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The mission of Slate Belt Rising (SBR), a program of Community Action Lehigh Valley, is to galvanize the boroughs of Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, Bangor, and Portland to capitalize on their shared heritage and traditions, the natural beauty of the Slate Belt, and the commercial potential provided by the proximity to major roadways in order to increase economic opportunity in the region, reduce poverty, eliminate blight, and improve the overall quality of life.

SBR will work toward four major inter-connected objectives to revitalize the Slate Belt’s boroughs of Bangor, Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, and Portland. These comprehensive priority areas include:

- Vibrant Economic Climate

- Regional Cooperation & Community Engagement

- Quality, Affordable Housing

- Sustainable Slate Belt Rising

Cracked Rocks


Slate Belt Rising (SBR) is a neighborhood revitalization initiative designed to integrate and capitalize on the substantial assets of the individual Slate Belt communities. By leveraging the unique history, architecture, and culture of each municipality into a regional approach, SBR will use a Neighborhood Partnership Plan to foster comprehensive community and economic development.


While SBR specifically targets the boroughs of Bangor, Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, and Portland, some initiatives promote development and the coordination of services for the entire region. The SBR Steering Committee includes representatives from each participating borough, borough residents, Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development, CACLV, corporate funders, state legislators, and committee chairs from SBR’s working committees.


Brian Fenstermaker


Brian has come to us during a time of transition, January 2023, as we begin to plan and execute the next six years of our Slate Belt Rising Program. Brian’s plan is to build on the strong foundation created by our previous Directors and continuously grow the program by spreading the word about our work and highlighting the great things we do throughout our community. Brian stated, “I want people to know us and understand that Slate Belt Rising is here, ready to help the region. SBR is a hidden gem, I want to help more people access our programs and support.”

 Brian has spent the past ten years working for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, most recently for the State Senate as District Director for State Senator Mario Scavello, whose district included the entire Slate Belt region. Brian sees this position as a natural fit, as it enables him to build on the relationships he’s forged over the last four years and continues his service to the people of the Slate Belt.


Brian spends much of his time in the Slate Belt with his family: his wife attended Bangor School District and his niece and nephew recently started at Five Points elementary school. “We all enjoy getting out and attending community events, whether it’s a Bangor vs Pen Argyl game or a gathering in one of the downtowns. The best way to experience the Slate Belt is to get out and get active - there is a great sense of community here. You can always feel the energy, heritage, and history when attending community events and visiting local businesses.”


Community Action welcomes Brian's expertise in community relations and neighborhood revitalization. “When serving a community, ‘no’ cannot be part of your vocabulary. You personally may not be able to directly assist someone, but you can usually connect them with someone who can.”

To contact Brian by phone, please call 484-523-0900.

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