Grassroots District growth...

New banners designate the Mercer Street Grassroots District downtown where music marks the spot, art is always around the corner, where Myra's Flower Shop makes sure business blooms on Mercer Street and Cool Cruisin' Nights will return this spring, summer and fall, and Tony's Barber Shop is a mainstay. Soon, Will and Emily Lambert will join the downtown business landscape near Let Your Art Shine pottery shop with Blue Ridge Bee Company, an old-fashioned general store. Photo by Jeanie Brown.

By Emily D. Coppoila


PRINCETON — The city of Princeton has been awarded a considerable grant for the development of the downtown area.

The grant, totaling in $22,000, comes from the Federal Home Loan Bank Pittsburgh Blueprint Communities program, which seeks to support neighborhoods such as the Grassroots District. Awarded funds are set to be used in the areas of revitalization and more.

“The grant enabled the Princeton Renaissance Project to create a staff position for a downtown development coordinator to help guide progress moving forward and I am thankful to have been given that position,” Lori McKinney, downtown development coordinator, said, “I’ve been volunteering my time for years and now I’m able to have this work be my job.”

The development team has developed a comprehensive five-year plan for Princeton’s downtown area. With this plan, McKinney believes that the Grassroots District will reach its maximum capacity in a year’s time.

“I’m very excited about all the new businesses coming into the neighborhood and as we move towards maximum capacity in the Grassroots District, we’ll be able to focus more time and attention filling up other sections of downtown, like the Historic District and the next stretch of Mercer Street beyond Bee Street,” McKinney said.

Having been active in 2013, the Blueprint Communities initiative has been working to further the area’s progress. Members, like McKinney, have been dedicated to the city’s advancement.

“It seems every time I turn around there’s a new business prospect. I love giving people tours of the neighborhood and assisting them as they make plans,” McKinney said.

Residents may have noticed changes and new installations to Mercer Street such as the Hatter’s Bookshop now being located at 929 Mercer Street, Kitchen and Home Design Center at 822, and the upcoming Blue Ridge Bee Company.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at

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