Community Garden info. session this Saturday at Victory Christian

This is just a reminder that an information session will be held this Saturday afternoon from 2-3 pm at Victory Christian Life Center at 28 N. Washington Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Come out to get an application and learn all about the community garden being built by MOSAIC Community Land Trust at 423 Chestnut Street!

To read about our last info session, check out this article written by Joe Zlomek of The Sanatoga Post. And here is another link to a post about the garden at the PEAK blog. Thanks for the coverage, Joe and Mary!

Info sessions on Pottstown’s first Community Garden to be held tonight and Saturday

MOSAIC Community Land Trust is holding another information session tonight about the community garden being built this spring at 423 Chestnut Street. (See the concept plan below.) All Pottstown residents, business owners, community organizations, and youth groups are encouraged to attend.

Have you ever wanted your own garden, but didn’t have enough room in your yard? Would you like your children to learn how to grow their own fresh vegetables? Would you like to grow fresh herbs for your restaurant?

Thanks to a grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, MOSAIC Community Garden will give individuals, families, and community groups the chance to  work side-by-side on their own garden plots. 

Information sessions will be held tonight and this coming Saturday:

February 21 from 7-8 pm, MOSAIC’s office, 10 S. Hanover St.

February 25 from 2-3 pm at Victory Christian Life Center, 28 N. Washington St.

Applications will be available at the meetings or on our website: They can be dropped off at any of the above locations or mailed to MOSAIC Community Land Trust, 10 S. Hanover St., Pottstown, PA 19464 by March 1.

For more information, contact Sue Repko, MOSAIC Executive Director, at 609-658-9043 or

In the event that there are more applications than garden plots, a public lottery will be held at MOSAIC’s offices on Sunday, March 11 at 2 pm.

Garden Concept Plan

MOSAIC to hold information sessions about Community Garden

Have you ever wanted to have your own garden, but didn’t have enough room in your yard? Would you like your children to learn how to grow their own fresh vegetables, but don’t know where to begin?

This spring MOSAIC Community Land Trust is building Pottstown’s first community garden at 423 Chestnut Street. They will be holding three information sessions during the month of February to explain what community gardens are all about and to take applications for approximately 40 raised bed garden plots for the 2012 season.

In addition to the garden plots, there will be compost bins, rain barrels, pavers, fencing, trellis, perennial gardens, a storage shed, and water service for irrigation.

The MOSAIC Community Garden is being built with a $30,000 grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. The property at 423 Chestnut Street was donated by thePottstown School District last spring, and other major donors and volunteers includePottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Other donations have already been received from Genesis Housing/Susquehanna BankLowes, Davey Tree ExpertsAndrew Monastra, Esq., the Borough of Pottstown, and many other individuals and volunteers.

According to the American Community Gardening Association, a community garden is “any piece of land gardened by a group of people.”

Typically, community gardens transform vacant lots into beautiful and positive community gathering places. While fresh, organic food is typically more expensive and out of financial reach for many people, the cost to grow and harvest one’s own food is significantly less. Residents pay a small annual fee to lease their plot and actively cultivate it throughout the entire growing season. MOSAIC plans to provide educational workshops for new and experienced gardeners. Individuals, families, community organizations, youth groups, and local restaurants are all welcome to apply for a plot.

The information sessions will be held at the following times and locations in Pottstown:

Tuesday, February 14 from 7-8 pm at the Ricketts Community Center, 640 Beech Street

Tuesday, February 21 from 7-8 pm at MOSAIC’s office, 10 S. Hanover Street

Saturday, February 25 from 2-3 pm at Victory Christian Life Center, 28-30 N. Washington Street

Applications will be available at the meetings and can be dropped off at any of the above locations or mailed to MOSAIC Community Land Trust by March 1. In the event that there are more applications than garden plots, a public lottery will be held at MOSAIC’s offices on Sunday, March 11 at 2 pm. For more information, contact Sue Repko, MOSAIC Executive Director, at 609-658-9043 or

MOSAIC Community Land Trust reception this Saturday

Please join the MOSAIC Community Land Trust for a FREE reception this Saturday, November 12 from 7-9 pm as they thank their Community Garden volunteers and welcome guests to their office and gallery located at 10 South Hanover Street, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, across from the Brick House restaurant.

