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Pottstown’s Riverfront: Creating a Place of Magic

September 6, 2010

There are several discussions taking place in the blogosphere around the possibilities for Pottstown’s riverfront, especially in the vicinity around the former Mrs. Smith’s site.

Save Pottstown! and The Pulse! brought to our attention a recent proposal that came before the Planning Commission for income-restricted, senior rental housing on some Borough-owned property on Industrial Highway. So far there’s a lot of concern about squandering a key asset (riverfront land) for such a use.

The conversation continues here and here.

A major highlight of these discussions was the comment of Dan Weand, Council member, quoted in part here:

“I do believe that whatever sets on South Hanover Street & Industrial Highway as our “Gateway to Pottstown” should be a ” W O W ” !!!

I would like to know what the other homeowners of Pottstown think the BEST USE for the riverfront land should be.

Perhaps Save Pottstown! would be cooperative with my question. Perhaps Save Pottstown! would conduct a survey and report the results to the Planning Commission and Borough Council.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Dan Weand
Borough Councilor”

I’ve been commenting at those sites and wanted to post my latest comment here, since all the links couldn’t get past the spam filter.

Posted at SP, today…

I agree with WhirledPeas, east1ender and BBQ Bill – there’s a new attitude and it’s really just getting warmed up.

kevins: point taken about the scale of the examples. The cities and their waterfronts are much bigger and so have more opportunities for really grand schemes.

Check out Paducah, KY. They have been the poster child for arts/economic revitalization for small to mid-sized downtowns. Here’s their Lower Town Artist Program.

Following up on that success, they have moved on to redeveloping their riverfront. A plan was approved in 2007, but I’m not sure of its status – whether it was a casualty of the 2008 downturn. Regardless, it can be really helpful to read through other towns’ plans, figure out the similarities or differences with Pottstown, see how they proposed to finance it, what roles were played by various non-profits, government & private sector partners. Can’t hurt to be well-versed in the possibilities.

I haven’t read through all this…it’s a lot of homework.

East1ender’s point about the flood plain is a good one. Before we go off in all directions on the riverfront, we should have an idea of the constraints: flood plain, wetlands, railroad tracks, streambanks, erosion, runoff, water quality, stormwater management. You’ll want these groups on your team: County Parks & Heritage, PA Dept. of Conservation and Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the folks from the Schuylkill River Heritage Area.

Check out this conference being held in Pottstown on Thurs. Sept. 23 by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. It’s called “Building a Business Vision for Trail Town Communities.” I’m going to try to go to that.

Any takers?

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2 Comments
  1. September 7, 2010 8:17 pm

    Not sure about attending on the 23rd but it sounds like it’s “right up our river”!!

    Sue, the Paducah Lower Town Artists Program is amazing. Thanks for putting up the link to that plan. It is a plan that, I believe, could work for Pottstown. Paducah, in many ways, paralleled our own struggles and now they are a noteworthy success story.
    They have become an arts vacation destination for people all over the world.

    Thanks for the valuable research and info!

    • September 7, 2010 8:25 pm

      Thanks, Katy! Yes, that Paducah program is inspiring. I’m still digging up a few more examples… Please let David know that I got his email regarding CLTs and will look over the info. Finally feeling better and just put up a long, difficult post – had to get it “right.” But I’ve fallen behind on emails. Hope all’s well with you and your wrist!

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