by Jonathan Weaver
About 30 local residents part of nonprofit organizations in or assisting Ford City Borough residents were welcomed to share their ideas with Council members last night.
Led by Economic Development Committee members Jerry Miklos and Vicki Schaub – as well as alternate member Beth Bowser -, nonprofit representatives from groups such as the Ford City Public Library, Ford City VFW Post 4843 and Ford City Renaissance Community Partnership met at the Latin American Club at 6:30PM.
Miklos – who is also Council Vice-President – explained the idea.
“A few months ago, we asked the business community to come together, and we had an event where we brainstormed ideas to promote Ford City Borough – to help the businesses, to entice good people to move into Ford City,” Miklos said. “Our idea at this point is to do the same with nonprofit organizations – we want to see how we can help them in their endeavors and how they might be able to help us promote Ford City Borough.
“We’re all in it together.”
During the March meeting, business leaders – from Chambers Jewelers to Klingensmith’s Drug Store, to 10th Street Station and BelleFlex Technologies – met with Economic Committee members to hear ideas, such as new signage along Eljer Way and the already-implemented Farmers Market each Thursday evening on 3rd Avenue.
Monday evening’s discussion started with Miklos’ idea for a giant flea market – similar to those in Hazen (Brookville) or Butler – on the brownfields property until it is developed.
Local Resident Bill Oleksak, however, felt it would be hard to establish a flea market with consistent vendors.
Shade Tree Committee Member Stacy Klukan suggested further establishing the Farmers Market.
Schaub said nonprofits can also come to and participate in the Farmers Market, such as with a dinner or raffle if they have a Small Games of Chance license.
“You don’t have to just sell tomatoes or fruits or vegetables (but) this might be a way for you to do a fundraiser and get your members or volunteers involved,” Schaub said.
Those participating Monday night further suggested possibly trying to get food trucks to regularly attend the Farmers Market.
“Food always attracts people,” Miklos said. “We have so many opportunities here in Ford City to provide different kinds of food – it could be a Heritage Day or SummerFest every Thursday in the summer.”
Another resident suggested fixing up spots of the Armstrong Trail to entice more bicyclists and walkers during the summer months.
Other invited groups including the Lions Club and fire department, just to name a few. He said more ideas are welcome from all groups.
“A lot of these organizations help Ford City in many different ways and they help the people of Ford City on a consistent basis – they’re a vital part of the community,” Miklos said.
Bowser volunteered with the now-defunct S.P.A.R.C (Social Progress for Armstrong’s Retarded Citizens) – which for more than 25 years helped individuals with disabilities through support of the ARC of Armstrong County and the Progressive Workshop of Armstrong County.
The nonprofit leaders discussed ideas while munching on cookies made by Schaub and her grandson.