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Press Release: For Immediate Release
Date: 4/11/2008
Re: Irwin Main Street Recognition
Ctc: Donn R. Henderson Irwin Main Street 724-296-8074

Irwin Downtown Receives National Recognition

The Irwin Main Street Program, under the oversight of the Irwin Project Board, recently received recognition as a 2008 National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street program. The designation was presented to less than 800 communities in the nation. The National Main Street Trust in Washington D.C. in conjunction with the Pa. Downtown Center in Harrisburg evaluate criteria set forth by the National Trust. Programs that have demonstrated their ability to effectively follow the Main Street “Four Point Approach” receive the honor.
Irwin Main Street is entering its second full year with a full-time manager and continues to show success with a gain in the number of businesses moving into Downtown over that period. The program is funded by local donations, annual commitments from area businesses and the Borough of Irwin and Irwin Bank. State funding for operations come through the Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development.
Gerald O’Brien, Chairman of The Irwin Project, is pleased with the designation and progress. “The hours of volunteer work by so many volunteers and elected officials who care about our town is validated with this recognition” says O’Brien now in his second year as Chairman.
Irwin Borough Council President John Fonzo believes the Main Street Program brings a professional approach to community revitalization. “While economic revitalization of Irwin’s downtown is of extreme importance to the Borough, the Main Street Program has afforded the opportunity to have citizen participation and professional management in a focused effort to augment Borough support.  This will accelerate plans to improve the attractiveness and commercial prosperity of downtown Irwin” stated Fonzo. 

Since 1980, the National Trust Main Street Center has assisted hundreds of downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts across the country to reclaim the unique quality of life that only a thriving community center can provide.

Downtown Irwin ended 2007 with a net gain of three businesses and another has opened in 2008 with a second signing a lease to open this summer.

            Some of the other items being worked on by the Irwin Project and Irwin Main Street are; new internet marketing techniques for small businesses, second floor uses study, three segment bike trial study, final design for $1.9 million streetscape improvements, long-term funding, art and jazz nights, “greening” of downtown, business succession planning, distribute $120,000 worth of façade grants and Elm Street Program funding for the nearby residential community.


Press Release: For Immediate Release
Date: 4/9/2008
Re: New Business Opening in Irwin
Ctc: Donn Henderson-Irwin Main Street Mgr. 724-296-8074
                                    Linda Pence-Store Owner 724-861-9687


Your Beading Heart” adds to unique Downtown Irwin Mix

Historic Downtown Irwin has added yet another specialty shop to it’s one of a kind business mix. The latest store is located at 102 Fourth Street and features beading and jewelry making supplies.

“Your Beading Heart” is a small business owned and operated by Linda Pence of Irwin. The showroom features supplies for everyone from the home hobbyist to the retail craft person. “We supply everything from stringing material to clasps” says the newest of Irwin’s more that 20 female owned or operated businesses. “Downtown Irwin’s reasonable rent and other specialty shops made it the perfect fit for what we want to do” added Ms. Pence.

The store will also hold classes starting soon and can be the perfect shop for a bracelet birthday party or a way for scout troops to earn a project badge. Supplying specialty glass beads, seed beads and natural materials like shell, seed and bone from around the world will set “Your Beading Heart” apart. Offering expert advice, classes and one-on-one service will keep you as a “customer for life” according to Pence.

Irwin Main Street Manager, Donn Henderson says the town continues to offer a wide variety of unique shopping and dining experiences. “ You can come downtown for accessories, clothes, massage, performances, yoga, ceramics class, tea, bridal dress, pizza, cappuccino, golf clubs, cheesecake, televisions and now beading-how’s that for a mix?” asks Henderson.

Henderson says his tracking shows the town ended 2007 with a net gain of  three  new businesses and with newly remodeled space becoming available that number is expected to rise in 2008 despite the slowing economy. “We already have word of another shop opening in a month or so and have several inquiries about available space” says the Downtown Manager.

