Despite funding cut, SWPA group still works to revitalize its community | Helping the Helpers

The Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation (BARC) was established in 1989 through the Mon Valley Initiative to help revitalize the town and renovate historic buildings

By: - December 8, 2021 6:30 am

Ellouise Tower (left), the office assistant with BARC, and BARC volunteer Brionna Staggers (right) decorate BARC’s museum for Christmas (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo).

By Mark Hofmann

BROWNSVILLE, Pa. — A community development corporation dedicated to revitalizing Brownsville has had a number of successes over the years, but continues to struggle financially.

(Capital-Star file)

The Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation (BARC) was established in 1989 through the Mon Valley Initiative to help revitalize the town and help renovate historic buildings in Brownsville.

Norma Ryan, a charter board member of BARC and former mayor of Brownsville, said the organization has renovated about seven buildings in town that were donated to them or purchased using grants.

The historic Flatiron Building, former borough building, The Rose Building, The Odd Fellow Building and others have become museums, bed and breakfasts or are inhabited by commercial tenants.

“Some of the things we do bring a little life into the town,” Ryan said.

The lingering effects of COVID-19, however, have made continuing fundraisers like the annual Mon Ducky Race difficult, Ryan said.

  • IF YOU WANT TO HELP: For more information on BARC and the various ways to donate, visit barcpa.org or call for more information at 724-785-9331.

“We couldn’t do any fundraising events,” Ryan said, adding that proceeds from those events sustain their administrative office. “It was a tough year.”

She said community members can help by joining BARC as members, which comes with a $25 fee for individuals and $35 fee for families.

People can also help by purchasing an engraved memorial brick in honor or memory of loved ones. The bricks will be professionally installed in the memory sidewalk at the “Rounded Corner” of the Flatiron Building.

“And we absolutely would love to have more volunteers,” Ryan said.

Mark Hofmann is a reporter for the Uniontown Herald-Standard. Readers may email him at [email protected]. Helping the Helpers is a cooperative effort between the Uniontown Herald-Standard and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. 

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