Reception-hopping opportunity downtown this Friday!

The next Positively!Pottstown Happy Hour is happening this Friday night from 5-7 pm at the SCORE office in the New York Plaza building at 238-244 E. High Street in downtown Pottstown. Come out for casual networking, food by Bause-Landry Catering of Pottstown and complimentary beverages – all for just $5. Join SCORE as it celebrates 20 years in Pottstown, and you can also tour the first and second floors of this historic Pottstown landmark. Free parking is available at the rear of the building; the entrance is there too. RSVP to positivelypottstown@gmail.com ASAP.

Afterwards, head over to The Gallery on Highat 254 E. High Street for the opening of a brand new solo show – Fairy Tales Do Come True – by the artist DiGi. The reception there is running from 5-8 pm and it’s free and open to the public. Please RSVP by calling 610-326-2506.

DiGi’s show will run from September 16 through October 8, 2011. The show can also be viewed during the Gallery’s normal business hours: Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4:30pm and Saturday from 10am to 3pm. The Gallery is closed Sundays and Mondays.

DiGi has an eclectic and accomplished background in a variety of fields. She has a Bachelor of Science in Economics/Finance and has acquired many computer graphics and foreign language certificates. She was a member of the United States Army Reserve where she acted as a Russian interrogator. She currently works for Vertis Communications in computer graphics as a premedia specialist primarily working as a Photoshop retoucher and color corrections expert. She splits her spare time creating works of art and teaching Middle Eastern Dance at local high schools and the Freedom Valley YMCA.

She has traveled the United States, Europe and Russia extensively, providing much inspiration for her work. She enjoys working in mixed media, including watercolor, colored inks, colored pencil, Russian lacquer style art, bead embroidery, bead weaving and tapestries. Her works have won many Best of Show and First Place awards, including Grand Prize for her hand-painted ornaments at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., where they were exhibited during the Christmas season. Her works have been featured in major periodicals such as Family Circle, Delaware Today, ArtSpeak, and many other local publications.

The Gallery School of Pottstown
@Gallery on High

254 E. High St.
Pottstown, PA 19464
610-326-2506
www.galleryonhigh.org

Free financial workshops offered in Pottstown

FREE WORKSHOPS OFFERED IN POTTSTOWN TO UNDERSTAND CREDIT, LEARN MONEY MANAGEMENT AND HOME BUYING BASICS
 
It’s back to school time for the kids and there has never been a better time for you to learn how to handle money and credit.  Learn ways to reduce your debts. Learn how to improve your credit scores. Take charge of your finances. Learn what they never covered in high school! 
 
Genesis Housing Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development corporation, will hold three FREE workshops on credit & credit repair, money management and home buying process on September 20th, September 27th and October 4th  from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the new PDIDA Offices, 17 North Hanover Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. The workshops are free thanks to the support of Susquehanna Bank but seating is limited. Registration is available on-line at www.genesishousing.org.
 
The workshops are designed to help to:
 
·         Understand Credit — Information on credit scores, improving your scores, re-establishing credit, dealing with debt.  Workshop participants can obtain a free credit report with scores (Tuesday, September 20, 2011).
 
·         Money Management – Information on preparing realistic budgets that are more than just monthly bills, prioritizing spending in tough times and understanding how current spending impacts future financial options (Tuesday, September 27, 2011).
 
·         Home Buying Basics — Information the home buying process — finding a realtor, home inspections, Agreements of Sale, mortgages and first-time homebuyer grant programs (Tuesday, October 4, 2011).
 
Nikki Holcroft, an award winning and certified housing counselor, will teach the workshops. Ms. Holcroft has more than twenty-five years experience working as a housing counselor, mortgage banker and community lender. Ms. Holcroft has worked with Genesis Housing Corporation since 2001 and teaches monthly classes on credit, money management and the home buying process. Ms. Holcroft also provides individual housing counseling sessions to help clients achieve their financial goals.  Ms. Holcroft has worked with families to restructure their mortgages, avoid foreclosures and reduce their debts.
 
Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling Genesis Housing Corporation at 610-275-4357 or online at www.genesishousing.org.
 
Genesis Housing Corporation’s housing counseling programs provide free classes and individual counseling helping over 4,800 clients. Monthly classes focus on topics not taught in regular school including understanding credit, credit repair, money management, saving plans, grant programs and understanding the home buying process including selecting a realtor and finding the best mortgage.
 
