The Scranton Area Community Foundation was awarded a planning grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) to lead a collaboration of six nonprofit organizations with the goal of engaging the community of West Scranton around the delivery of humanities programming in a neighborhood park. As a convener, the Scranton Area Foundation will act as the central organization pulling nonprofit organizations, government and public resources, key community leaders and engaged citizens together. This was the only civic engagement grant awarded in the state of PA.
The Scranton Area Neighborhood Park Collaborative is a project that both advances an understanding of the humanities and civic engagement in neighborhood green space, while also serving as a mechanism to pull in key city, county, neighborhood, academic, and nonprofit leaders to advance mutual goals for the betterment of the community.
A key part of this project is engaging West Scranton residents on what the neighborhood park means to them, and what they would like it to become. We are interested in learning what residents are interested in, and will use this information to plan meaningful programs in conjunction with the Humanities Advisory Council, a subcommittee comprised of experts in art, theater, architecture, literature, philosophy, culture, and related disciplines. The majority of programs will be held at Fellows Park, with some at the Jackson Street Skate Park.
In addition to the Humanities Advisory Council, there is a Civic Advisory Council which also serves as a subcommittee of this project. The concept of this council was to create a means for new collaborators interested in participating in the project. The council will advise the Collaborative, provide input and resources as the project develops. Currently, membership includes City of Scranton employees; Lackawanna County Employees, and other Community leaders.
The process has increased opportunities to share ideas and resources to provide better service and enhance and enrich lives of West Scranton families. In responding to the need of identified interest, it will continue to provide the opportunity to use current resources and redirect them into the West Scranton neighborhood. It is hoped that this pilot project will be a model for other neighborhood park initiatives.