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CEED projects demonstrate that economic and environmental decisions can work hand in hand to foster economic vitality and an improved quality of life.

Allegheny College


Sustainable Communities

CEED's most recent initiative, Meadville, PA: Not Your Run of the Mill Community, represents a comprehensive plan to stimulate economic and community development in Meadville, a rustbelt community facing economic decline. The Meadville project focuses on rebuilding Meadville as a sustainable community committed to ecological, economic, and social sustainability.

Meadville, PA: Not Your Run of the Mill Community
Files in PDF format (5.3 MB)

The project focuses in part on using Meadville's Mill Run, a historic, urban stream that runs through, and largely under the city, as a geographic thread to unite diverse neighborhoods across the city. Download the posters at right to examine these proposals in more detail.


Main Street Program Grant Proposal: (Amara Geffen and Etienne Ozorak)
Working in collaboration with the Meadville Redevelopment Authority (RDA) and community volunteers, CEED developed an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for Main Street Program funding for the City of Meadville.  This funding would allow the city to hire a Main Street Manager to assist in revitalizing the downtown business district.  One intern has been working with the RDA to build groundwork on this initiative.

Mill Run Restoration
1) Environmental Assessment: Findings from the environmental assessment will lead to site modifications and will provide the DEP with data necessary to develop Total Maximum Daily Levels (TMDL) for Mill Run, which is required to open up sufficient funding for future projects.   The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has provided the College with $25,000 in Growing Greener I funding for this project.

2) Rehabilitation of Shadybrook Park: Funding for the rehabilitation of Shadybrook Park has been obtained; $55,225 from the DEP for a stormwater filter system and $54,775 from the DCNR for a trail, footbridge and rebuilding of access steps. Summer interns are currently working on public arts projects as part of the Shadybrook Park rehabilitation, as well as other murals planned for the City of Meadville. The concept plans for the Shadybrook Park project were developed by students in INTDS 301 during fall of 2007.

3) Environmental Art Curriculum – development of an environmental art curriculum to be implemented as a summer program at Shadybrook Park was initiated as a student project in fall of 2008 and tested with students at STARS (Second District outreach program) during spring 2009. The emerging curriculum emphasizes youth engagement to develop awareness of local history, human impacts on the environment and placed-based experiences that combine the creation of habitat and feeders for local birds at various sites along Mill Run.             

4) Applying Ecological Art to Stormwater Mitigation: The Mill Run Community Wetlands Project: A Growing Greener Plus Grant proposal was completed to support an overflow wetland along Mill Run in the area adjacent to East End Elementary School. Funding will be used to move a student proposal from concept planning through to design development and construction. The project will result in a creation of an ecoart wetland habitat enhancing stream ecosystem while also mitigating flooding. The wetland will also provide a study site for local schoolchildren and the general public, and will eventually be linked by a trail to Shadybrook Park. The design is based on recommendations from local elementary school faculty, ecologists, engineers and artists, and includes features that facilitate an efficient learning environment that reveals underlying natural processes.             

Acutec Wind Energy Project (Richard Bowden, Eric Pallant, Don Goldstein)
The collaboration with Acutec Manufacturing involves development of a wind feasibility study at Acutec’s Saegertown facility.  An environmental assessment report has been completed and data is currently being collected and analyzed to assess wind power potential.

City of Meadville Biodiesel Project (Richard Bowden)
Students enrolled in Environmental Science 210 developed and co-presented a plan for biodiesel production for city vehicles using waste oil collected from local restaurants. City Council approved the plan and students working with Professor Rich Bowden collaborated with the city to set up production. The City has purchased a biodiesel reactor and is currently making biodiesel fuel for part of its fleet.  The project also includes research on establishing a municipal collection program for waste cooking oil.

Home Sustainability Project (Richard Bowden)
Students enrolled in ES 210 researched and began development of an easy to use, citizen-friendly home sustainability index to assist homeowners in improving the environmental sustainability of their own homes. This index is being developed in partnership with Ms. Ann Gerace, Director of Conservation Consultants International and is being supported with funding from the Fahrner Fund for Community Projects.             

