The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) is currently working with cities and towns across the state to put people first in community development and planning processes through Community Heart & Soul®. The program’s innovative approach uses the tools of the humanities to creatively engage residents in planning and decision-making processes as a way to strengthen a town’s social, cultural and economic vibrancy.
A group of Williamsport residents launched a Community Heart & Soul project called Heart of Williamsport in early 2016.
Read Heart of Williamsport's 2017 year end report here.
The Williamsport Community
Williamsport, located in northcentral Pennsylvania, has a population of just under 30,000 people. This city that is home to Penn College of Technology and Lycoming College offers cultural opportunities and a rich history against a scenic, rural backdrop. Residents and visitors to Williamsport enjoy an amazing view of the mountains and their reflection in the West Branch Susquehanna River.
The city of Williamsport is in the process of becoming a younger, more active and arts-based community. The downtown district has recently been revamped, and the city’s culture is coming to life through live performances, galleries and displays of public art. The colleges and businesses in Williamsport are contributing to the economy, and as revitalization continues, the residents and community leaders are ready to spread this positive change to surrounding neighborhoods.
Despite the progress that downtown Williamsport is making, the surrounding neighborhoods face economic disparity and social challenges. One major aim of this project is to identify common values and build bridges among diverse groups.
- Establish a team of diverse individuals committed to effecting positive change in their community.
- Engage the next generation of movers and shakers, including students/youth and young professionals from diverse cultures within the city.
- Build bridges in the Williamsport community by bringing together diverse groups of people and encouraging them to identify shared values.
- Engage people in storytelling as a way to explore what the core community values of Williamsport are, and to develop value statements and goals to support them.
- Build capacity at the local level, laying the groundwork for implementation of the Lycoming County Comprehensive Plan that is currently being updated.
- Susquehanna Greenway Partnership
- Lycoming County Celebrates the Arts Alliance
- Our Towns
- Short Mountain Group
- Hands on Heritage
- Lycoming County
- City of Williamsport
- Lycoming College
- Penn Strategies
- PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Additional project information is available from Heart of Williamsport web site.
- Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Communities
- Community Heart & Soul (Orton Family Foundation)
- PHC partners with PCA to co-sponsor arts and culture projects in four Pennsylvania communities
- Community Network Analysis Sparks Dialogue and Action
- From Stories to Community Action
- Uncommon strategic partnership advances applied humanities work in PA
- Places We Love in Williamsport, PA [Video]
- Williamsport is Entirely Connected