Exhibiting artists are Raun Kercher and Lev Ritvalsky. 

MOSAIC will also be unveiling its new logo, which was designed by Raun.

For more information on MOSAIC Community Land Trust, please visit and subscribe to the blog here or become a friend on Facebook. Pottstown is on the brink of revitalization, and MOSAIC is a part of that. You can learn about other events, how to get involved, and follow the development of the community garden at 423 Chestnut Street by getting connected.

Raun Kercher

“Raun Kercher’s artwork covers a history of American music from the genres of both American Blues and Jazz. The artwork tells a history while capturing emotions expressed in music.”

Read a previous review of Raun Kercher’s Exhibition here, or visit his website

Let Ritvalsky
“My art, regardless of the medium I’m using, is simply an end result of whatever happiness runs from my brain through my hands to my tools each day that I work. This talent brings great energy to my life and I am honored to have it. My art isn’t about making a statement, unless that statement is to bring a smile to someone when they see my work.”

MOSAIC Community Land Trust & Gallery on High put out call to artists

MOSAIC, The Pottstown Community Land Trust and The Gallery on High are proud to announce an open call to artists for a juried logo design competition and exhibit.  The winning design will be selected as the logo for The Pottstown Community Land Trust, and $500 will be awarded to the artist. Submissions may be in 2D or 3D in any media; all submissions must include a mosaic-styled image and must be original to the artist submitting.

Pottstown is in the midst of revitalization. Its history is tied to the river, the steel industry, Mrs. Smith’s Pies and manufacturing. Charming 18th & 19th century architecture lines its streets. The ARTS and INNOVATION are key to the sustainability of Pottstown’s renaissance. Artists’ designs should bring out the many meanings of “mosaic” for Pottstown:

  • bringing together a multi-faceted, multi-hued community;
  • putting broken shards together to create a thing of beauty;
  • and recognizing the rough-around-the-edges nature ofPottstown’s past.

In exchange for the prize of $500 and recognition in a press release, the winning artist will relinquish his/her rights to the chosen image to the Pottstown Community Land Trust for them to use as their logo in their branding and marketing efforts. The show will be exhibited the week of September 2, 2011, and the winner will be announced on September 7 at a reception being held from 7-9PM. Other important dates, deadlines and entry forms are shown below.

After the announcement of the winner, The Gallery on High will invite the public to vote on their favorite “Mosaic” image. The “People’s Favorite” will be announced at Pottstown’s OPEN DOORS EVENT on September 10 at 2PM at the Gallery on High.

MOSAIC, The Pottstown Community Land Trust is a local non-profit corporation dedicated to increasing affordable homeownership opportunities inPottstown, developing a community garden at 423 Chestnut Street, and empowering residents to participate in the improvement of their own neighborhoods. Collaboration is the key to their efforts to create long-lasting change, and they are already partnering with local businesses, volunteers, Pottstown School District, Pottstown Borough and other community organizations, such as The Gallery and Genesis Housing Corporation. For the past six months, MOSAIC has been working with a nationally-recognized expert in community land trusts, thanks to a grant from National Penn Bank. For more information, check out their website:

Important info for MOSAIC artists

Registration Form

Inventory Sheet

Drop off of art/entries:  Monday, August 29 from 11 AM-1 PM and from 6-8 PM

Exhibit dates: September 2 – 10 at The Gallery on High

Reception:  Wednesday, September 7 from 7-9 PM

Pick-up of art:  Monday, September 12 from 6-7:30 PM or Tuesday September 13 from 11 AM-1 PM

School Board votes to transfer property for community garden

Last night, in a unanimous decision, the Pottstown School Board voted to transfer a vacant lot at 423 Chestnut Street to the MOSAIC Community Land Trust (CLT). Read about it here.