For more information on “Your Beading Heart” you can go to the web site or call the store at 724-861-9687. More information about Downtown Irwin is available at IrwinPa.Org or by calling 724-296-8074.


Date: 1/4/08
Press Release: For Immediate Release

Re: Irwin Elm Street Planning
Ctc: Donn Henderson, Main Street Manager 724.296.8074

Irwin Elm Street Program Moving Forward

The Irwin Project and Irwin Main Street Program began monthly meetings in January to develop an “Elm Street Program” in the Borough. “Elm Street” is a state funded program similar to the “Main Street Program” already in place in the Borough. The “Elm Street Program” will focus on residential revitalization and connecting the two efforts.

Nearly 20 residents and Council members met for the first planning meeting on January 3rd at the Norwin Chamber of Commerce offices to discuss the issues facing residents and how to deal with them. Concerns about pedestrian safety, code enforcement, crime prevention and home ownership levels were among the items discussed.

The committee will meet monthly to develop a plan to submit to the Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development for funding by this summer. The plan will request money for home improvements and other projects identified by the committee.

Interested residents should call the Main Street office to be notified of the upcoming monthly meetings by e-mail or phone. The office is located within the Norwin Chamber of Commerce and can be reached by e-mail at or by calling 724.296.8074.

Date: 1/4/08
Press Release: For Immediate Release

Re: New Irwin Business
Ctc: Donn Henderson-Irwin Main Street 724-296-8074 or Sharon Bone,
Owner- Pampering Center 724-861-4747

New Downtown Irwin Business Ready to Pamper Customers

The Historic John Irwin House was already a community treasure but now it’s a place to get pampered as well. The “Pampering Center” recently opened in this historic site making the building home to four specialty shops. Sharon Bone is well known to many area customers and has worked the area with a home-based business for years. She recently contacted the Irwin Main Street offices looking for a space to help give her business more exposure and offer a site away from her home for customers to get facials, makeovers and sample the quality products she offers. After a brief search the John Irwin House was chosen as the new home of the “Pampering Center”. The building is located at the corner of Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It is convenient and my customers can visit the unique shops before or after the visit to the Pampering Center” said owner Sharon Bone. “I am happy to be a part of the revitalization efforts in Downtown Irwin and hopes customers will come see me and what downtown Irwin has to offer” she added.

The new business marks the end of the year with a plus three new businesses overall for Downtown Irwin according to Main Street Manager, Donn Henderson. “We have had some 4 close and 7 open with an additional two expansions within downtown” said Henderson. Downtown will see another new business in January according to Henderson and with two newly remodeled office/retail spaces available soon he expects to start the year with three new businesses in just the first quarter. “People are supporting our efforts by shopping, dining, attending events and investing in Downtown” Henderson stated. The Irwin Main Street program received state funding in 2006 and opened an office in February of 2007.

The business hours, services, web site and contact information for the “Pampering Center” have been listed at or Sharon Bone can be reached by calling 724-861-4747.

Date: 12/18/07
Re: Irwin Comcast Video
Ctc: Donn Henderson, Irwin Main Street Mgr. 724.296.8074

Comcast Newsmakers to Feature Downtown Irwin

The Downtown Irwin revitalization efforts recently were boosted thanks to Comcast Newsmakers. Irwin Main Street Manager, Donn Henderson, was interviewed recently about the efforts taking place in Downtown Irwin by Tonia Caruso, host of the informational segment. The Comcast program is a five-minute interview and runs twice per hour on CNN Headline News for Comcast subscribers.

The segment will air throughout the entire month of January and will alternate with others during the month. Henderson believes it will help with the ongoing efforts. “The kind of exposure this gives us we could never afford on our own” said Henderson.
“Comcast is now a partner in our efforts and we are glad to have their support,” Henderson added.  Comcast values the air-time at nearly $15,000 based on the number of air dates and time of the segment.

