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Draft Heritage Action Plan to be discussed by Council tomorrow night

August 2, 2011

 On Wednesday, August 3rd, Borough Council will be discussing the Draft Heritage Action Plan (HAP) at the Committee of the Whole Meeting at 7 pm at Borough Hall.

Tom Carroll and I will give a brief presentation – 10 minutes – about the Draft (HAP). The Borough undertook the creation of a HAP this past spring with a grant from the Schuylkill River Greenway Association & the William Penn Foundation. The process sought input from a wide range of history, arts, culture, business and educational partners and citizens. We also got advice from Peter Johnston & Associates, planning consultants out of Easton, Maryland, who created a Schuylkill River Heritage Towns & Tours Toolkit for grant recipients to use.

The ideas behind Pottstown creating a Heritage Action Plan are to:

(1)  identify existing heritage & Schuylkill River Trail-related resources, such as historic walking tours, Pottsgrove Manor, the bike shop, arts organizations and restaurants;

(2)  let Trail users, residents and other visitors know what resources there are and where they’re located through good signs and trail markers;

(3)  get Schuylkill River Trail users from Riverfront Park and into the downtown, where the Trail can be extended down High Street through the use of the existing bike lanes, and further extend the Trail to a new terminus at Pollock Park;

(4)  help generate more foot/bike traffic for downtown merchants; 

(5)  get the Borough, business owners, and arts, historical, recreational, educational and wellness organizations working together around marketing Pottstown as a heritage destination.

One of the key words above is “Action.” There’s $25,000 available now from the Greenway/William Penn Foundation to implement some of the prioritized projects in Pottstown’s Draft HAP. Click on COMPONENT RANKING RESULTS to see the complete list of projects. These are some tangible activities that could help get people into town and give the downtown & PDIDA a leg up in marketing Pottstown as a Heritage Town.

Four projects were identified as appropriate for the next round of implementation funding from the Greenway (the $25K mentioned above.) They are:

#6 – Trail Connection: Riverfront Park to High Street & High Street to Pollock Park
#18 – Pottstown Comprehensive Brochure (to go into kiosks, Chamber of Commerce, businesses)
#28 – 3 Informational Kiosks at Riverfront Park, Pollock Park, Downtown
#36 – Trail Friendly Decal for participating businesses who offer water, rest rooms or discounts to Trail users

 These projects were chosen from the list of 42 projects based on:
• making a visible impact;
• being able to be completed within the scope of the available funds ($25K);
• being able to be completed by May 2012;
• and being compatible with the Heritage Towns & Tours major initiatives:
– destination creation and marketing;
– creating a Trail Town identity and a sense of place;
– and improving or creating on-ground connections between trails and communities.

The HAP can be used as a supporting document to go after more grant money to implement other projects listed in the plan. In a time of dwindling resources, there is still money in PA for conservation, trail connections and the like.

Residents and downtown business and property owners are encouraged to come out tomorrow night to hear more about the HAP and see what’s proposed for implementation.

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