Old Chestnut Street Park

A community land trust is a proven model for promoting affordable homeownership, stabilizing neighborhoods and improving local economies. The community garden at 423 Chestnut will be its first project.

Pottstown’s CLT is a project of the Preservation Pottstown organization founded nearly 30 years ago. The group recently adopted the name MOSAIC Community Land Trust because a mosaic is the coming together of many different, colorful pieces – even some that are a bit rough around the edges! – to create a thing of beauty. (Keep an eye out for an upcoming call for artists to create a mosaic logo for the CLT, in conjunction with The Gallery School!)

The new board of trustees now at the helm of Preservation Pottstown/MOSAIC, with the support of a grant from National Penn Bank (thank you, Sharon McMichael!), have been working with a nationally-known CLT expert, Van Temple, to get its by-laws and operations in order so that it can own and manage projects like the community garden and, eventually, rehab and sell homes to low- and moderate-income working folks.

The School District’s decision is a huge milestone for what it represents: a new wave of partnership and collaboration on a progressive, healthy, sustainable community initiative. This effort has been led by the indomitable spirit of Katy Jackson on behalf of MOSAIC and supported and nurtured by many others, including Dr. Reed Lindley, Stephen Kalis, Andrew Monastra, Jason Bobst, Judy Memberg & Genesis Housing and Al Gryga of DePallo Design & Planning.

While it will be too late to get veggies in the ground for this summer, a team of volunteers and professionals are lined up to begin cleaning up and preparing the lot, perhaps for some fall harvesting, but certainly for next spring. I apologize in advance if I miss anyone in the list that follows – let me know and I’ll get additional names in here! Some of those who have committed to making this happen include: Master Gardeners from Penn State; Shawn Conroy & Lowe’s employees, Alan Jensen-Sellers, Master Arborist with Davey Tree Experts; Eric Schmidt of Colonial Gardens, Mary-Beth Lydon, Chris Huff, Teri Jensen-Sellers, McDonald’s and Giant for refreshments for volunteers, and many, many more.

Teaching children & adults…  meeting neighbors… enjoying the outdoors… getting your hands dirty…  the MOSAIC garden committee is always looking to grow its community. For more information, visit MOSAIC Community Land Trust’s website here.

Two important community meetings tonight

Two meetings tonight will provide key information on various aspects of revitalization and serve as proof of the new collaborative spirit taking hold in Pottstown.

#1  For anyone interested in the status of the Pottstown Area Industrial Development corporation (PAID), the entity responsible for economic development in the Borough, there will be a meeting to announce their new board members this evening at 6 pm at the library on the The Hill School campus. The reconstituted PAID board is an outgrowth of a recommendation by the Urban Land Institute in a 2009 report for the Borough to create a single entity for redevelopment and revitalization. See The Mercury’s article here.

#2 If you want to know more about what’s happening in the Washington Street corridor and how you can get involved, Genesis Housing is holding a meeting called “Let’s Talk” at 7 pm tonight at the Ricketts Center, where you can learn about new projects and help design a community mural. The Ricketts Center is at  640 Beech Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. Community members will be asked for their ideas for a new mural at the Chestnut Street Park and to help to set priorities and develop future projects. An update on Washington Street neighborhood projects,  including the new community garden and the Science in the Park event, will be discussed.  Community concerns about this area and other sections of the Pottstown will be explored with the hope of setting priorities for future projects.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the proposed mural in the Washington St. neighborhood will speak volumes on the tenacity and determination driving the revitalization of Pottstown.  Genesis Housing Corporation, The Gallery on High and Citizens for Pottstown’s Revitalization are in collaboration to develop a mural at the park located at Washington and Chestnut Streets.  The artistic coordinators, Cathy Paretti and Erika Hornburg-Cooper of the Gallery on High have selected Robert Louis Williams, an accomplished local artist to design and create the proposed park mural.  Let’s talk about the different types of murals and what this mural should look like – this is the chance for your input!

