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Rochester Borough, PA

Rochester (pop. 3,657) is steeped in history owing to a mighty industrial past. It is at the center of Beaver County, earning it the nickname “Hub of Beaver County.” Today the borough is home to a variety of local businesses, including manufacturing, warehousing, retail, and healthcare. A public library, churches, and other institutions provide a supportive social network.  The beautiful Rochester Riverfront park rests at the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers, featuring walkable paths,  pavilions, river activities, and the patriotic Flag Plaza. The community is home to a diverse mix of longtime residents and newcomers.

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Rochester Borough has been designated a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Community by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Rochester joins two other Beaver County towns, Ambridge and Beaver Falls, in 2020 designation. The Heart & Soul Community Program is a four-phase, step-by-step process developed by the Orton Family Foundation. This program focuses on the power of story-telling, reflection, and relationships.

Various activities will be developed and the long-term goal is to build lasting relationships and encourage leadership and volunteerism. Because these efforts are organized and carried out by the people who live, work, and invest in the community, it leads to actions that bring about positive change. The program prides itself on building neighbor to neighbor relationships, building a sense of pride in the community, encouraging investment in the community, and building support mechanisms to help those in need.

Photo by Emmanuel Panagiotakis

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Developed by the Orton Family Foundation

Leaders get a clear road map

Understanding what matters most to residents paves the way for innovative zoning changes that support those priorities

Small investments seed big things

Early initiatives and funding can seed far bigger investments when townspeople come together around what matters most

History and culture are honored

Heart & Soul helps towns discover the importance of history and culture in creating a town's unique character

New leaders and volunteers emerge

Community Heart & Soul gets people to participate. And that trend continues as towns use Heart & Soul outreach and engagement techniques

Downtowns are re-energized

A thriving Main Street is a goal for nearly every community. Heart & Soul has helped deliver just that by getting communities to see the benefits of revitalizing their downtowns

Businesses innovate

When townspeople get specific about what they'd like for their town, business owners see opportunities they might have missed

Pride is restored

One of the things residents notice, even early on, is how Community Heart & Soul restores a sense of pride among townspeople

Trust is built

Working side-by-side in the Heart & Soul process builds bridges between leaders and residents

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