The article and photo below were submitted by award-winning writer, editor, and photographer Joe Zlomek, who is the Managing Editor of The Post Publications. A hearty “thank you!” to Joe for contributing. With this article, I’m starting a “Revitalization Library” subject category at Positively!Pottstown. In it, you will be able to find revitalization stories and examples mentioned not only by me but by you, the readers and commenters. Together, we can discover the broad range of possibilities and acquire a kind of revitalization “vocabulary,” so we’re all speaking the same language as we write Pottstown’s revitalization story. 🙂
Wellsboro, PA – A place to stop in
by Joe Zlomek
Like Pottstown, Wellsboro PA (in Tioga County along Route 6 of Pennsylvania’s northern tier) was built on, and because of, industry. Early in the 20th Century it served as a shipping point and trade center, with businesses that included fruit processing, flour and woolen mills, and much more. But as they did in Pottstown, eventually those industries moved out.
The departures forced the borough to change. Because it is only 10 miles from Pine Creek Gorge, the natural wonder known as “the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” two of Wellsboro’s thriving industries are now tourism and retailing.
The length of its downtown is small in comparison to Pottstown’s but, also in comparison, far more robust. Shops are well kept, busy, and open late. The merchandise selection is diverse. Several excellent restaurants can be found within a two-block walk. And the lanterns that became a fixture of the boulevard-like Main Street coursing from east to west through Wellsboro add to its ambiance. They burn from mid-afternoon long into the night.
Is a proposal by Pottstown Main Street Manager Leighton Wildrick for the year-’round lighting of High Street the sole or best solution to attracting more consumers downtown? Not by a long shot. However, it and other changes can be keys in creating an environment that, as in Wellsboro, changes the perception of downtown from “a place to pass though” to “a place to stop in.” ~
Photo by Joe Zlomek: Simulated gaslight lanterns burning Saturday (Sept. 4, 2010) at 4 p.m. on the west end of downtown Wellsboro PA.