Now is the time to dig in and break ground on the latest in economic development in the tri-county region. It takes the right tools to start, or grow, a business. And it takes customers to keep your business growing. Your Chamber of Commerce builds strong businesses and communities by connecting you to new customers and suppliers as well as to those who influence the local economy and quality of life. You'll get the tools and resources you need to grow and make a positive impact.
The completion of the Pottstown Expressway, Route 422, in the spring of 1985 led to a remarkable amount of residential and commercial expansion in the area.
Today, companies dealing in electronics, plastics, automotive products, die castings, commercial printing, television equipment, precision instruments, power tools and many other products are manufactured in the tri-county area and are exported world-wide. Pottstown serves as the heart of the region that has grown and flourished. Its industries and businesses have diversified to serve the ever-changing needs of the community.
As for the future, the US 422 Corridor Master Plan, developed by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), forecasts significant growth (25%) to continue, including an additional 21,000 housing units and 28,000 jobs for the corridor through 2030.
• Largest Employers in the tri-county area
The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA), serves as an advocate to improve and strengthen both non-business and business aspects of Downtown Pottstown. To accomplish this goal, PDIDA focuses on enhancing a 5-block area, Downtown Pottstown's image to businesses, consumers, and investors while supporting the rehabilitation of Downtown Pottstown's unique historic district and main shopping venues. The Pottstown Downtown Foundation (PDF) was organized to provide resources and coordinate leadership for PDIDA. The PDF focus is geographically larger than PDIDA, enabling a broader base of support and involvement for business development. For more information call 610.323.5400 or visit www.downtownpottstown.org.
Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. (PAID, Inc.) is an affiliate of the TriCounty Area Chamber whose mission is to promote commercial and industrial development in the Greater Pottstown Area. PAID, Inc. developed and sold a 32 lot industrial complex known as the Pottstown Airport Business Campus. Along High Street, they secured commercial retail properties and resold with financing to attract new businesses to the downtown of Pottstown. PAID, Inc. is working with the Borough of Pottstown, Montgomery County, private economic development organizations and the business community to create a long range vision that will lead to new business and employment opportunities for the region. For more information contact Steve Bamford, Executive Director, at 610.326.2900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a summary of some of the recent actions that have impacted economic development in the Borough of Pottstown:
• The Borough worked in cooperation with Montgomery County Community College and the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area to complete the conversion plans of the former PECO building at 140 College Drive. This building was purchased by the Borough with Montgomery County Open Space funding. According to Open Space requirements, the ownership of the building had to remain with the Borough for five years. After extensive renovations, the Schuylkill River group moved from Wyomissing into their new facility in 2002. The next phase involved MCCC acquiring the building from the Borough for available space to renovate into classrooms, faculty offices, and focus on new environmental science courses, using as much green building technology as possible.
• At the former Mrs. Smith's site, Cornell Homes has constructed townhomes as part of the Hanover Square site plan along Industrial Highway and across from the Schuylkill River.
• The Borough of Pottstown hosts the Historic Homebuyer's Cultural Show at Montgomery County Community College. The show focuses on the cultural resources of Pottstown. The event is sponsored by local banks, Montgomery County Community College, and numerous other groups and individuals.
• Pottstown Borough has applied for Montgomery County Revitalization Program funding for the Homeownership Initiative Program, the Tri-County Performing Arts Center (now known as the Steel River Playhouse), and Hanover Street Gateway. Pottstown hopes to reopen its Homeownership Initiative Program to first time homebuyers for grants to make improvements to their home in the Core Redevelopment District, support the Steel River Playhouse in its operations and continued capital success, and through the Hanover Street Gateway, improve the Hanover Bridge corridor with streetscape improvements.
• Pottstown Borough received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding dedicated to the design and construction of the Intermodal Transit Facility at the former train station canopy in close proximity to Smith Family Plaza Transit Park and Borough Hall. Improvements included the rehabilitation of the existing train station canopy through structural and electrical upgrades to serve as a transit hub for buses in the Pottstown Area Rapid Transit system (PART). The facility rerouted buses from High and Hanover Streets to the refurbished station and provides weather protection for passengers, eases congestion in downtown Pottstown, and coordinates with existing transportation improvements in the area.
Additionally, Pottstown Borough will be involved in some transportation improvements through Pennsylvania's Community Transportation Initiative Grant (PCTI), which was awarded to both Montgomery and Chester counties in the amount of $1,775,000 for the restriping, installation of bike lanes, parking, and a multi use trail on Hanover Street between River Road and High Street.
Meanwhile, Borough staff continue to work with several existing and potential new businesses for growth opportunities in Pottstown. For more information call 610.970.6500 or visit www.pottstown.org.
In 2002, Marianne Deery, the mayor of Boyertown, read an article about the Main Street Program, a five-year program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Downtown Center designed to revitalize and rebuild community main streets. After proposing the idea to Building a Better Boyertown (BBB), a not-for-profit organization devoted to community improvement, and gaining input from community organizations, businesses, residents, and municipal officials, the BBB decided to apply to the PA Downtown Center in hopes of becoming a Main Street Community.
After meeting basic population requirements as well as the required amount of downtown businesses, BBB moved on to establish a mission statement. Their mission reads: "To keep Boyertown a special kind of place by preserving its historical heritage, maintaining its link to the past as well as cultivating a vibrant present and prosperous future by providing opportunities for business, industry and the arts, while enhancing the quality of life for today and future generations."
