February was a busy month for the Blueprint team, and we would like to send a huge “Thank You!” to everyone who responded to the call for donations for the AC Valley School Farm initiative. The outpouring of support from local businesses, organizations and private individuals filled our hearts with pride in our community, and we can’t express our appreciation enough. We will begin collecting donated items in the next few weeks, and work will start on the first stage of the Farm in late March. Please get in touch if you are interested in helping out with the actual digging, hammering, cutting and raking that will be coming soon! We DO still need a few crucial items for the Farm: soil and/or compost, garden tools (especially child-sized), and willing hands to help us get everything set up and growing well this year, as well as monetary donations to help buy those things we can’t scrounge.
We haven’t just been getting ready to dig in the dirt, though. Art has been on our minds quite a bit recently as we showcase the talent we have here in our Valley. The banner design team, made up of our partners at Chicken Coop Studio 306, Singing Sparrow Design and our winning high school artists, is finalizing the new Blueprint Banner series, which will be unveiled in late March.
The old Fuchs building has seen some extra love over the last few months, too, getting ready for the first of what we hope will be many murals going up this spring and summer, marking the first stage of a long-term redevelopment plan for the site. We’re also seeking artists interested in working on a unique and beautiful outdoor version of our community Vision Gallery. Reach out if you’d like to be a part of any of these artistic projects!
We are also doing what we can to address blighted properties around the Valley, working with Foxburg Borough to redevelop sites recently cleared of dilapidated homes and working with private property owners to breathe new life into old buildings. Anyone interested in how community members can band together to address blight is invited to our next Blueprint Community meeting, which will be held at the Parker Fire Hall on Thursday, March 12th, where Kittanning resident and community advocate Andrew Laddusaw will share his experiences in tackling blight head-on with a dedicated group of local volunteers.
Finally, we are excited to announce two upcoming community events! Starting March 21st, you can learn to do moves just like the Furious Five! That’s right, Kung Fu is coming to the Valley. Thanks to the community spirit of Rothrock’s Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy of Butler, we will have monthly Kung Fu classes for children five and older, with plans to increase to weekly Kung Fu and Tai Chi classes over the summer. Classes will be held in the Crawford Center, joining the incredible offerings of the Boys & Girls Club, Solid Rock Gymnastics, Chicken Coop Studio 306, Yoga with Sara, 4H and the Electrotechs.
Last but most certainly not least, our second upcoming event will have you dancing in the aisles, literally! Mark your calendars, because area favorite ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’ is coming to rock Emlenton on May 16th for a benefit concert. Singer Jeff Powell of Emlenton is excited to share the band’s music and energy with his community, and we are excited to be able to enjoy it in our historic Crawford Center auditorium! Tickets will go on sale soon through the Blueprint and ORA, so for more information on this, Kung Fu classes, or any of our ongoing or upcoming programs and projects – including how YOU can be actively involved in the Blueprint Initiative – be sure to check in at acrivervalley.org or find us on Facebook!