Natalie Ricchuito, Comcast Government and Community Affairs Coordinator, understands the importance of assisting groups like Irwin Main Street. “We are proud to be a strong community partner with the Irwin Main Street Program and are happy to assist with their community-focused and worthwhile programs,” said Ms. Ricchuito.
The interview can also be viewed at the Irwin Main Street web site, IrwinPa.Org, starting December 28th.

About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation ( is the nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. With 24.2 million cable customers, 12.9 million high-speed Internet customers, and 4.1 million voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast's Three Rivers Region serves 850,000 customers in four states, including Southwestern Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia and Northern Maryland. The region employs approximately 2,400 professionals and has been recognized by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as one of the best top 10 large companies to work and by the Pittsburgh Business Times for two consecutive years as one of the "50 Best Places to Work in Western Pennsylvania.

Date: 12/3/07
Press Release: For Immediate Release
Re: Store Opening in Irwin
Contact: Donn Henderson, Irwin Main Street 724-296-8074/John Carleo 724-864-6130

Well-Known Local Trainer opens center in Downtown Irwin

Just in time for your New Years resolution, long time area fitness trainer, John Carleo has opened a center in Downtown Irwin. “John Carleo’s Quick Fit Supervised Training Center” is located at 409 Main Street. John has been in the fitness business for more than 30 years and brings his unique fitness approach to Downtown.

“This is a common sense place to come if you want to look, feel and perform better in the coming year” said Carleo. “I’ve done it, I’m still doing it and I can show you how to do it in just three 20-minute sessions per week” he added. Through his personal supervised training methods clients of any age can learn how to get in shape and stay that way.

The new center will also offers The Total Gym Alkaline water ionizers, electromagnetic radiation neutralizers and whole food supplements. The Total Gym is featured at the center and training videos on its uses and benefits are available.

You can find out more at or call the center today at 724.864.6130 to get your 2008 fitness plan started.

The Fitness Center is the 7th new business to open in Downtown Irwin in 2007.  Irwin Main Street Manager Donn Henderson believes the efforts of the Borough, Irwin Project, Irwin Business and Professionals Association and their supporters are the reason. “They had put a lot of time and effort into planning how to make Downtown a prosperous place to do business and now others are seeing that as well” said Henderson of the volunteers.


Date: 11/5/07

Press Release: For Immediate Release
Re: Irwin Halloween Winners
Contact: Donn Henderson, Irwin Main Street 724-296-8074

Irwin Winners Announced

            The Irwin Halloween Parade drew more than 700 participants and an estimated 1,000 visitors to the festivities in Downtown. Sponsors of the activities, The Irwin Project and Irwin Business and Professionals Association, announced the following winners from third place to first respectively; Cutest-Lola Modra, Abby and Becca Shedlock, Sedney and Carson Handra. Scariest; Zack Harmon, Chad Barker, and Justin Mcarlane. Funniest;
Kalista and Zack Rayne, Nieko and Gianna Disso, Kody and Gage Kunkle. Most Original; Zack and Abbey Cologie, Alexander Scott Thomas, Kristen and Addison Schade. The best group of 8 or more was the Fallecker family as the Wizard of Oz Cast.

            A best business float trophy was awarded to Collins Family Motor Sports.

            The Irwin Project also held and in-store and on-line registration contest for a Haunted Hayride and pizza party for 10. The winner was Edie Matthews of North Huntingdon. 

            Light-up Night is scheduled for Downtown Irwin and those interested in attending the November 15th activities can visit IrwinPa.ORG for details.


Date: 10/16/07
Press Release: For Immediate Release
Re: Irwin Art and Jazz Nights Grant
Ctc: Donn Henderson, Irwin Main Street 724.296.8074

Target to help sponsor Art and Jazz Nights in Downtown Irwin

            Downtown Irwin Organizations and Target will team up next summer to present “Art and Jazz” nights once per month from May until September. The Irwin Main Street program was recently awarded a grant from Target to help with the start up costs for the event. The Main Street Program will co-ordinate the event along with the Irwin Business and Professionals Association and the The Irwin Project.

