Lehigh Valley

'Engage Easton' looking to find the heart and soul of West Ward

'Engage Easton' looking to find the...

EASTON, Pa. - They've talked about it before and residents in the West Ward of Easton hope this time real change will come to the area.

A new initiative called "Engage Easton" aims to make it happen.

As Easton continues to grow downtown, there are some areas that have not seen the positive effect of revitalization. People living in the West Ward are hoping soon that will change.

"So far I haven't seen a lot of change,” said Easton resident Carinne Buzzuto, who lives in the West Ward. “I am hoping it will work. I think the more money that goes towards actually doing things and less talking.”

City leaders are once again trying to develop a plan to improve the area. A partnership between the city, state, and the Orton Family Foundation, has been formed to create "Engage Easton."

The two-year program will focus on those who are not usually in the decision-making process.

"We're supposed to figure out who are the hidden voices, who are the people who don't come to public meetings, who don't have the time, resources or being able to bring their whole family out," said Tina Roseberry, director of planning for the city of Easton.

A $100,000 grant will be used to come up with ideas and ways to achieve them. A main priority for many will be access to healthy food.

"A grocery store that is cheap enough for the community,” said West Ward resident Patrick Barrett. “That has fresh produce, things like that, things that make a happy and healthy family."

Residents say they also want to further reduce crime, and ultimately be connected to the rest of the city, because for years some in the West Ward have felt like outsiders.

"Hopefully this is one that will actually be effective, and get work done," said Buzzuto.

Meetings for Engage Easton are currently in the planning process. Group leaders said dates and times will be announced soon.


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