City of Scranton: A Strategic Implementation Plan for Downtown Revitalization

Report National Resource Network Scranton, Pennsylvania January 26, 2017 Economic Development

Between 2016 and 2018 the National Resource Network supported the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in convening and facilitating a task force of key stakeholders to create an entity to implement a downtown revitalization plan. Although the Chamber of Commerce had previously developed a plan for downtown, implementation had proved challenging. The Network partnered with the city to re-energize downtown revitalization by engaging with key stakeholders – including two hospitals and the University of Scranton – to spur investment in Scranton Tomorrow, an existing civic improvement organization that had atrophied to one permanent staff member. The goal was to create the necessary implementation capacity to ensure revitalization progressed.

The Network individually interviewed each of the core stakeholders to understand their perspective, interests, and concerns regarding downtown. The Network then facilitated three working sessions of the task force to create a common understanding of key challenges and opportunities, as well as to share best practices from successful downtown revitalizations in comparable cities. The task force sessions also sought to identify options for creating dedicated capacity to implement the plan and recommend an implementation entity based on feedback from the stakeholders.

Following this initial phase of work, the Network supported the task force through an additional four meetings to develop priority initiatives and a three-year budget to expand Scranton Tomorrow. The plan culminated in Scranton Tomorrow demonstrating its capabilities to downtown property owners to secure their support for a Business Improvement District funded by a special assessment.

The portion of the Network’s engagement in Scranton was led by Network consortium member HR&A. You can read more here about the Network’s financial analysis of the Scranton School District, work led by Network consortium member PFM.

City of Scranton: A Strategic Implementation Plan for Downtown Revitalization