Clearfield BPW’s Guest Speaker Talks Community Revitalization

Rick Viglione (Provided photo)

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Business & Professional Women’s Club held its monthly meeting Nov. 14 at the Susquehanna River Art Center of Clearfield.

Rick Viglione, a field outreach specialist with the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC), was the guest speaker. The PDC, a statewide non-profit, is dedicated to community revitalization.

He said Main Street Programs really depend upon volunteers, and Clearfield is fortunate to have Manager Loretta Wagner and her committees of volunteers.

As part of his PDC outreach efforts, he travels throughout Pennsylvania and he often uses Clearfield as an example because of that strong volunteer base and municipal support.

“In Clearfield the revitalization corporation and the borough work hand-in-hand,” Viglione said, adding that “they are in a partnership.”

He believes optimism can be found in every community and is waiting to be discovered. The key to community revitalization, he said, is to have that “local champion.”

According to Viglione, every community has its own unique set of assets. He said a community shouldn’t strive to be like another one and should just be itself.

He asked club members to name places to visit in Clearfield. Their list included the Grice Museum, Ritz Theater, Super 322 Drive-in, Clearfield Arts Studio Theatre, Clearfield Bowling Lanes and more.

Viglione said the Ritz is a “gem” because many communities of Clearfield’s size don’t have a theater. He said the area was also very lucky to still have the drive-in because many have died off.

“You always want to map out your assets,” he said. “Ask yourself, what’s going to bring people here? What’s going to keep people here.

“Think about when you travel. What are some of things you want to see and do?” Then, he added to the list dining options, such as Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub and Moena Restaurant downtown.

He said Clearfield also has a “great” YMCA, the Joseph & Elizabeth Shaw Public Library and CNB Bank’s main office, and a lot of assets that other communities don’t have.

According to Viglione, more often than not, residents look at their communities and see everything that’s wrong instead of everything that’s right.

Earlier on Nov. 14, he said a representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) visited Clearfield.

She felt the downtown area was beautiful and was especially impressed by the streetscape, Riverwalk and river. “That’s an outsider’s view; she appreciated that,” Viglione said.

“Clearfield has surpassed the norm in terms of community revitalization … Your Main Street Program is in it’s second, five-year cycle, and you’re seeing the fruition of 10 years of work.”

Viglione encouraged Clearfield BPW club members to engage in the exchange of ideas with the Clearfield Revitalization Corp., and to get involved in its efforts.

At the November meeting, the club also welcomed Tiffanie Burger, the District 4 director, for her official visit. She was presented with a gift from the club.

She announced that in 2019 BPW/PA will celebrate 100 years of women helping women with passion and purpose. In 2020, it will celebrate women being granted the right to vote.

She said the 99th annual state convention will be held June 6-9, 2019 in Washington, Pa., and will include displays on women in history.

Burger concluded her report by expressing gratitude for the club’s continued support of her venture to become BPW/PA president in the future.

For the past 77 years, the Clearfield BPW club has been dedicated to the promotion of working women through its informative meetings, community involvement and camaraderie.

BPW/PA is the statewide organization of 1,600-plus members in 75 local organizations and 12 districts throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Locally, Clearfield BPW meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at a local establishment. Meetings consist of dinner, club business and objectives and an informational program.

The club has two major programs each year. In May it honors a local woman for her community volunteerism; then, it awards a scholarship to a senior of the Clearfield Area School District.

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