Recruit Donna Taggart for Bethlehem Mayor

No, I have not heard that she has any interest, but my greatest hope for the 2013 municipal elections is that Donna Taggart will emerge as a candidate to run against Bob Donchez in the Democratic primary for Bethlehem Mayor.

Bethlehem deserves a Mayor with real vision and expertise in economic development, who wants to take the city to the next level. The city can’t afford to take 4 years off from growth and redevelopment under Bob Donchez.

Here is Donna’s bio from the Taggart Associates site:

Donna Taggart has been involved with economic development efforts for 25 years. She began her career as Director of Administration for the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park for 11 years before becoming Executive Vice President of the Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO). During this tenure, Donna was involved in multimillion dollar redevelopment projects for the City of Bethlehem, including key historic building renovations. BEDCO became part of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation in the early 1990s and Donna assumed the role of Vice President of Regional Development. Her work at LVEDC resulted in the transition of the Easton Economic Development Corporation into the Greater Easton Development Partnership (GEDP), parent of the Easton Main Street Initiative, which is recognized as the most successful Main Street programs in the State.

Donna has worked with dozens of boroughs and cities to help them improve their economic competitiveness and quality of life. Her extensive knowledge of federal and state programs has helped many communities achieve major milestones in their redevelopment efforts. During her career working in the public and not-for-profit sectors she packaged dozens of key community economic development projects, leveraging over $30 million in public financial incentives.

As a contract employee through Taggart Associates, Donna served as Program Coordinator of GEDP and the Easton Main Street Initiative. GEDP duties included administration of all loan programs, CDBG reporting and compliance and daily oversight of the Main Street Initiative. With Donna’s assistance, GEDP embarked on a multiyear, multimillion dollar fundraising campaign that included the public, private and academic sectors. A portion of these funds were used to implement a hospitality and cleaning program for the downtown area known as the Easton Ambassadors. This fundraising was the precursor to the establishment of a Business Improvement District to sustain these efforts.

In 2007, Taggart Associates partnered with a nationally known company in the area of Business Improvement Districts to form New City America East. Donna’s experience with Pennsylvania economic development programs and government, coupled with New City America’s experience with the formation of over 55 Business Improvement Districts across the U.S. gives Taggart Associates’ clients another option when seeking financing for their downtown revitalization efforts. New City America East is currently working in the Cities of Bethlehem and Easton to implement Business Improvement Districts to sustain their current improvements and programs.

The City of Easton, Lafayette College and the Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Corridor hired Taggart Associates to manage a $20 million project to redevelop areas along a portion of the Bushkill Creek. The projects include the redevelopment of a former industrial property, the creation of a City Gateway and the development of a recreation facility. Coordination of all interested parties and soliciting timely public input to the decision making process are key elements in this redevelopment effort. Taggart is currently leading the community visioning effort for the redevelopment of the 14-acre Silk Mill property into mixed use, retail, commercial and residential uses with a focus on the creation of an arts community including artist live/work space. This property contains approximately 334,000 square feet of existing building space, much of which is architecturally and historically significant.

Donna is also contracted with other local developers and municipalities to find unique funding strategies to make critical projects happen despite budget constraints.

Donna holds a B.S., Business Administration with a concentration in Finance; Minor: Economics from Cedar Crest College. She gives back to the community by serving as a Board Member of Northampton Community College’s Foundation Board and Executive Committee, ArtsQuest Board of Trustees and Executive Committee and Past Chair, VIA Board of Directors, and Past Board Member and Secretary of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association.


  1. She’d be an outstanding candidate.

  2. All she needs is endorsement by Callahan and Cunningham/LVEDC.

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