This past Monday, about a dozen members of the Heritage Action Plan working group gathered at the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce to review the results of a recent listing and ranking of Pottstown’s heritage resources.
The map below – created by Tom Carroll – shows the clusters of historical, arts, cultural, dining and recreational resources in and around the downtown. Some highly-ranked resources received “poor” ratings for physical condition. It’s important to keep in mind that highly-valued resources, perceived to be in poor condition, may be excellent candidates for money or attention to draw the most benefit from them in our promotional efforts.
The map also listed major annual or seasonal events hosted in/by Pottstown every year. When these events are shown by the month in which they occur, it becomes apparent that the Borough and various other organizations are holding major events that draw visitors from throughout the region 8 months out of the year. Coordinating & enhancing promotion with downtown merchants and PDIDA could be one of several recommended strategies in the HAP. Creating additional events to fill in the other months would lead to a full year of “hometown celebration” programming.
As the working group moves toward defining Pottstown’s heritage marketing strategy and branding, history and the arts emerged as themes to pursue. Here were several comments/suggestions:
- Start giving Historic Walking Tours on First Saturdays, led by MCCC students.
- Consider giving Cemetery Tours, esp. for John Potts Cemetery, which is now not open to the public, and for Edgewood Cemetery. Coordinate with Pottsgrove Manor.
- Look into creating a Historic Church Tour; several churches were highly-ranked.
- Use banners (inexpensive) to designate High St. as an “Avenue of the Arts.”
- Use banners to generate excitement & direct visitors to downtown. Add color!
- Coordinate with PDIDA & downtown merchants.
The group briefly talked about tourism/hospitality amenities that are lacking or need improvement. Safety and cleanliness had been concerns in our first large group meeting back in March.
- High school students will be cleaning up the downtown on the April 30 Clean-Up Day, and this should be the beginning of more frequent clean-ups downtown by student volunteers.
- Need to do a better job of tapping volunteers in the community.
- Involve high school students in creating marketing materials.
- Need signage, banners, kiosks to get Trail users into the downtown – still must decide how many, what goes on them, where to place them and prioritize list.
- Need more occupied storefronts, esp. creative-related, for critical mass to attract trail users.
- Will need lodging for overnight visitors when Trail is complete.
- Consider a winter carnival in February.
- HAP partners must continue to have conversations & coordinate with County & PennDOT regarding road projects and trail linkages.