Sarah Gabriel and Kayleigh Cornell think there’s a lot to love about living in Archbald. So they launched a group back in April to find like-minded residents interested in making an already great municipality even better. The Archbald Neighborhood Association aims to develop and implement creative community-based projects to encourage economic opportunity, build strong neighborhoods and enhance the well being of the residents. Read more about their plans:
Q: When and why did the neighborhood association form?
A: We started the Archbald Neighborhood Association in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown. We had more free time than usual and felt so fortunate to live in a town with access to the Heritage Valley Trail where we could safely get exercise and spend some time enjoying the natural beauty. We wanted to organize community events that could be safely held to increase morale and build a stronger sense of community. So far, we held a number of neighborhood clean ups throughout Archbald which involved picking up litter from the streets, sidewalks and parks. We worked with the Archbald Police Department and Mayor Shirley Barrett to organize a sidewalk chalk contest in October. We drove around Archbald with the police department and viewed sidewalk chalk art that residents created on their sidewalks and driveways. We had a great turn out and a really positive response from the community.
Q: How can people get involved with the group?
A: We would love to have more people involved in our group! We are always looking for volunteers, anyone who has ideas for community improvements or events and anyone who would like to take on a leadership role! The best way to keep updated on events and information is by following our Facebook page by searching Archbald Neighborhood Association. If you see any events you’d like to volunteer with or if you would like to share an idea with us, please message us on Facebook or email us at Archbaldneighbors@gmail.com.
Q: You recently got a grant from the county. Why did you apply for it and what will you do with it?
A: We had an idea to create a virtual walking tour of Archbald in which people can use an app on their phone called VoiceMap. As you are walking, various stories about the area will play, such as stories about the Lackawanna River and the history of Archbald.
We were looking for a way to fund the project when we saw that The Lackawanna County Department of Arts and Culture was accepting applications for their COVID-19 Creative Grant for projects providing positive arts experiences including virtual projects, real world projects that follow CDC, state and county health guidelines. We partnered with the Archbald Historical Society and the Lackawanna River Conservation Association and were awarded $6,000 for the grant. We will be developing a walking tour that is virtually guided through a smartphone app. The tour will feature stories told by locals about the natural and local history, native wildlife, points of interest, and community folklore as they walk. We plan to launch the walking tour in the spring of 2021. We are currently looking for anyone who may have a personal or historical story to share, knowledge of local points of interest, or anyone who would like to be recorded sharing information for the tour!
Q: What are some of the future goals for your group?
A: We hope to organize many more events and projects in Archbald! We hope the community members will come to us with some of their ideas so we can work together to create more community events and improvements. We would like to hold more community art projects, work with small businesses to increase their popularity and help to plan a purposeful and desirable place to live.
Q: What’s the best part about living in Archbald?
A: We think there are so many amazing things about Archbald, which is the reason we started the Archbald Neighborhood Association. To name a few: We really appreciate the Heritage Valley Trail that winds along the Lackawanna River. We both run, bike and walk on the trail daily! We love the fact that Archbald is such a walkable area, and one of our long term goals is to rejuvenate the Main Street with more businesses and beautification projects. Lastly, we love the people of Archbald. We couldn’t ask for better neighbors. They are always there to help us with anything we need, whether it be yard work or a listening ear.