LHVA perserving region’s heritage

Featured — By on October 18, 2005 at 2:25 pm

As the Chief Operating Officer of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority (LHVA), Jesse Ergott strives to preserve the rich industrial and ethnic heritage of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

LHVA’s goals include: educating area residents and visitors on the significance of the region’s history; facilitating collaboration among local governments, civic organizations and community groups throughout the valley; and enhancing the physical character and economic vitality of the region’s communities.

“Northeastern Pennsylvania seems to steadily retain its character, complete with strong family ties, a strong work ethic and genuine community interest, despite what is happening around it,” Ergott said. “There is definitely a strong ‘sense of place’ here that is worth preserving in any way we can.”

Among the LHVA’s current initiatives is the Scranton Riverfront Greenway project which would include a greenway and rail-trail system along the Lackawanna River in from 7th Avenue to Olive Street in downtown Scranton. “Historically, the Lackawanna River has been used as a means for disposing of industrial and residential waste,” Ergott said; “it hasn’t exactly been viewed as a natural asset to the City of Scranton.

“In fact, the river itself is so hidden and inaccessible to the community that many people who live or work in the city couldn’t even tell you where it is.”

The Scranton Riverfront Greenway project aims to re-introduce the Lackawanna River to the community as a recreational asset and as a business address ready for conservation-friendly development. Groundbreaking on the rail-trail system could come as early as the fall of 2006.

Ergott joined LHVA as its environmental program officer, managing rail-trail projects and environmental education programs. Ergott discovered “…I had a genuine interest in this type of work and the positive impact it can have on the people who work, visit and live in the region;” and his responsibilities expanded to include all of LHVA’s community programs.

“This line of work has been extremely rewarding for me because of its ‘big picture’ focus on the common good of the community,” Ergott said. “Where some businesses and workers may constantly have to ask questions like, ‘How can we increase profits for our shareholders,’ we are tasked with questions like, ‘Which programs will have the largest positive impact on the area’s quality of life?’”

To learn more about the LHVA, visit www.lhva.org.

    3 Comments

  • Pittstonian says:

    Allowing urban dwellers to re-commune with the unparalleled splendor of nature is always a positive in my books! Just south of Scranton, a “Rails with Trails” project is slated to run along the Susquehanna River between Duryea and Wilkes-Barre, running through Pittston’s new “Riverfront Park” in the process. Just across the Water Street Bridge, a “Rails to Trails” project is planned for the Exeter/Wyoming area. A similar project has just been completed in the Hazleton area. Our local rivers have long been neglected and allowed to deterioriate—It’s about time that we start embracing our waterways and make them the focal points of our communities. Just think about how dramatically this may reshape downtown Scranton—Center City will now be bounded by the prestigious University of Scranton on the east, the enticing Steamtown Historic Site on the South, and a breathtaking RiverWalk on the west. As a suburbanite, I’m honestly excited about Scranton’s future! ;o)

  • forart says:

    As far as I know this plan has been in the works for about as long as our ignominious “train”. There’s so much red tape and so little money, unless you borrow and borrow some more.
    I understand the need for “something to do”, but with thousands of dollars in student loans I’m thinking less about something to do with my spare time and more about how this isn’t going to create jobs in the area. Why not create a task force to study the crime around here instead of how a bike trail will ingrain a deeper sense of history among people who already are ingrained with a deep sense of history.

  • forart says:

    I should have said I meant the “Rails with Trails” project, though most of the same, minus the “been in the works forever” comment would apply to the revitalization of the Scranton Riverfront.

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