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River Roots Redevelopment - New Look, New Focus, and New People


Here we are, a month into 2023 already, and time shows no signs of slowing down! You may have noticed that our column has taken a break over the last few months (though work certainly hasn’t!) and now we are back, with a new look, a new broader focus, and some new people behind the scenes.

For me personally, 2022 was a year of new opportunities, chances to build on past efforts to nurture even greater future impact. As of July 2022, I started my own firm, EUTS Sustainability Services, and moved into an advisory capacity with the Oil Region Alliance. I am still working with the ORA, advising on regional redevelopment and the potential of our local brownfields, only now I am fortunate to be doing so from an even wider focal area.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that my primary concentration is on collaboration and partnerships, and we are working toward some truly exciting projects for this year! More on that soon, but for now I would like to introduce two people who have become a huge part of our team.

First off, those in the A-C Valley will have no trouble recognizing Rachel Brosnahan, who has worked alongside me for several years now, and who has been active in the community for as long as any of us can remember! Rachel has stepped up to act as the new Coordinator for the Valley-focused redevelopment initiative, River Roots Redevelopment. With the support of the ORA and EUTS, and with Rachel at the helm, River Roots is primed to continue the work of the Blueprint initiative, which formally ends this year. Rachel will be the main contact for A-C Valley redevelopment communications, which includes taking over primary responsibility for this column.

The second person will be more familiar to our readers in the Oil City area. Rikk Heckathorn was drawn into our regional redevelopment work in October of last year after the very successful Energy Security Conference held in Titusville and Oil City. During that conference, I presented on our Innovation Ecosystem initiative, and Rikk was hooked! Since then, he has been enthusiastically supportive of the goals of regional revitalization, and will be joining Rachel to provide a voice from our northern communities in these weekly columns.

Together, Rachel and Rikk, as the authors of River Roots Redevelopment (ain’t alliteration amazing!), will continue to provide you with the project updates, information, and opportunities for involvement that you had come to expect from Redevelopment Works, only now with even greater context and relevance for more of our riverfront communities.

I hope you will all join me in welcoming both Rachel and Rikk to the new roles in the team. They are integral to the success of regional revitalization, and I for one am so grateful for their energy, perspective, and determination!

As always, you are most welcome to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or thoughts regarding the future of our region or the concept of an Innovation Ecosystem. I can now be reached at spedi-smith@eutsusa.com, and I’m always happy to chat!

Without further ado, I will now hand the reigns over to Rachel and Rikk to introduce themselves and give you a sense of where River Roots Redevelopment is headed in 2023. See you out there! -Selina

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