Sustainable Indiana County Emblem

The public is invited to attend an event titled the Sustainable Economic Development Summit III – Reinventing Rural America, sponsored by the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force.

The Indiana County commissioners established the task force in 2017 to contribute to the existing efforts to foster the creation of family supporting jobs, healthy and thriving communities, and a rural economic vitality that gives all its citizens a chance to flourish. During the past 12 months, the task force has worked to implement the strategies and initiatives for local economic development grounded in sustainable economic development practices that it identified in its final report of 2018.

Summit III will be held on Friday, Oct. 4, at the Rustic Lodge, 2199 Oakland Ave., from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The summit is open to the public and includes a luncheon at no charge, thanks to sponsorship from The Heinz Endowments, Colcom Foundation, the League of Women Voters of PA Citizen Education Fund, and the Indiana County commissioners.

In addition to a panel of Indiana County community leaders, who will share successes and plans for future actions, there will be several guest speakers. They will highlight opportunities for promoting economic and workforce development and citizen education within each particular focus areas:

• Sustainable agriculture: Chloe Drew and Jennica Hopkins, Mother Earth Farm

• Renewable energy: Greg Winks and Will Brown, Solbridge Energy Advisors

• Sustainable building construction: Matt Mahoney, western Pennsylvania program manager, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance

• Environmental restoration and stewardship: Joey James, senior strategist at Down Stream Strategies

• Economic development: Emily Rhodes, AICP, technical assistance and planning manager, Just Transition Fund

• Broadband: Sascha Meinrath, Palmer chair in telecommunications at Penn State University and director of X-Lab, an innovative think tank focusing on the intersection of vanguard technologies and public policy

The public can attend any or all of the summit. Register online at, or RSVP directly Molly Sarver, senior land use planner, at (724) 465-3870 or