The PA Downtown Center also required that a certain number of vision meetings be held to create the vision statement. The community's vision consists of keeping downtown Boyertown a prosperous business area that celebrates the arts as well as its Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Through preserving Victorian architecture along with tree-lined streets, Boyertown will remain an enjoyable setting. BBB furthermore had to establish four objective committees: the organization committee, design committee, promotions committee and economic restructuring committee.
In addition to the committees, a full-time, paid Main Street Manager and assistant were hired to direct the four committees and 200 BBB members. This became a requirement after becoming a Main Street community.
To complete the Main Street application, two final qualifications remained. First, BBB had to raise over $90,000 in commitments to be used to assist in the revitalization over the five-year period. Amazingly, BBB has raised over $350,000 in commitments. Lastly, after completing all other qualifications, the state's Department of Community and Economic Development had to conduct a walking-tour appraisal.
In 2005, BBB was awarded the Organizational Excellence Townie Award. BBB has accomplished much and continues to work on obtaining funding so that they may move forward with streetscape plans and sustainability. A market assessment was completed, and they are moving into the final phase where they have begun recruiting new businesses to the area as well as developing strategies to support existing businesses. They continue to plan events to be enjoyed by people of all ages and interests. They appear to be building a better Boyertown, one block at a time. For more information call 610.369.3054 or visit www.boyertownpa.org.
Additional Economic Development Organizations
Greater Reading Economic Partnership (GREP) is the lead marketing agency and primary point of contact for economic development inquiries relating to the Greater Reading area. They can streamline the site selection process for a new or expanding business by providing regional data and demographics; customized workforce analysis; an online database of available properties; meetings with local leaders; individualized site and regional tours; state and local funding and incentive resources; wage and salary data; and customized research packages. GREP is a one-stop shop, connecting prospects with the information they need to make an informed decision on locating or growing their business in the Greater Reading region. For more information call 610.376.4237 or visit www.greaterreading.com.
Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that has been nurturing economic growth in Chester County and the surrounding region for more than 40 years. The Council's portfolio of business growth services includes: low- interest financing, small business lending, workforce training, retention and expansion, customized international business assistance, land and building site selection, brownfields consultation and remediation, urban redevelopment, and agricultural economic development. The Council also offers state-of-the-art conference and training facilities at its facility in Eagleview.
Co-located at CCEDC's facilities are over 15 economic development service providers. Services available through CCEDC's building partners include: technology support services, small business consulting and education, customized workforce training, job matching and career transition assistance, and productivity improvement services for manufacturers. For more information call 610.458.5700 or visit www.cceconomicdevelopment.com.
The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is a private, nonprofit, membership based economic development organization that has been dedicated to serving Montgomery County since 1964. MCEDC provides a wide variety of services which enhance business growth for companies interested in locating or expanding in Montgomery County. Services include: low-interest financing, small business lending, workforce training, international business assistance, site and building location searches, administration of business grants and assistance with municipal issues. For more information call 610.272.5000 or visit www.montcoedc.com.
The County of Montgomery Department of Economic and Workforce Development oversees many local economic and workforce programs, including those that stimulate business in the county and aid residents who are seeking jobs. The group manages the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board, the Montgomery County Industrial Development Authority, the Montgomery County Development Corporation, Montgomery County PA WORKWEAR, CareerLink, the Office of Career Development, and the Youth Council and EARN, a welfare to work program. For more information call 610.278.5950 or visit www.montcoworks.com.
The Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee (PMRPC) consists of eight local municipalities that are authorized to oversee the implementation of the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Comprehensive Plan, currently one of the largest multi-municipal planning efforts taking place in Pennsylvania. For more information call Jim Ennis at 610.278.3757 or visit www.montcopa.org.
Economic Development Organizations:
Berks County Department of Community and Economic Development
633 Court Street, 14th Floor, Reading, PA 19601
610.478.6283 / www.co.berks.pa.us
Building a Better Boyertown *
12 N. Reading Avenue, Boyertown, PA 19512
610.369.3054 / www.boyertownpa.org
Chester County Economic Development Council
737 Constitution Drive, Exton, PA 19341
610.458.5700 / www.cceconomicdevelopment.com
Greater Reading Economic Partnership *
201 Penn Street, Suite 502, Reading, PA 19601
610.376.4237 / www.greaterreading.com
Limerick Township Industrial Development Authority *
646 West Ridge Pike, Limerick, PA 19468
610.495.6432 / www.limerickpa.org
County of Montgomery Economic and Workforce Development
Human Services Center
1430 DeKalb Street, 5th Floor, PO Box 311
Norristown, PA 19404-0311
610.278.5950 / www.montcoworks.com
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation *
420 West Germantown Pike, East Norriton, PA 19403
610.272.5000 / www.montcoedc.com
Office of Community and Economic Development
City of Reading
815 Washington Street, Reading, PA 19601
1.877.727.3234 / www.readingpa.gov
Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. *
152 E. High Street, Suite 360, Pottstown, PA 19464
610.326.2900 / www.paidinc.org
Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority
139 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464
610.323.5400 / www.downtownpottstown.com
Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County
104 W. Main Street, Suite 2, Norristown, PA 19401
610.275.5300 / www.montcorda.org
* Chamber Member
Contact your local municipalities about additional economic development projects.