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Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Profile: Meadville

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council is currently working with cities and towns across the state—including Meadville—to incorporate elements of the humanities into community planning processes. Through a partnership between PHC and the Orton Family Foundation, participating communities are using Orton's Community Heart & Soul® method as a framework.

The Meadville Community

Founded in 1788 in picturesque, rural northwestern Pennsylvania, the City of Meadville has been ranked one of the top five places to start a small business by the blog Talent Tribune and the third best commuter city in the state by Obrella.com

Meadville’s 13,000 residents enjoy amenities including a beautiful recreation complex featuring an enclosed competition ice rink and year-round swimming; a growing number of community gardens; a historic structure said to be Pennsylvania’s oldest continuously-operating enclosed market house; and a cast-iron fountain in the city park in the center of town believed to be the second-oldest in the United States. Since its founding in 1815, Allegheny College has grown to rank among the finest colleges in the nation and currently has an enrollment of more than 2,000.

Serving as the Crawford County seat, Meadville has a proud history of both dreaming beyond its size and bouncing back from economic setbacks. Many city residents work in the area, with 87% of those employed outside the home working in Crawford County and more than 61% of working residents traveling fewer than 15 minutes to work. With the city government facing a multitude of budget-related challenges and citizens sometimes failing to thoroughly understand the workings of municipal governance, this project aims to raise the level of civic engagement among residents and increase their participation in local decision making.

Long Term Goals

  • Boost community pride and involvement.
  • Ease long-standing social, racial and economic divisions.
  • Help community members discover a deeper connection to the city.
  • Provide planning and marketing tools to support economic development.

 

Project Goals

  • Distill and publish a short list of essential community values.
  • Establish new lines of communication and connection among those who live, work and play in Meadville.
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