The American Institute of Architects (AIA) hosts a virtual series called Shaking Up Small Cities Conversations on Repurposing, Remodeling and Repositioning Pennsylvania’s Communities. The series focuses on Pennsylvania towns that are revitalizing and improving their hometowns. This group understands that just about every municipality in the Commonwealth is experiencing negative effects of blight, and other issues that have changed the personality and economies of small town America.

Just like Shenandoah, there are many towns and cities who are rewriting their stories, using the history as a foundation and moving into the future by revitalizing and re branding. AIA explains the reason behind this series on their website like this. “In these cities and small towns that have experienced such great revitalization, architects have used their design thinking to work with community leaders and elected officials to bring the dream of a vibrant small town or main street back to life.”

Downtown Shenandoah’s Executive Director, Susan Williams and Board President, Karen Kenderdine had the opportunity to share Shenandoah’s story during a September presentation. Murhpy & Dittenhafer, the architects for DSI’s innovation center, The Center For Education Business & Arts (CEBA) are members of the AIA and were approached about participating in the series. They wanted to learn more about Shenandoah, DSI, and how the community is working together to make CEBA a reality. “Karen and I shared all about the history of the community, when and why DSI was started and what our overall vision is for the future.” Other cities featured in this series that started in 2021 are Lititz, Lancaster, Erie, Greensburg, Corry, Indiana, Williamsport, Pittston, Altoona, Bethlehem, among others. 

“It was an opportunity to shine the light on Shenandoah and share all the positive changes that are happening in our area as well as discuss the challenges and road blocks we’ve experienced along the way,” Williams added. “Projects as impactful and important as CEBA will be to our community will be worth everything it have taken to put that shovel in the ground.” 

The Center for Education, Business & Arts will include a commercial kitchen, Penn State classroom, event center and coworking spaces. Although the original timeline for beginning construction was 2022, the date is estimated for early 2023. To learn more about DSI, CEBA and Shenandoah, PA visit downtownshenandoah.com or discoverceba.com.