City of Easton’s South Side Neighborhood Selected to Participate in Regional Community Revitalization Initiative

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EASTON, PA – March 28, 2024 — Ten Pennsylvania communities, including the City of Easton’s South Side neighborhood, were officially selected to participate in Blueprint Communities®, a place-based revitalization initiative created by FHLBank Pittsburgh (FHLBank) and administered by Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC). The initiative provides training and resources to help local leaders create sustainable and thriving communities.

Local leaders across Eastern Pennsylvania have formed teams to engage in an 18-month training, planning and implementation process facilitated by PDC. The City of Easton’s team is comprised of a representative from FHLBank member institution, Fidelity Bank; City of Easton government; and organizational leaders and volunteers from the following organizations: Shiloh Church’s Greater Community Development Corporation, the Redevelopment Authority (RDA) of the City of Easton, the Housing Authority of the City of Easton (HACE), Easton Area Neighborhood Center, Greater Easton Development Partnership (GEDP), and the South Side Civic Association (SSCA). Community teams in this program will create a strategy for comprehensive revitalization that focuses on enhancing the quality of life for residents by building up community assets, engaging residents, improving local housing and attracting new businesses and jobs.

“Pennsylvania Downtown Center is excited to lead the Blueprint Communities teams through their journey of community revitalization in the next few years.” said Julie Fitzpatrick, Executive Director at PDC. “For so many of these towns and cities, the timing of this initiative is ideal, and will be a catalyst to move their community forward. Long-term transformational change takes committed local leaders like these with a desire to make lasting decisions that impact the community for generations into the future.”

FHLBank’s Blueprint Communities initiative supports communities across Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia to:

  • Establish a clear vision and holistic community plan,
  • Grow local leaders and enhance collaboration, and
  • Attract public and private investments to achieve the community’s vision and goals.

The South Side neighborhood in the City of Easton is prepared for targeted technical assistance and expertise that, among other objectives, will aid in expanding its business corridor, revitalizing and redeveloping public spaces, and capitalizing on current capacity-building efforts, particularly in the areas of development and affordable housing. The cohort assembled is excited to undertake this opportunity, and residents are ready to give the time and effort, and contribute their voices, toward enhancing the neighborhood.

Following the announcement of the Blueprint Communities designation, Mayor Salvatore J. Panto Jr. shared the following: “As both Mayor and a resident of the South Side, I am extremely grateful to the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and FHLBank of Pittsburgh for recognizing, through this 10-year designation of the South Side, the City of Easton for its continued efforts to create sustainable, family-friendly neighborhoods. We now have the ability to develop and explore a true “Elm Street” revitalization and, like with the previous West Ward Choice Neighborhoods process, we have an opportunity to capitalize on the passion of the South Side residents to build community momentum around such an initiative.”

“In embarking on this pivotal initiative, we are not merely investing in the infrastructure of the South Side neighborhood; we are nurturing the very soul of Easton,” said Dr. Phillip Davis, Sr. Pastor at Greater Shiloh Church and CEO of Greater Community Development Corporation (GCDC), the latter a member organization of Easton’s assembled Blueprint cohort, “Our concerted efforts are aimed at transforming this vibrant community for the better, ensuring that its growth and revitalization serve as a beacon of progress and inclusivity for the entire city. As we move forward, we do so with a shared vision of creating a stronger, more connected South Side that stands as a testament to what we can achieve together.”

Past participants of Blueprint Communities have seen meaningful initiatives come to fruition such as community centers, rails to trails projects, affordable housing, school redevelopment projects, downtown beautification, community gardens, collaborations between local businesses, and other community-driven initiatives. Since the program’s inception in 2005, 28 Pennsylvania communities have participated in this initiative. Participating communities have leveraged the Blueprint Communities efforts into millions of public/private investments for their communities.

As characterized by neighborhood resident and South Side Civic Association (SSCA) representative, Michelle Lockhart: “With this approval, I feel this will lift up our community and show that we can all benefit from the plans and ideas that are being birthed – standing together we can achieve.”

About FHLBank Pittsburgh

Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) of Pittsburgh provides reliable funding and liquidity to its member financial institutions, which include commercial and savings banks, community development financial institutions, credit unions and insurance companies in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. FHLBank products and resources help support community lending, housing, and economic development. As one of 11 Federal Home Loan Banks established by Congress, FHLBank has been an integral and reliable part of the financial system since 1932. Learn more by visiting or by visiting

About Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC)

PDC is the only statewide nonprofit dedicated solely to the revitalization of the commonwealth’s core communities. As the state partner with the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for the Keystone Communities Main Street and Elm Street programs, and as the state Coordinator for Main Street America, PDC accomplishes its mission by engaging local community leaders and volunteers to advance the sense of place, quality of life and economic vitality of their downtowns, neighborhood business districts and nearby residential areas. Visit for more information.

“Blueprint Communities” is a registered service mark of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.


Information provided to TVL by:
Sean Ziller