Beaver Falls, the Historic Heart of Beaver Valley

I included in the evaluation the downtown core and the area around Geneva County. Beaver Falls is located about 30 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh thus this Rivertown Borough is both part of the Pittsburgh metro but also separate as part of the micro region of the Beaver Valley area. Beaver Falls was founded in 1870 and soon after waters Geneva College was founded in 1880. The town was built around the college and industry along the Beaver River. But like most industrial towns in the region, the population has declined significantly since WWII.

Beaver Halls certainly hasn’t had the same level of reinvestment as it neighbor Beaver, but still a good amount of urban fabric and downtown retail here. Generally the historic housing is gritty with mostly worker housing. What the town needs to improve from an urban perspective is simply more investment and new businesses. Not sure this will happen anytime soon given the economy of Beaver Valley, so this type of reinvestment would need to be more grass roots oriented.
Click here to view the entire Beaver Falls album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Decent historic architecture on the main Street. Residential is generally pretty plain.
* Culturally Beaver Falls has a community arts Center,  a couple of art galleries,  several low key restaurants & cafes,  & bars. Geneva College also bring a fair amount of performing arts and live music.
* Neighborhood activities includes several drug stores, a supermarket and local fruit & veggie stands. Also an interesting mix of antiques, furniture stores, and clothing stores. Other neighborhood amenities include a paint store, historic library, post office, and medical centers.
* Several walkable schools but mixed ratings.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Sidewalks are Ok and generally there are curb cuts, but most don’t have the modern ADA infrastructure.
* Public transit is pretty limited and access to dwtn is at least a 45 min drive.
* Very limited bike infrastructure.
* Some rentals but all very inexpensive. For sale housing is very inexpensive, mostly below 100,000. Some housing in the 100Ks.
* Recreation space limited to sports fields surrounding the City’s schools. Some nice green space in Geneva College.
* Pretty gritty but not necessarily any dangerous spots.
* modern in-fill is limited, but what exists is generally pretty crummy.
* Tree cover isn’t great.
* Buzz is not great here. 

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