            Although the planning is in its early stages Donn Henderson, Main Street Manager, thinks the event will showcase the towns cultural assets. “We have a very active Norwin Art League, music studios, dance studios and will soon add a second performance venue with the opening of the Lamp” said Henderson. “By featuring local musicians, artists, and performers we can help Downtown Irwin continue to grow as a cultural center for the Greater Norwin Area” he added. Target is located just on the edge of the Borough of Irwin and Henderson says they were anxious to help. “They understand the importance of strong communities and have made a financial commitment to see that Downtown Irwin remains active and viable” he stated.

            Street performances, art crawls, specialty craft vendors and more are all under consideration. A special committee will launch meetings in November to begin the planning. Additional sponsorships will be made available in January and final plans will be available in February. Persons interested in helping with planning, performing or participating can call 724-296-8074 or e-mail the Main Street Office at


Date: 9/28/07

Date: 6/19/07
Press Release: For Immediate Release
Re: Bell Park Revitalization workdays with Keep PA Beautiful
Ctc: Jacki Slagle, Keep PA Beautiful Intern (814) 440-5526
Caroline Suh, Keep PA Beautiful Intern (412) 609-1119

Bell Park revitalization will be open to the public through work days.

Irwin residents will be able to play their part in revitalizing Bell Park with the help of Keep PA Beautiful interns, Jacki Slagle and Caroline Suh. Bell Park is located in front of the Irwin Volunteer Fire Department on Main Street and is owned by the Borough of Irwin. Work days will be held every week in July for residents, visitors and volunteers to help plant trees, shrubs, and plants, lay paths, install benches and tables, and restore a historic Irwin school bell. Gardening work days also will be held every weekend for the community garden that is included in the plan.

Volunteer work days will be held every Tuesday and Thursday in July at 7 PM. The first work day will be on July 3, 2007. Volunteers will receive useful information on planting, pruning of trees, and park maintenance. Free refreshments will be provided at each work day. Garden work days will be held every Saturday in July at 10 AM. Interested and committed participants will receive a small plot within the community garden to build their gardening skills. Experienced gardeners will be available to guide gardeners at each work day with free refreshments at each work day.

The first garden work day will be on Saturday, June 30, 2007 and will be held as a kickoff party from 10 AM to noon. It will begin with an introduction and short tutorial on gardening and community gardening as well as distribution of community plots. Lunch will also be provided.

The Keep Pa. Beautiful interns are working under the supervision of The Irwin Project and Irwin Main Street Program in conjunction with the Pa. Downtown Center. For more information on how you or your company can help please contact the Irwin Main Street office at 724-296-8074 or e-mail the office at Manufacturing assistance is being sought for a new bell cradle and corporate volunteer teams are also needed.

The final Bell Park will be unveiled on Saturday, August 4, 2007 with a final closing party.

Date: 6/4/07
Press Release
For: Immediate Release
Ctc: Donn Henderson-Irwin Main Street Mgr. 724-296-8074 e-mail
Re: Keep PA Green Interns

The Irwin Main Street Project, under the supervision of Donn Henderson, has obtained two interns to help with the environmental development of Irwin for eleven weeks in the summer. The interns have been placed in Irwin via Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, in conjunction with Philly Green and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center. The project offers college students an opportunity to work with urban communities on the planning and implementation of community enhancement projects to be decided upon by the community.

Jacki Slagle, of Erie, is a senior at Penn State University Park. She is pursuing a major in Geography and a minor in Environmental Inquiry (Sustainable Development option) and in Science, Technology, and Society. At Penn State, she is the Treasurer and Director of Communications and Outreach for the Sustainability Coalition. She is interested in the principles of sustainability and how to communicate the importance of living sustainably to the general public. Regarding the environment, Slagle is also interested in Smart Growth and urban planning. She is a youth swimming coach for Big Cat Aquatics at Penn State and also teaches swim lessons at the State College High School.