Since 1994, Genesis Housing Corporation has served Montgomery County as a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development corporation and is dedicated to the development of affordable housing and educating consumers on housing and financial issues.  Genesis Housing Corporation has been certified as a FannieMae Counseling Agency and is approved by PA Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for housing counseling. Genesis Housing Corporation is also an approved agency for many programs including the Montgomery County First-time Home Buyers Program and the Norristown First-time Home Buyers Program.  In addition, Genesis Housing Corporation has developed affordable housing by rehabilitating vacant homes and by building new homes for lower income homebuyers. Genesis Housing Corporation also renovates existing owner-occupied homes for eligible lower income families. Affordable renovated homes are currently available in Pottstown.
For more information on Genesis Housing Corporation programs, please call 610-275-4357 or visit our web site at www.genesishousing.org.
 
The workshops are sponsored by Susquehanna Bank and offered in conjunction with Genesis Housing Corporation. Genesis Housing Corporation is not affiliated with Susquehanna Bank.

LointerHOME does it again!

Photo courtesy of Betsy Barron
I attended LointerHOME’s open house at 467 Farmington Avenue last Thursday and figured I’d blog about it this week… Then I got word this past Tuesday night that the home was already under contract for above the asking price! Looks like LointerHOME’s reputation is growing by leaps and bounds, as well it should. I thought I’d feature this project because it’s a great example of the opportunities in Pottstown for sound real estate investment in homeownership for developers who do quality work.

LointerHOME specializes in the renovation of distressed and foreclosed homes. They work in Miami, Los Angeles, West Chester and Pottstown, with their previous Pottstown project being a foreclosed Edwardian townhome on King Street. Their next project will take them to 426 King Street. The Farmington Avenue home and 426 King were acquired from the Borough after the Borough came into possession via free-and-clear tax sales.

The home at 467 Farmington was marketed by Lori Vanderbilt of Coldwell Banker Hearthside in Collegeville. The gorgeous photos at http://467farmington.epropertysites.com/ were taken by Betsy Barron, a fine art, freelance photographer from Chester County.

Keller Williams Realty Group in Limerick Ready for 3rd Annual “RED Day”

Associates from Keller Williams Realty Group in Limerick will “Give Where They Live” as part of RED Day, one of the biggest events in the real estate industry. Short for “Renew, Energize and Donate,” RED Day was created to unite Keller Williams Realty offices and associates in an international day of service. The kick-off for the local Keller Williams efforts will be held this Thursday, May 12, 2011.

  Keller Williams Realty Group in Limerick will be supporting Operation Backpack – an organization that provides local hungry students with much needed food for the weekend. In Pottstown alone there are more than 10% of families living below the poverty level and more than 60% of students qualified for free and reduced lunches. Operation backpack works with individuals and organizations to gather donated food and supplies.

The Food Drive begins at 9am on May 12, 2011 with Special Festivities beginning at 11a.m. at the Limerick location at 542 North Lewis Road in Limerick. They will continue to collect food through May 20, 2011 then the drive will continue and culminate with the 5k Run/Fun walk at RiverFront Park in Pottstown PA.

Keller Williams Realty Group will also be holding a Blood Drive conducted by Miller-Keystone Blood Center on Thursday, May 12th from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at their Limerick location. Because there is a desperate need at this time for blood, they encourage you to stop by to show your support to this much needed cause.

For more information about RED Day and how you can participate by donating to Operation Backpack or the Blood Drive, please log on to www.kwrealtygroup.com

During RED Day 2010, over 35,000 Keller Williams associates participated in activities ranging from food and blood drives to cleaning up trash in public parks, doing yard work for neighbors in need or revamping gardens at nursing homes totaling more than 150,000 hours of service, making RED Day one of the biggest events in the real estate industry.

Keller Williams Realty Group is located at 542 North Lewis Road in Limerick, PA. Their mission is to Build Careers Worth Having, Businesses Worth Owning, and Lives Worth Living. For more information on a career in real estate, or to find out how to be a part of their growing team in Limerick, please visit their website at www.kwrealtygroup.com

Urban planners to study Pottstown’s riverfront

A group of urban planners earning continuing education credits will soon be studying Pottstown’s riverfront and coming up with concepts for the Borough to consider – all free of charge. Last night Borough Council voted 7-0 to endorse the Borough’s participation in the online class.

