December 12, 2005

LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell University is among the elements featured in an original film documentary about historic Lewisburg that premieres on WVIA-TV Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m.

"Historic Lewisburg: Where the Past Lights the Future" will show a college town infusing its local economy through community collaboration, said Thomas Curra, WVIA senior vice president.

"Lewisburg's Main Street is thriving in an era when our downtowns are being eradicated by strip malls and large super stores," said Curra. "Lewisburg has overcome those modern challenges and today tourists flock to the historical 19th century downtown that's beautifully restored."

He noted that visitors shop in boutiques, eat in cafes, catch movies in an amazingly restored art deco theater and stay at a beautiful period inn. Residents, he added, have also taken pride in their architectural heritage, primarily in the street lights that line the Lewisburg streets, and have utilized those lights as their icon. "Hence, the film's title," Curra said.

The 30-minute documentary tells the story of how a quaint Pennsylvania town has managed to prosper thanks to a unique alliance between its community stakeholders: Bucknell, Evangelical Community Hospital and the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership.

"Lewisburg is a community-minded town where people work hard to keep the area moving forward," said WVIA's Kim Herron, the film's producer, director, and editor. "There's a strong sense of pride and care in the community.  And there's a very strong collaborative effort between Lewisburg and Bucknell. That relationship is a real model for college towns around the region."

The premiere presentation of WVIA's most recent documentary begins at 8 p.m. and includes interviews with Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell, Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner, Evangelical Community Hospital CEO Michael O'Keefe, and Linda Sterling, executive director of the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership.

As part of the premiere, members of the Lewisburg community will appear on-air at the WVIA studios in Pittston during the broadcast. 

The production began a little over a year ago so WVIA could capture Lewisburg throughout the four seasons.

"This film is an off-shoot to the Looking to The River documentary we premiered this past November in front of a sold-out audience at the Campus Theatre in downtown Lewisburg," Curra said. "In that film, WVIA illustrated the opportunity for river towns to develop their downtowns utilizing their river as part of the plan. Bucknell and the Lewisburg Downtown partnership are doing just that. Lewisburg is a perfect destination."

Bucknell, Evangelical Community Hospital, Lewisburg Hotel, Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate, and Wood-Mode Inc. provided sponsorships for the program.

Story posted: Dec. 12, 2005

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