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Slate Belt Rising Unveils New Branding Campaign

By Colin McEvoy on May 23, 2018

Pen Argyl Councilwoman Janell Connolly unveiling the banners behind her, which are part of the rebranding campaign organized by Slate Belt Rising.

Pen Argyl Councilwoman Janell Connolly unveiling the banners behind her, which are part of the rebranding campaign organized by Slate Belt Rising.

A new branding campaign has been unveiled for the Slate Belt region of the Lehigh Valley, which includes new banners and images representing the boroughs of Bangor, Pen Argyl, Portland, and Wind Gap.

The campaign includes branded images of each of the four municipalities individually, which can also be combined into one logo of the four combined as a united Slate Belt community, according to Pen Argyl Councilwoman Janell Connolly.

“The brand will enable us to jointly tout the quality of life here and show the rest of the Lehigh Valley and Monroe County and, for that matter, neighbors in New York and New Jersey that they should stop by, spend some money, and maybe even make the Slate Belt their home,” Connolly said.

The branding is part of an effort by the Slate Belt Rising, a neighborhood revitalization initiative designed to integrate and capitalize on the substantial assets of the individual Slate Belt communities, and to foster comprehensive community and economic development in the area.

Andrew Kleiner, Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), sits on the steering committee of Slate Belt Rising, which is co-chaired by Connolly and Michael Ortoski.

Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs, speaking at The Slate Belt Rising event

Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs, speaking at The Slate Belt Rising event

“A focus on regionalism has been inherent in our organization since its very founding 25 years ago,” Kleiner said at a May 22 unveiling event for the branding campaign at Pen Argyl Town Hall. “I’m very proud to be here today, and very proud to be working in the Slate Belt to help the region grow.”

The new logos, which will be featured on banners hung throughout the four Slate Belt municipalities, was designed by Imagevolution, a woman owned and operated design agency and marketing company based in Bethlehem.

The look features images unique to each borough, Connolly said, while bringing them together in a single image that is both modern and respects the history and heritage of the region. Slate Belt Rising will be committing additional resources to promoting the new brand and the communities it represents.

Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure, who campaigned on a platform that included rediscovering the Slate Belt, said he is also committed to providing additional funds for the Slate Belt, as well as projecting a “positive image of success” for the region.

“The future of economic development in the Lehigh Valley will be right here in the Slate Belt,” McClure said. “We are laying the groundwork now for that to happen, and when it does, the townships and boroughs will be ready for it.”

Slate Belt Rising is the state of Pennsylvania’s first ever multi-municipal, rural neighborhood partnership program, Connolly said. It is organized and administered by the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV).

Slate Belt Rising is a six-year campaign to strengthen the four boroughs by engaging the residents, promoting private and public resources, working together on common challenges, and celebrating together the boroughs’ common heritage and assets, Connolly said.

“We believe that working together we will be stronger, more efficient, and more effective, bringing out the best of each of us, mitigating our problems together, and delivering the quality of life that every one of our residents deserves,” she said.

The campaign is nearing the end of its second year, Connolly said, and is funded by Merchants Bank of Bangor and Waste Management, both of which receive tax credits from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development under its Neighborhood Partnership program.

Additional funding is provided by ESSA Bank, Lafayette Ambassador Bank, and Northampton County.

CACLV has funded building facade improvements, youth development activities, streetscaping, and community enhancement sessions for prospective and existing small businesses, landlords, and prospective homebuyers and others.

It is guided by a steering committee that includes representatives of the boroughs, the corporate sponsors, county and regional development entities, and other civic-minded community lenders.

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