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.
HEART & SOUL COMMUNITY
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
HOW COMMUNITY HEART & SOUL WORKS
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
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