Caroline Suh, of Pittsburgh (15213), is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. She is pursuing a dual major in Architectural Studies and Studio Arts. At the University of Pittsburgh, she is the President of the Korean Culture Association. She is interested in landscape design and creating aesthetically pleasing yet practical solutions for city parks. She plans to pursue a career in art after graduation. Suh also attended Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

Slagle and Suh will be involved in three projects while working in Irwin. The Bell Park Design Improvements is a project in which the interns will try develop a consensus and develop a plan to improve the park, involving as many community members and organizations as possible in the planning.

The Downtown Greening Analysis is a project in which the design of a major streetscape improvement project will be established. Slagle and Suh will be contributing suggestions for simple and cost effective “greening” that the community can work on in the future.

Finally, the interns will be working with the Pennsylvania Avenue “Adopt a Block” Program. In addition to the work that has been done with the new sidewalks, Slagle and Suh will be starting a planting program with local organizations to make tentative improvements.

For more information on the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful program, refer to the website:

Date: 6/4/07
Press Release
For: Immediate Release
Ctc: Donn Henderson-Irwin Main Street Mgr.724-296-8074 e-mail
Re: Irwin Project Interns

The Irwin Main Street Project, under the supervision of Donn Henderson, has hired two interns to help with the development of the website and the development of the Elm Street Grant for the summer.

Kristen Fuhrman, of Irwin, is a junior at Saint Vincent College. She is pursuing a major in English with a concentration in Professional Writing and a minor in Secondary Education. At Saint Vincent College, Fuhrman is a Student Government Association Senator, Secretary of Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and member of Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. She also works for Saint Vincent College’s Public Relations Department. She graduated from Penn-Trafford High School in 2005.

Fuhrman will be developing the content for the Irwin Main Street Project website. She will be collecting information about all the businesses in downtown Irwin in order to develop content to put on the website. The website is tentatively slated for opening on July 16.

Leah McLaughlin, of Irwin, is a senior at Grove City College. She is pursuing a major in Business Economics and a minor in Sociology. At Grove City College, she is Vice President of Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society and a member of OTM Business Honorary. McLaughlin has studied abroad in China and attended mission-oriented spring break trips to Pittsburgh and Mexico. She volunteers at George Junior Republic and tutors at Pittsburgh Project and Urban Impact. After graduation, she plans to attend law school.

McLaughlin will be assisting with the Elm Street Grant Program. This program has been set up to revitalize neighborhoods in proximity to the downtown Irwin area and to formalize a connection between the residential and business areas of Irwin. McLaughlin will be gathering information and writing the grants for the Elm Street Grant Program.

Date: 4/20/07
Press Release
For: Immediate Release
Ctc: Hallie Chatfield-Design Committee Chairman/ Phone
Re: Irwin Meeting

Irwin Project to Unveil Guidelines

The Irwin Project and Irwin Main Street Design Committee will hold two public meetings the first week in May. The meetings are to introduce property and businesses owners to the guidelines for the Design Challenge Grants. The grants are part of the Irwin Main Street Program and funding is provided by the Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development.

Grants will be given to qualified applicants on a matching amount basis. The Irwin Main Street program will match up to $5,000 spent on approved façade and signage improvements.

Attendees will be shown some examples of improvements that can be made as well as an overview of the guidelines. A question and answer period will take place after the presentations.

Copies of the guidelines will be available at the meeting for a $5.00 fee or they can be e-mailed to applicants at no charge.

Meetings will be held on two separate dates and attendance is highly recommended for those wishing to apply for grants. The first meeting is Wed. May, 2-5:30 p.m. at the Café Supreme in Irwin. The next meeting is on Thurs. May, 3-8:00 a.m. at the Norwin Chamber of Commerce offices.

Inquiries regarding the meetings can be directed to the Irwin Main Street office via e-mail at or by phone calling 724-296-8074.