Rutgers University’s Professional Development Institute (PDI) offers a range of courses to urban planners and other land use professionals from all over the United States and the world. They recently put out a call for communities who had land use and design challenges that could be the focus of one of their 5.5 week urban design studios.

As The Mercury reports today in “Urban planners ‘assigned’ to Pottstown riverfront as case study,” there has been much talk in the past year about the Urban Land Institute’s 2009 report that urged the Borough to create “a place of magic” on Pottstown’s riverfront. The PDI class will look at the numerous physical constraints and possibilities along the river, while learning urban design concepts from instructor Matt Wanamaker, a principal of the Philadelphia urban design and place-making firm Brown & Keener.

Brown & Keener’s home page states its mission simply:
“Envision futures.
Raise civic expectations.
Create agendas for change.
Make great places.”

As “the client” the Borough should end up with multiple concepts along with rough sketches from the class. Local officials, such as Chris Huff from the Planning Commission and Councilor Joe Kirkland, will be able to participate in the online discussions and respond to questions as they arise. The goal for the Borough is to get some realistic and fresh ideas that will spur community discussion about its vision for the riverfront. The class was announced on the PDI blog last week and had 7 people signed up within a couple days, according to Leo Vazquez, Director of PDI at Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. If all goes well, there could be other opportunities to collaborate with PDI in the future – a win-win for the professionals taking PDI courses and for Pottstown.

Free housing counseling workshops offered

Genesis Housing Corporation will hold FREE workshops on Tuesday evenings, January 18th, January 25th and February 1st, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the PDIDA Offices, 139 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. National Penn Bank is sponsoring these workshops and is offering gift cards to anyone who pre-registers and attends all three workshops.

The workshops are designed to help to:

·         Understand Credit — Information on credit scores, improving your scores, re-establishing credit, dealing with debt.  Workshop participants can obtain a free credit report with scores (Tuesday, January 18, 2011).

·         Money Management – Information on preparing realistic budgets that are more than just monthly bills, prioritizing spending in tough times and understanding how current spending impacts future financial options (Tuesday, January 25, 2011).

·         Home Buying Basics — Information the home buying process — finding a realtor, home inspections, Agreements of Sale, mortgages and first-time homebuyer grant programs (Tuesday, February 1, 2011).

Nikki Holcroft, an award winning and certified housing counselor, will teach the workshops. Ms. Holcroft has more than twenty-five years experience working as a housing counselor, mortgage banker and community lender. Ms. Holcroft has worked with Genesis Housing Corporation since 2001 and teaches monthly classes on credit, money management and the home buying process. Ms. Holcroft also provides individual housing counseling sessions to help clients achieve their financial goals.  Ms. Holcroft has worked with families to restructure their mortgages, avoid foreclosures and reduce their debts.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Genesis Housing Corporation at 610-275-4357 or online at www.genesishousing.org. Registration forms can also be obtained at National Penn Bank, High and Franklin Streets, Pottstown, PA or by calling National Penn Bank at 610-327-0400.

(To download a flyer regarding the workshops, click here: Housing Counseling flyer.)

Check out this gorgeous renovation on High St.!

The Mercury has a great feature on Brian and Lori Patrick’s renovation of 221 E. High Street. They’re operating Affinity Property Management out of the first floor and are living on the second and third floors. I just met Mr. Patrick this past Friday, but didn’t realize they’d also made the building their home.

Judging from the photos, they have done an outstanding job using many local contractors and local architect, P. Richard Frantz (did I ever tell you that I used to be Mr. Frantz’s “papergirl”? My first job: delivering the daily Philadelphia Bulletin & the Sunday Inquirer.)

I hope this article lets others see & believe the amazing potential offered by Pottstown’s historic buildings!

Pottstown: Time for the full-court press?

The article about Danville, PA that we just added to our Revitalization Library got me thinking about very specific actions that Pottstown might want to consider now.

Why not take the $45,000 remaining after painting the Mrs. Smith’s building brick red and apply it to QUANTIFIABLE & VISIBLE ACTIONS to improve Pottstown’s downtown?

High Street is THE face of Pottstown. People take one look and make a snap judgment, maybe without even getting out of their cars. Pretty soon High Street is going to be beautifully illuminated. Now is the time to press any advantage to be gained from that, coordinate resources, and put out a blitz of tried-and-true downtown economic development strategies.

