New Castle News

February 25, 2014

Joint commissions meet, highlights advancements

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Manufacturing, economic growth and job opportunities are the emphasis of two regional planning agencies that include Lawrence County.

County Commissioner Steve Craig is this year’s chairman of both the Northwest Commission, comprised of 16 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania, and the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, comprised of 10 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Craig facilitated the first joint meeting of both planning and development agencies Friday for sharing of ideas and information and potentials for economic growth.

Craig noted that Lawrence is the northernmost county of the southwest commission and the southernmost county of the northwest commission.

 “I felt that this would be a really nice opportunity to get the two board together to talk about regionalism,” he said.

The groups assembled in the McKelvey Campus Center of Westminster College to share information about progress and ideas.

William P. Getty, president of the Benedum Foundation, addressed the status of Power of 32, a 32-county initiative that spans four states and outlines development goals of communities for the future. Getty outlined 14 goals of the Power of 32 initiative, the number one being creation of a regional site development fund.

More information about Power of 32 and its goals is available at

Other speakers included:

•Grace Gallucci, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, who described $168 million worth of region-changing improvements to the Cleveland area’s Better Rapid Transit along the Euclid Avenue corridor.

•John Getchy, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, covering Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties in Ohio. He noted that Youngstown is the fourth best place in the country to find a job, according to Forbes and ManPower, 2011. He added Youngstown is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies.

•Jim Hassinger, executive director of the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, who addressed transportation planning initiatives and the commission’s annual unified planning work program.

•Jill Foys, executive director of the Northwest Commission.

•Ken Romig, Westminster College, vice president for finance and management.