During the past few weeks, Cranberry became the recipient of honors from a number of outside organizations. For example, the travel website Expedia recently rated Cranberry as one of the ten most comfortable cities to visit in America. Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog
PA One Call and Columbia Gas just gave us an award for safe infrastructure maintenance practices. The Pennsylvania Municipal League and Sustainable Pittsburgh recently ranked us as a Platinum-level community
for our sustainable policies and practices. And Moody’s Investor Service upgraded our credit rating
from an already high Aa2 to an even higher Aa1 – one of just a handful of communities in the Commonwealth to be awarded that rating.
Each of those awards has a different focus. But that’s precisely why Cranberry is an excellent candidate for long-term success. We are a diverse community, and the diversity of our economic base is a huge advantage. That strength can be traced back to decisions made by our Board of Supervisors around the time I began working for the Township 25 years ago.
As a community at the crossroad of two major Interstate highways, Cranberry could easily have become the region’s pre-eminent warehouse, transfer and truck stop location. In fact, a generation ago, that was where the growth pressure came from. But our Board of Supervisors listened to our residents, and heard a different vision.
While they understood growth couldn’t be stopped, they also heard clearly that the growth needed to meet our residents’ expectations of Cranberry being more than a one-industry town. So they undertook a remake of our Comprehensive Plan, adopting a new one in 1995 that completely changed the way we managed our growth. In hindsight, it was clearly the right thing to do, but it wasn’t universally popular.
Long-time Cranberry residents will recall the Township’s battles with major land owners and developers over the next three years, along with multiple legal challenges to the Plan and its implementing ordinances. But the Plan, the ordinances, and the elected officials all survived.
Not long after that, Cranberry was named the Outstanding Community of the Year by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry – the first time the State Chamber ever selected a Township for that honor. Our Board was invited to a grand assembly of business leaders and state elected officials in Harrisburg for the award presentation, which was led by the Governor himself.
Our own Board Chairman at the time, in accepting the award, said it best. Our Board is focused on building a community with the highest quality of life for our residents, he told them. If you take care of your residents, everything else will take care of itself.
Since that time, company after company, whether in technology, healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, retail or research, has validated our Board’s decision, choosing to locate here because we are precisely the sort of place their employees want to live. Taking care of our residents remains the foundation of what we do; it’s why Cranberry Township is what it is today.
It is also why Cranberry is poised to be a desirable place to live, work and play for generations to come.
I would love to hear your thoughts about Cranberry’s development. Email me at Jerry Andree