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Heritage Action Plan needs your input!

March 8, 2011

Last Friday, about 20 individuals and representatives from many different organizations in the community gathered at the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce for a 3.5 hour workshop to really dig into Pottstown’s Heritage Action Plan. Pottstown is creating a Heritage Action Plan or HAP with funds from the Schuylkill River Heritage Area (SRHA). The purpose is to come up with a plan that will help promote and protect Pottstown’s heritage resources, make it a destination location and promote economic development.

On hand were Bob Folwell and Kara Wilson from the SRHA, as well as heritage planning consultants Shane and Peter Johnston from Peter Johnston Associates of Easton, MD. They were there to give an overview of the heritage planning toolkit, which they developed and which is being used to guide Pottstown through the process.

Our first step had been reaching out and trying to find “partners” to participate. A partner can be just about anyone, from an interested citizen to the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, The Hill School, the Pottstown Community Land Trust, or local blogger Roy Keeler. I have gotten back partnership forms from several participants. To anyone else who would like to be an official partner: please get me your forms by this Friday, March 11! The Partnership_Form can be accessed here for anyone reading this for the first time.

After forming useful partnerships, the next step from the toolkit is creating a vision and goals. On Friday, we went around the room and people shared their vision for what the town could look like and feel like in an ideal world, while consultant Shane Johnston typed away. We came up with some common themes, which will be posted here shortly. We will also open up that conversation to the public for more input.

The next major step from the toolkit is to identify and assess a community’s heritage resources. Before we can market Pottstown, we need to catalogue exactly what resources we have and then decide which ones will provide the most immediate, visible return if we spend money to promote them. When this HAP is completed in April, we will apply for $25,000 to the SRHA to implement those top priorities over the course of the next year.

In an effort to bring the wider community into the conversation, we are putting out a request for help in identifying Pottstown’s “heritage resources.” Readers are welcome to respond here or at our Facebook page: Pottstown Heritage Action Plan.

So, what exactly is a “heritage resource”?

Here are a bunch of categories and some examples to get you thinking:

Historic Sites/Structures
– Downtown historic walking tours
– Potts Cemetery
– Edgewood Cemetery
– Various war memorials

Archeological Sites/Structures

Cultural Sites (Churches, Synagogues, etc.)
– Any historic church in town

Educational Institutions and Libraries
– Pottstown Historical Society
– Pottstown Regional Public Library

Museums & Other Interpretive Centers

Arts, Entertainment, and Shopping Areas

Major Highways and Roads

Trails, Greenways, Bikeways, Railroads

Sensitive Environmental Areas, Natural Wonders

Parks and Recreation Areas
– Riverfront Park
– Memorial Park

Tourism Dependent Businesses (hotels, restaurants, bars)

Special Events/Festivals that highlight local history/culture
– Schuylkill River Festival
– Carousel of Flavor
– July 4th
– Volleyball Rumble

Tourist Facilities (public restrooms, parking)

Other Resources

WE NEED YOU TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION
What are some of Pottstown’s resources that you’d like to see on the list? As people respond, I’ll periodically update the list. Because of our short time frame to complete the plan, it would be great if people could get their suggestions in by this Friday, March 11th. If you have any questions, or would like to be involved further, send an email to PtownHAP@gmail.com Thanks for participating!

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2 Comments
  1. Judy Bedell permalink
    March 8, 2011 3:49 pm

    I have always felt that one of the most important things that needs to be done before anything else can be accomplished is to have landlords, absent and otherwise, clean up all of the rental properties that are located in the downtown area. Some of the empty buildings, etc. are an eyesore and one of the first things noticed when entering downtown Pottstown. There must be some rules and regulations that could be enforced by the borough to eliminate some of these problems.

    • March 8, 2011 4:56 pm

      Hi, Judy – Thank you for your comment. General clean-up and code enforcement are on many people’s lists of things that need to be done consistently. Beyond that, this planning process needs to identify what the community believes are its best assets to promote. I hope we get some feedback on that as well. Sue

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