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Courtyard Brings People Back to Their Roots

Posted on May 11, 2015

When Renee Rosenfeld lived in Michigan, St. Clair Plaza was a recent addition to the waterfront - a product of “urban renewal.”  Long before shopping malls and strip malls were commonplace, the Plaza housed a variety of stores. Many have come and gone.

Now a resident of Pennsylvania, Rosenfeld donated $500 to St. Clair Plaza Park. 

“My most cherished memories are of attending arts festivals, antique shows, fireworks displays, and concerts there with family and friends,” Rosenfeld said. “And I do hope the newly renovated exterior - with its breathtaking river view - rejuvenates the plaza and becomes a focal point of the community and all it has to offer.”

Her donation was matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The courtyard won the $62,500 matching grant opportunity through the MEDC’s Public Spaces, Community Places program.

At the time, it was the largest grant opportunity MEDC offered a community project.

“This is about people coming back to their roots,” said Sue Schmid, development officer at Community Foundation of St. Clair County. “Even though she lives in Pennsylvania, St. Clair will always be like home to her.

People giving back to their hometown: that’s what this is about to me,” Schmid said.

Rosenfeld spent several years of her childhood living in St. Clair and attended Eddy Elementary. She returns now and then to visit family and childhood friends.

“Antique shops, a coffee house, music shop and yoga studio have replaced some of the original tenants,” she said, “But it’s still a pleasure to take a leisurely stroll through the plaza before heading to Palmer Park for some boat watching.” 

The money raised will be used for finishing touches in the courtyard, such as seating, a fountain and natural gas fireplaces.

“I envision the new courtyard as a 21st century town square where there’s something for everyone: the young and the mature, the local residents and the out-of-towners - ‘urban renewal’ redux.”

Renee Rosenfeld
Renee Rosenfeld outside her house in Upper Moreland, PA. She works in Philadelphia.

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