscus said.

“The momentum and energy we’re seeing downtown and with our events has been really encouraging, and we look forward to seeing those initiatives continue for another year,” Sizer said.

Pictured at top: Members of the Sharon Tiger Techs Robotics teams show children visiting the Frightfully Fun Fest on the Shenango in October how to make Robo Art. The Halloween event was hosted by the city of Sharon for the first time in 2022.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.