Sharon Unveils Expectations for 2024
SHARON, Pa. – The city of Sharon, Pa. has earmarked most of the approximately $14 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds it received in 2021, using much of that money to assist city businesses and the downtown area.
“This funding has given us the ability to strengthen our current business community while attracting additional ones that will help the city of Sharon become a destination for visitors and potential homeowners,” City Manager Bob Fiscus says. “We have been working hard to get it right and believe we’re already seeing some of these changes come to fruition.”
The city plans to build on one of the biggest changes last year, the development of a downtown riverfront green space which was created with the demolition of the former Huntington Bank Building.
Several ARPA-funded restaurants and retail which opened in 2023 are now finding their stride in 2024.
Julian’s Bar & Grill in Meadville opened a second restaurant in Sharon last summer. The Block by Nova Destinations opened five restaurant concepts in its space in 2023. Elephant #8 Thai Taste of Slippery Rock opened its second location on North Sharpsville Avenue last fall.
Sharon Community Development Corp., a nonprofit to help find funding for city initiatives and support downtown revitalization, received $695,000 in ARPA funds that will be used for staff and to implement revitalization initiatives and strategies.
Other development initiatives include Shenango Launchbox, designed to assist startup companies in Sharon and countywide, and Sharon Economic Development Grant Fund, created for businesses and entrepreneurs collaboratively by the city, Penn State University Shenango Campus and the Community Foundation of Western PA & Eastern OH.
“We look forward to these kinds of initiatives and programs expanding our Sharon business community as well as support the businesses we already have in their growth and expansions,” Fiscus says.
Other large-scale business expansions include Diehl Hyundai of Sharon and WestWinn Urban Ag, an aquaponics program inside The Landing, which share an environmentally friendly focus.
The $8 million building being built at 1300 E. State St., which will include an expanded indoor service reception and vehicle delivery areas, should be completed in the spring, Matt Diehl, vice president of Diehl Automotive, says.
“We are also installing a large enough solar energy system that we believe will supply the entire dealership’s electrical requirements,” he continues. “It will allow us to better serve our team members, our customers and the environment.”
WestWinn Urban Ag’s plans for this year include expansion of the urban farm to include new produce, educational offerings and increasing its footprint.
“We’re excited to offer our customers a new source of healthy, sustainable food grown right here in Sharon, Pa.,” aquaponics manager Rob Studor says.
Jen Krezeczowski and her husband, Jim Landino, who JCL Development, have several big projects in the works, she reports.
“Redevelopment takes a long time and we, as a city, have come so far so fast it’s astounding to me,” she says.
“We see this development supporting our current residents with more jobs and more places to shop, attracting more visitors with more things to do and attracting more people to relocate here,” Molly Bundrant, president of Sharon City Council, says.
“Just the word of changes alone has greatly increased the number of calls we are getting from interested developers, business owners and entrepreneurs,” Fiscus says.
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.