Judith Memberg, Executive Director of Genesis Housing Corporation, will provide an update on their Washington Street neighborhood housing developments including the rehabilitation of vacant properties for new home buyers and the homeowner rehab programs.  Information about the Pottstown Homeowner Rehab Program will be provided.

Genesis Housing Corporation serves Montgomery County as a non-profit community development organization and is dedicated to the development of affordable housing and to the education of consumers on housing and financial issues.  For more information, visit their website at or call 610-275-4357.

A Vision for Pottstown: What do YOU see?

As part of the Heritage Action Plan that’s being developed with funding from the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and William Penn Foundation, representatives from lots of organizations and institutions in town got together for a workshop last month, where we talked about our individual visions for Pottstown.

A vision statement should answer these questions: What do we want to create? What do we want our community to look like?

Below is a summary of the workshop participants’ visions for Pottstown. There seemed to be consensus around the idea of a future Pottstown with a safe, clean, revitalized, business-friendly downtown that promotes heritage resources and is accessible by various modes and attractive to families and young people.

1. Envision Pottstown as a revitalized place; focus on downtown; clean up blighted properties. Need for occupied storefronts downtown.
2. Have Pottstown’s streets be clean, welcoming, attractive and safe to bring people into town; heighten police presence; create safe link between Hill School & downtown.
3. Project a new, positive, business-friendly image.
4. Develop and promote a sense of place.
5. Promote a garden feel to Pottstown.
6. Build on existing arts and culture as economic development tool.
7. Envision Pottstown as a place that works together with existing assets/resources.
8. Pottstown should be the cultural leader in the region. Must coordinate offerings.
9. Move drug treatment center to new location.
10. Give Pottstown a progressive image. Add a new twist in arts, culture & sustainability that ties into the trail, natural resources & Pottstown’s history (pie, steel, railroad.)
11. Promote health and healthy living, farmers’ market, bike-sharing program, vibrant streetscape, activity on streets, eyes on the street. Create comfortable atmosphere, place where families are active, walking on streets.
12. Enhance and create transportation linkages, especially to improve foot traffic for businesses; be pedestrian-friendly; improve way-finding. Highlight the airport as a resource. Create a multi-modal community.
13. Market studio & residential space to art students; need more bars/entertainment for young people.


Calendar Updated!

It’s that time of year… spring seems to bring with it lots of arts, cultural and community activities as we all come out of our winter hibernation. Please check out the updated calendar here and start making plans to come downtown, plant a community garden, get involved in a neighborhood watch and participate in the life of your community!

Joint School Board & Borough Council Meeting this Monday

This Monday, Dec. 20th, there will be a joint School Board & Borough Council Meeting at 7:30pm at the Pottstown Middle School in the 2nd floor LGI room.

The agenda will include an update to the community on the PAID partnership, a presentation about a Community Land Trust for Pottstown, and tax assessments. I will be part of the group that is doing the Community Land Trust presentation.

A community land trust (CLT) is a nonprofit model that offers flexibility for engaging in housing, neighborhood stabilization and economic development activities that are appropriate for a particular area. A few notable features of CLTs are:

  • setting & implementing goals with community input
  • having CLT homeowners & other community reps. on its board
  • undertaking an active acquisition program
  • selling buildings at affordable prices while the CLT retains ownership of the land beneath the buildings
  • being stewards of the land and neighborhoods
  • increasing homeownership
  • preventing foreclosures

While most CLTs have as their main goal the creation of permanently affordable, owner-occupied housing in places where housing prices are high or escalating, a CLT for Pottstown would undertake a broader range of activities such as community gardens and economic development initiatives to help bring back market-rate activity.

With input from the community,  a CLT for Pottstown would undertake activities in a targeted way to slow the negative fiscal spiral and coax the market back. Many aspects of this approach have been recommended in study after study.

I’m certainly looking forward to carrying on this conversation & to hear questions and observations from the larger community about how this could work. Hope you can make it Monday night!

Added after original post:

Here’s a link to the Pottstown CLT website.

It’s at

It’s a work-in-progress. A PowerPoint presentation will be posted there after the Monday meeting.


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