COATESVILLE (February 14) – State Senator Andy Dinnniman announced that he has partnered with the City of Coatesville and community leaders to hold a public forum to address local needs and concerns on Thursday, February 27 at 7:15 p.m. at Lincoln University’s Coatesville Campus (formerly Gordon Middle School).

Senator Dinniman meets with members of Coatesville City Council and the Coatesville Minister’s Alliance. Pictured (from left to right) Carmen Boyd; William Lambert; the Rev. Dan Williams, Pastor of New Life in Christ Fellowship; Senator Dinniman; Apostle Bobby Duncan, Pastor of Greater Deliverance Church; the Rev. Lauraine Acey, Pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church; City Manager Kirby Hudson; Council President Joseph Hamrick; Council Vice President David Collins; and the Rev. Randall Harris, Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Senator Dinniman meets with members of Coatesville City Council and the Coatesville Minister’s Alliance. Pictured (from left to right) Carmen Boyd; William Lambert; the Rev. Dan Williams, Pastor of New Life in Christ Fellowship; Senator Dinniman; Apostle Bobby Duncan, Pastor of Greater Deliverance Church; the Rev. Lauraine Acey, Pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church; City Manager Kirby Hudson; Council President Joseph Hamrick; Council Vice President David Collins; and the Rev. Randall Harris, Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Dinniman said he was compelled to help organize an event to reach out to the community regarding the upcoming plans to redevelop the Coatesville Train Station and the surrounding area after concerns were raised about the availability and accessibility of job training and employment opportunities for city residents.

“The bottom line is that redevelopment and revitalization is not just about physically rebuilding the City of Coatesville. It also has a greater purpose and that is rebuilding the community through job opportunities and economic growth,” Dinniman said. “On too many occasions in the past we have seen that goal go overlooked and underemphasized as developers come and go without addressing key community needs and concerns.”

Diniman was prompted to get involved with the issue following a recent meeting with members of the Coatesville Minister’s Alliance and members of Coatesville City Council.

In turn, the group formed an ad hoc committee to ensure that questions are addressed and to pursue the concept of a potential Community Benefits Agreement with developers.CvilePosterLarge

The Rev. Lauraine Acey, Pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church and a member of the ad hoc committee, said the goal of the Feb. 27 forum is to “alert residents of the Coatesville community and business owners, to a plan for the formation and implementation of a Community Benefits Agreement to be drafted and put into place prior to the commencement of the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown Coatesville area.”

At its most recent meeting, Dinniman and members of the ad hoc committee presented their ideas to Coatesville City Council. In turn, council unanimously passed a resolution to examine “the opportunities for community development so that citizens of the City are involved in the development projects and have opportunities to obtain employment” and to confirm its interest in “holding of a community forum to obtain further information and data as to the interests and objectives of the community with the intent of working to forge a program that benefits the community.”

Council Vice President David Collins said that revitalization needs to be a win-win for all those involved.

“A Community Benefits Agreement is not an adversarial relationship between the developers and the community but rather a partnering agreement that allows for everyone to benefit,” Collins said. “I am excited to start this process and work as an equal partner for the future of Coatesville.”

The Rev. Randall Harris, Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church and a member of the ad hoc committee, applauded efforts to get the community involved in the redevelopment process.

“The presentation was marvelous and it is up to us as citizens to help make sure we see it through and make the City better. I am 100 percent behind the proposal and will work diligently for its success,” Harris said.

Dinniman said the coming redevelopment projects provide a great opportunity to examine and address long-standing community needs and concerns.

Those concerns include but are not limited to:

  • The development of job training programs and a local hire program.
  • The inclusion of opportunities for small, locally-owned businesses and employees.
  • Standards that ensure projects are developed in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.
  • Educational opportunities such as internships or career exploration programs for Coatesville Area Senior High School students with participating engineering, architectural or development companies.
  • Designated and reasonably-priced spaces for the arts, as well as entrepreneurs or start-up companies.
  • The potential of a partnership with the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center to assist in helping homeless veterans get back into the workforce.

Dinniman also noted that the Coatesville Railroad Station is just one phase of a larger project involving the Third Street corridor and downtown area from First to Fourth streets and Fleetwood to Harmony streets.

“These are just some of the questions and concerns that we expect to address at the community forum,” Dinniman said. “This is a great opportunity for members of the community to step forward and have a direct say in the future of their city. Our hope is for local residents to work with developers to build a Coatesville that is in everyone’s interest.”

The meeting is open to the public and attendance is encouraged. It will take place in the cafeteria of the former Gordon Middle School located at 351 Kersey Street in Coatesville.

 

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