Etna Borough has been working tirelessly since the 2004 flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan to change the narrative around our community. Once seen as a victim of our position in the watershed and often referred to derogatorily as "Wetna", Etna is now seen as a leader in stormwater management and a steward of our waterways. From the beautiful and innovative streetscape on Butler Street which captures millions of gallons of stormwater each year, to the re-emergence of wildlife in our streams and skies, Etna is a community that values sustainability and puts the environment at the front of all we do.
There is no project that signals the change in Etna's narrative more than the newly completed Etna Riverfront Trail and Park. Once the site of the Spang-Chalfant Steel Company, the riverfront property sat as a brownfield for decades. After almost ten years of visioning, planning and fundraising, the park with a trail that will be part of the Erie to Pittsburgh trail system and breathtaking views of the Allegheny opened in October or 2021. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded Etna Borough with the 2022 Governor's Award for Sustainability on April 26th in Harrisburg. There to collect the award were Mary Ellen and Pete Ramage, the driving forces behind the project, Carl Funtal, President of the Etna Economic Development Corporation, and representatives from Environmental Planning and Design, who designed the new park.
ECO was proud to sit at the table with the Borough at the award ceremony and collect their 2020 award for the Etna EcoDistrict Plan. Awardees from 2020, 2021 and 2022 were all in attendance as this was the first in-person gathering since the onset of the pandemic. Alexis Boytim, former Executive Director of ECO who oversaw the EcoDistrict Planning process, accepted the award on behalf of ECO. Borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage reflected on the borough being honored for not one but two sustainability awards,
"We are honored and proud to be recognized for our collective efforts to promote, construct, nurture and sustain the environments here in Etna; physical, social and economically for a healthy, safe and nurturing community for all that live, work and play here."
Our small community was overjoyed to be recognized at the state level twice in as many years for our efforts to make Etna a sustainable community. There is so much more work to do, and thanks to the hard work of many of our residents, we have the plan to get there.