16 July 2009

Learning from Lancaster

Keystone Edge, which describes itself as a Web site that "tells the story of the new economy in Pennsylvania," had a cover story last week detailing Lancaster's revival. I saw four things they've done that York might think about as our city continues its redevelopment efforts.

1. Forge partnerships. In Lancaster, Franklin and Marshall College and the James Street Improvement District remade an entire quadrant of the city. The YWCA showed that kind of collaborative spirit with its Renaissance Project. On York's south side, York College could team up with Crispus Attucks or a revived South George Street Community Partnership to expand the improvements that have happened there.

2. Use arts and culture. With its Artist Homestead Program, York already recognizes the potential of the arts community for improving the quality of life in the city. The Cultural Alliance, the Strand and the Heritage Trust seem like logical candidates to continue the work.

3. Promote the city lifestyle. Codo has taken the lead on this in its effort to attract young professionals. Somebody needs to think about ways to promote the city's great housing stock, its farmers markets, the developing restaurant scene and other amenities. See Lancaster City Living's approach.

4. Enhance and build on key resources. York doesn't have anything to compare with Lancaster's new convention center for attracting visitors. Hopefully, the study from Roger Brooks will go a long way in identifying the resources that do exist and figuring out how to use them to increase visitors to the downtown.

- Dan Fink


Anonymous said...

Your own comments in your post seem to contradict yourself. These things are happening in York - just like Lancaster. Can they be improved? You bet.

What's different? Lancaster promotes the partnerships and we constantly put them on a pedestal for doing so. It's time that we put ourselves up on a pedestal and stop trying to be like the Joneses. There is no reason why a convention center that draws 115,000 people per year should be labeled as "no comparison" to Sovereign Bank Stadium, which draws 300,000. Sure, the demographics of the visitors is different, but didnt York host the PLCM convention as well?

Let's stop saying bad things about York, and start promoting the good things that are happening. By doing that, we can develop and grow the programs that need to grow.

YorkCounts said...


I think we agree here more than we disagree. I don't think I contradicted myself. Maybe it wasn't as clear as I would have liked, but I was really saying, "Let's do more." And I don't think you would argue that having a convention center with a hotel, a baseball stadium and a thriving farmers' market are assets for Lancaster. York has assets, too, but there's no harm in learning from others. No badmouthing York here. I live in the city, and I love its potential.

Anonymous said...

The James Street Improvement District in Lancaster has an annual budget in excess of $1m thanks to generous contributions from F & M College and the Hospital in Lancaster. Will similar community partners in York step up to offer that kind of support?

YorkCounts said...

Anonymous (No. 2),

That's an interesting point about funding for JSIP. I've heard the same thing about the Lancaster's Central Market: They receive generous support from Lancaster city. Resources are scarce right now, so it might be difficult to change things in the short term.