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Greensburg to develop master revitalization plan for vacant downtown buildings

GREENSBURG, Pa. — A vacant lot on Pennsylvania Avenue may not be empty much longer. Greensburg City Council is backing a proposal to turn the area into an amphitheater. It’s one of several vacant properties the city is looking to revitalize.

Pamela Cooper is an artist, and has her studio, Studio One Creations, in the Westmoreland Cultural Trust building on Main Street.

She’s lived in the city her whole life. Between that and having her studio downtown, she spends a lot of time in Greensburg. Recently, she said it’s been on the upswing.

“It’s starting to grow, and I see it growing even more,” Cooper said. “I would love to see some of these buildings occupied by artists, by little galleries. I mean, I can see it happening.”

The city can see it happening too, at least in some fashion.

There are seven vacant properties, mostly on South Main Street and along Pennsylvania Avenue that the city wants to revitalize.

John Stafford is the Executive Director of Think Greensburg.

“We just wanted to redirect it straight to the core, take a powerful stance on it, and say, ‘What can we do different?’” Stafford told Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek. “We don’t want to see these empty buildings on Main Street.”

Think Greensburg, the Community Development Corporation, is teaming up with city officials and others to make a master plan to revitalize the business district.

That plan includes having a team of real estate experts study the seven properties and give recommendations. But the work doesn’t stop there.

The city wants everyone to weigh in.

They’re setting up a steering committee and hope to review proposals and have a master plan by the end of the year.

“From the very start of this, we had said we don’t want to just say, ‘well, what business should go into this empty spot?’ we want to say, ‘Well what is something that no other city is doing in this entire country and can we do it,’” Stafford said.

Cooper is optimistic.

“I mean, there’s ideas,” Cooper said. “We just need the funding to do it, you know?”

The team of real estate experts from across the country is expected to spend an entire week in Greensburg in July.

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