1) I’ve heard from several sources that there was a downtown site  inventory/survey started or completed as follow-up to the Economic Development Strategic PlanWhere is it? Resurrect & update it. Find a simple, clean, attractive, inexpensive way to create an online database with key information about vacant properties that are available for sale or rent; allow for uploading of photos. Call upon Montgomery County Community College’s new urban planning students to help with site inventory and in getting additional info from local realtors and the county’s property records database. Input the data and unveil a new downtown district marketing tool via PDIDA’s website.

2) Determine the vacancy rate in the downtown and set a goal for getting X number of additional storefronts occupied within 6 months. Use some of the $45K to create a rent subsidy/marketing incentives package to attract new businesses that have solid business plans. Include existing businesses in the marketing plans. (I don’t know what PDIDA’s budget is, but I’m pretty sure it needs more resources to get its job done.)

3)  There is this wonderful resource for new and existing business owners right in the New York Plaza building at 244 High Street: SCORE. They’re a non-profit business mentoring association that gets funding from the U.S. Small Business Association. Four times a year they offer a workshop seriesto help with all aspects of running a business. They offer other courses as well, all of which are taught by experienced professionals who volunteer their time to share their knowledge. Use some of the $45K to fund partial scholarships for new Pottstown-based businesses and nearly-full scholarships for existing business owners.

Imagine the messages the Borough could pretty quickly & easily send to the business world:

1) Here’s our downtown property inventory; we want to help you find the space that works for your business.

2) If you have a solid business plan, we will help with the rent during a pre-determined start-up phase.

3) We help promote all our businesses.

4) We will fund training workshops and introduce you to a network of business professionals to help you succeed.

5) By the time the 2011 First Saturdays start up again, there will be a VISIBLE difference in the downtown.

6) By coordinating the expertise already in the community, we can make $45K go a long way.

High Street is how the outside world judges you.At some point, you gotta put on your full-court press.

(Ideally, along a parallel path, the Borough would be doing the same thing for its industrial sites, including facilitating brownfield clean-up & marketing the sites nationwide, even internationally. I’d put an emphasis on green manufacturing and renewable energy tech companies, but that’s just me.)

Pottstown 101: Required Reading

I promised to put up links to as many reports & studies as I could find, and here they are. I’m sure other people may have more (or less) required reading in order to get up to speed on Pottstown planning issues. My current list is below.

I made a huge score when I found three studies I knew about, but hadn’t seen before, at the Pottstown Citizens for Responsible Government website – items f, j and k, below. Thank you to PCRG for posting.

WordPress has been acting funny today… The “preview” feature isn’t working now. I hope this post comes out okay…

**Added 09/13/2012**

PottstownHAP_FINAL_July2011 – Borough of Pottstown Heritage Action Plan – 2011

a. Pottstown Economic Development Strategic Plan – 2008
b. ULI report – 2009
c. Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Comprehensive Plan – 2005
d. 422 Corridor Master Plan – 2010 (Pottstown Borough-specific brochure)
e. Washington Street Action Plan – 2010
f. Core District Redevelopment Plan – 2003
g. Land Use (multiple sections to choose from) & Zoning Ordinance
h. Health & Wellness Foundation 2008 Needs Assessment Report – 2009
i. Open Space Plan – 2006 (scroll down to Pottstown link)
j. Western Riverfront District Redevelopment Plan – 2002
k. Reconnections: Reconnecting the People of North Coventry Township & Pottstown Borough with Each Other & Their Schuylkill River Heritage – 2004
l. Fire Services Assessment – 2009

WANTED: Artists!

This just hit my inbox: Realtor Joe Leone is advertising available space in downtown Pottstown that he says would be ideal for an art gallery or artists’ studios. The space is in the former New York Store building at the corner of High and Penn Streets. With its distinctive retro facade, no one will have any trouble tracking down any artists who locate there.

The building has elevators, lots of parking in the rear, along with outdoor patios in the rear on two levels. And it’s in the heart of the downtown, a stone’s throw from The Gallery on High, Tri-County Performing Arts Center and several restaurants. Artists: Pottstown wants you. Get in on its revitalization now and reap the benefits for years to come!

This is Mr. Leone’s website.

238 E. High Street flyer

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: