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Jim Thorpe: A Main Street Success Story

By Paola Giangiacomo, Reporter
Published On: May 15 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 17 2013 06:00:55 AM CDT

Talk about a power walk.

JIM THORPE, Pa. -

Talk about a power walk.

Some bigwigs from Harrisburg went for a sightseeing tour Thursday of historic Jim Thorpe in Carbon County.

But this wasn't your typical tourist trek.

In the narrow kettle of Jim Thorpe, Carbon County is Broadway -- an iconic and picturesque street in this historic downtown.

State Senator David Argall and community leaders got a first hand tour.

Leading the group is Elissa Garafalo, the former Main Street manager of Jim Thorpe.

With each step Gerafalo highlighted the historical significance of the buildings along the corridor and the improvements that were made under the Main Street Program beginning in 1981.

Jim Thorpe was one of the first boroughs in the state to utilize the downtown revitalization program.

The program is based on what has become a national model known as the Four Point Approach to revitlizalize central business districts such as this one.

The points include: Design, Promotion, Organization and Economic Restructuring.

"We're looking at not just continuing the program but improving it and allowing it to be utilized by other communities," said Sen. Argall.

And Senator Argall says one way to make that happen is by learning from other communities who have had success with their Main street programs.

Sharon Davis is the Main Street Manager of seven boroughs in Lehigh and Northampton Counties.

After the walking tour she testified at a hearing led by The State Senate Urban Affiars and Housing Commitee.

"How do you do it for Bath, Catastaqua, Bangor and Pen Argyl at the same time?" she was asked by Sen. Argall.

"You have to genuinely care," she said.

Senator Argall will also tour Reading, Pittsburgh and Lancaster to examine its Main Street Programs in the coming weeks.