Switchgrass Project (Richard Bowden and Steve Onyeiwu)
Two projects have been developed in collaboration with Ernst Biomass. The first involved a market analysis of switchgrass in pelletized form (Steve Onyeiwu), while the second will quantify nitrogen transfer through switchgrass to help growers decide on the most economically and environmentally efficient harvest strategy for warm season perennial grasses, especially switchgrass, which has a strong potential as alternative energy biofuel. The later project is being coordinated through a partnership with Ernst Conservation Seeds and Ernst Biomass, a Northwest Pennsylvania Keystone Innovation Company and will include an examination of growth strategies and potential carbon trading value of switchgrass. Dr. Rob Mitchell of the USDA and University of Nebraska will collaborate on the examination of nutrient dynamics of both Pennsylvania and Nebraska grasses. Funding is being provided through the Northwest Pennsylvania Keystone Innovation Zone program and the college’s Core Commitments program.

City of Meadville Greenhouse Gas Inventory (Jennifer DeHart)
Environmental Science professor Jennifer DeHart’s Junior Seminar completed a base-line greenhouse gas inventory for the City of Meadville in collaboration with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). During Summer 2009, interns are working with Professor DeHart to complete a greenhouse gas inventory, recruit community partners for Meadville’s Climate Action plan for the City of Meadville, and identify potential funding sources for efficiency projects for the Meadville Municipal building.

Aquaponics Project (TJ Eatmon)
An ecoliteracy curriculum is being developed for the 2009-2010 Arts and Science Immersion Gifted and Talented Program. The course will expose students to the scientific method and will incorporate creative process as part of this method to explore community development. The goal of the course is to develop ecoliterate students through exploration of aquaponic systems that are reflective of the fundamental principles of ecology (networks, nested systems, flows,dynamic behavior, etc.) and then apply these principles to considerations of sustainable communities.

Environmental Guiding Principles (Amara Geffen)
Members of Meadville City Council, Mayor Richard Friedberg, zoning officer Gary Johnson, Vernon Township manager Dave Stone and Allegheny College president James Mullen Jr. met with CEED Director and Professor of Art Amara Geffen and 14 students from Geffen's freshman seminar on Climate Change, Art & Activism: Triggers for Sustainability to discuss policy development for environmental guiding principles for the city and surrounding communities. The presentation outlined key goals associated with sustainable development, and placed special emphasis on the importance of environmental guiding principles as tools for economic and community development. Recommendations included the establishment of a community committee for sustainable development, a community energy teams to help reduce energy consumption and waste, and adoption of the Keystone Principles for Sustainable Development.

Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ)(Amara Geffen)
CEED is partnered with Clarion University, Thiel College, and the University of Pittsburgh-Titusville as part of the northwest Pennsylvania KIZ.  Last summer, CEED hosted a special college – community meeting with the board of directors of the Northwest Pennsylvania Keystone Innovation Zone (NWPA KIZ) and Deputy Secretary Rebecca Bagley, Deputy Secretary of the Technology Investment Office of the Department of Community and Economic Development. 

During the year, CEED solicited local companies involved in developing clean or alternative energy technologies and developed recommendations for possible federal funding, which were shared with local legislators.  KIZ support to local companies include work with PSD Consulting, Ernst Biomass and Ernst Plant Advancements,  Dynasty Software, Deo Decises e-Publishing, Abbatron, 2W Technologies, and Optical Filters. During the summer of 2009, two Allegheny College students are being funded through the KIZ to develop the NWPA KIZ website. In addition, one CEED faculty and four other students are being funded to assist with KIZ related projects in switchgrass, machining and tooling, and market planning for Performance Systems Development. Funding for this project was made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Energy and Society (Michael Maniates)
A suite of weblinks, videos clips, and print resources are being developed to support Allegheny College faculty and Meadville teachers as they consider integrating (at least on the margins) a treatment of energy issues into course offerings. The project involves tracking and cataloguing local and regional initiatives in clean technologies and energy efficiency, and will include interviews with the players involved in innovating those technologies locally and regionally. This project will help promote and facilitate the good work that many in our community are doing and will help strengthen college – community collaborations for a Sustainable Meadville.

Allegheny College's  
Center for Economic and Environmental Development  

Last update: 1 August 2007