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City of Lancaster Launches Lancaster City Welcome Initiative

February 13, 2024 | Department of Neighborhood Engagement LOOP

Today, the City of Lancaster Department of Neighborhood Engagement, announced the launch of the much-anticipated Lancaster City Welcome Initiative – a first-of-its kind, city-wide, tourism master planning effort. 

Lancaster has a 300-year history of welcoming visitors, and the hospitality economy brings significant economic and cultural value to the community each year. This project is designed to engage residents in the process of considering what public investments, promotions, and projects can help stimulate the local economy, support local businesses, showcase the city’s rich cultural landscape, and raise quality of life for residents. The resulting plan will help shape the city’s tourism focus and promotions over the next ten years. 

As the first step in the public engagement process, the City of Lancaster has launched a community-wide survey seeking feedback from all area residents. The in-depth survey will take the average participant approximately 30 minutes to complete. The information gathered will be used to shape Lancaster city’s tourism story, guide future destination development investments, and steer promotional outreach priorities for years to come. All Lancaster city community members and business leaders are strongly urged to participate.

“This project is an exciting new undertaking for the City. Once we fully understand the community’s goals, ideas, and priorities, we will be able to take actionable steps to elevate Lancaster city’s offerings and build destination appeal in alignment with the City’s comprehensive plan,” Milzy Carrasco, Director of Neighborhood Engagement said.

Beginning Wednesday, every household and business in the city will receive a postcard that invites them to provide input into the process by completing the community survey. Residents can take the survey from any cell phone, tablet, or computer and are encouraged to visit www.welcomelancaster.com to learn more about the project. 

Anyone who needs assistance with completing the survey may visit the Lancaster City Welcome Center at 38 Penn Square or the Lancaster Public Library at 151 North Queen Street. The survey will be available online in multiple languages: English, Spanish, Swahili and Arabic. The community survey is scheduled to close March 5.

“We are incredibly proud of the City of Lancaster’s Welcoming City designation, a testament to our commitment to inclusivity and diversity. This designation not only reflects our values as a community but also aligns seamlessly with our broader goals, including our Welcome Initiative looking at tourism. As we embrace and celebrate our diversity, we also recognize the importance of responsible tourism. The visitor economy not only supports local jobs and businesses but also serves as a platform for showcasing the rich tapestry of cultures and attractions that make Lancaster an exceptional destination to live, work, and visit,” said Mayor Danene Sorace. 

After the survey closes, initial findings, and more information about how they will be used to shape tourism marketing and development plans, will be shared with the community through a series of public meetings. These sessions will provide additional opportunities for community input. The dates and times for these special events are expected to be released later this spring. 

In addition to the community survey, a separate survey tailored to the business community is forthcoming.

The Lancaster City Welcome Initiative is funded by grants totaling $150,000 from the High Foundation and $100,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.


The Department of Neighborhood Engagement (DONE), established by Mayor Danene Sorace, is dedicated to investing in and collaborating with residents and their neighborhoods. DONE serves as a liaison between Lancaster neighborhoods and city departments, programs, and partners, promoting collaborative efforts to enhance residents’ quality of life through dialogue, partnership building, and actionable initiatives. DONE also oversees the coordination of the City’s special events calendar, operates the Lancaster City Welcome Center, and supports the promotion of Lancaster City as a vibrant destination through the Lancaster Office of Promotion.

Spanning 7 square miles in south Central Pennsylvania, the City of Lancaster is home to 60,000 diverse residents. Committed to building a stronger, more equitable Lancaster block by block, the City of Lancaster oversees a range of public services including public safety, health, housing, parks, streets, and water and sewer operations. For more information, visit cityoflancasterpa.gov