Downtown Beautification Project Wins


The University of Scranton, together with community partners Scranton Tomorrow and Penn State Master Gardeners in Lackawanna County, won the Pennsylvania American Water’s “Community Investment Challenge,” a contest where voters use the company’s Facebook page to determine grant awards given to support environmental projects and community improvement programs. Seventeen organizations from across the commonwealth entered projects in the month-long contest. The University entered its Downtown Scranton Spring Planter Beautification Project, which is planned for the spring of 2014 as part of the Jesuit school’s annual Street Sweep, and conducted in collaboration with community partners.

The Downtown Scranton Spring Planter Beautification Project came in first place and was awarded a $1,000 grant from Pennsylvania American Water. The grant will support project that includes cleaning up debris and planting flowers and bushes throughout the planters in Scranton’s downtown area. The University’s Office of Community Relations and student government is partnering with Scranton Tomorrow and Penn State Master Gardeners in Lackawanna County to extend its annual spring “Street Sweep” neighborhood clean-up event into downtown Scranton.

“We are excited and honored to earn first place in Pennsylvania American Water’s Community Investment Challenge,” said Julie Cohen, director of community and government relations at the University. “This grant will make a significant impact in helping to beautify downtown Scranton, thanks to Pennsylvania American Water’s generosity and the support of our Facebook community.”

According to Pennsylvania American Water, eligible projects fell into one of four categories: Water and the Environment, Water and Healthy Living, Environmental Education or Community Sustainability; and must take place within Pennsylvania American Water’s service areas in 2014.

“We are very pleased with how the contest engaged a broad range of civic, non-profit and environmental groups, who rallied and mobilized their social media networks to earn support for their local projects,” said Pennsylvania American Water Director of Communications and External Affairs Terry M. Maenza. “While we congratulate the winners, we also applaud the other entries for the innovative projects and terrific work they are doing in their communities.”

Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, serving approximately 2.2 million people.