Easton’s Economic Success Story Featured in Keystone Edge
By Colin McEvoy on July 23, 2018
Keystone Edge, one of Pennsylvania’s leading online publications about economic development, recently highlighted the economic success story of the city of Easton as part of their continuing series, “Day in the Life.” A portion of that story can be found below. The full story can be read here.
It’s a drizzly May day in the Lehigh Valley, and the Easton Public Market on Northampton Street, with its gleaming wood floors and airy white-painted beams overhead, is the perfect place to grab coffee and a salted-caramel pear muffin while sitting down with Jared Mast, executive director of the nonprofit Greater Easton Development Partnership (GEDP).
“I think some economic developers get a bad name because of a tendency toward mega-projects,” says Mast, whose office adjoins the Public Market (formerly three separate buildings, but now boasting 14 tenants in a sleek yet homey space). “Not all economic development is conference centers and football stadiums.”
Sitting around a small table in a bustling food hall — one featuring vendors selling everything from ramen to Belgian chocolate to modern Egyptian fare — is an ideal setting to hear this message: 21st-century economic development probably isn’t what you thought it was.
That’s especially important for a place like Easton, a city of 27,000 on the eastern edge of Pennsylvania. The burg sits right where the Lehigh flows into the Delaware — you can see Phillipsburg, New Jersey across the water.
It’s a place with a lot of history. In 1736, a son of William Penn and his partner surveyed this tract of land. On July 8, 1776, Centre Square (still a community hub today) hosted one of only three public readings of the Declaration of Independence. Easton resident George Taylor was one of the signers of the Declaration, and his restored colonial-era home endures just a few blocks away.
Over the next two-and-a-half centuries, churches, taverns, courthouses, shops, and homes made up the fabric of Easton. The historic façades of many original buildings survive along thriving corridors of restaurants and small businesses, including the Sigal Museum of local history, and the State Theatre.
Before taking us out for a closer look at Easton, Mast grabs a spare umbrella in GEDP’s office, and we exit the market building onto Bank Street (a quaint brick-paved alley), then turn east toward Centre Square on Northampton Street.
Visit Keystone Edge to read the rest of the story.
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