A lot of juicy news came out of the Pottstown Progress Luncheon yesterday. The hard part is where to begin?
Held by the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce, yesterday’s Sunnybrook event was co-sponsored by Pottstown Area Economic Development (PAED) and highlighted some of the most exciting progress being made in Pottstown’s revitalization.
Many people already know about the Challenger Learning Center coming to the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West Campus. The Sustainability and Innovation Hub located at 140 College Drive (adjacent to Riverfront Park) is being retrofitted to house the educational center which they hope will be open to the public this Fall. The center will offer science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs with a central focus on space-themed missions in a fully immersive Space Station and Mission Control center. MCCC states, “[The center] will use space-themed simulated learning environments to engage students in dynamic, hands-on opportunities. These experiences strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields.” To learn more about the Challenger Center, go to https://www.mc3.edu/for-our-community/challenger-center and https://www.challenger.org/.
If you haven’t heard about The Iron Globe, you’re late to the party! The Iron Globe Entertainment Complex will be a 2,200-seat outdoor music venue, to be located on the west end of Pottstown on the shores of the Schuylkill River. The venue will boast fire pits, a skating rink, interactive games played on high definition 35-foot LED screens, in addition to concerts, drive-in movies, Octoberfest, Halloween, Winter-Holiday, and Independence Day festivals, light shows, and fireworks displays. According to one of the developers, look for this exciting venue to open in late 2023 or early 2024. To learn more, go to https://ironglobepa.com/.
The old Mercury building is going to be converted into a 41-room boutique hotel, The Hotel Mercury. On the street level, expect a possible restaurant and bar as this historic building is remodeled into much needed visitor accommodations. It will be wonderful to see this piece of Pottstown history being utilized again and allowing visitors a taste of what Pottstown has to offer. To read a little more about how this project is developing, visit this site: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/pottstown-mercury-epa-helping-convert-mercury-building-boutique-hotel.
Green is coming to Pottstown…in the form of sustainable energy. The Pottstown Sustainable Energy Park will utilize waste to create pellets which it then gasifies into diesel fuel. It was estimated that this 142K square foot facility will not only produce 16 million gallons of diesel fuel and prevent around 200K tons of waste going into landfills annually but will also employ 115-150 people in well-paying jobs. No word yet on when the facility will open, but to learn more, see https://www.pottsmerc.com/2022/01/10/pottstown-oks-plans-for-sustainable-energy-park-on-keystone-boulevard/ or https://sanatogapost.com/2020/12/26/state-grants-local-redevelopment/.
Lots of people have driven by the old Pottstown Plating Works building on Industrial Boulevard and wondered what is happening. Yesterday, those who attended the luncheon got a glimpse into the environmental clean-up challenges the developer has dealt with as he prepares to put this prominent facility back into productive service. An interesting story about this appeared in the Pottstown Mercury a while ago: https://www.pottsmerc.com/2021/10/13/work-in-progress-industrys-polluted-legacy-in-pottstown/.
A few other smaller projects were highlighted, too. On the north shore of the Schuylkill, a kayak launching facility will be installed near the Hanover Street bridge for use by Take It Outdoors outfitters and Schuylkill River Greenways. Several existing businesses who are already located in Pottstown have expanded or relocated, including: Audio Video Concepts, The Eastwood Company, Agnes Edmunds Bridal, American Keg Company, and Beverly’s Pastry Shop. Also mentioned were DaniBee Funky and Stacked SCM and Pottstown Animal Wellness Services, businesses new to Pottstown in 2021, and the renovation of the old Comfort Inn on Robinson Street near Wal-Mart into a Fairfield Inn.
I wonder what other business ideas are incubating in our town?