Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Walkability in West Reading

An Elm Street Manager, Dean Rohrbach writes about the success of revitalizing his community -- and seems to explain that sidewalks are a key component of successful business districts. I invite other Berks County communities to build pedestrian task forces where residents, business leaders, and government officials work together to enhance their communities.

Hotel demonstrates what can be done (2/18/09)
I was happy to see Darrin Youker's article "West Reading hotel set to open in May" (Reading Eagle, Feb. 10) on the $5.6 million Candlewood Suites soon to be completed in West Reading.

The Candlewood project demonstrated how residents, business leaders and government officials can work to remove blight, stabilize borderline areas and revitalize older neighborhoods.

This investment adds to the attractive streetscape and needed infrastructure improvements to the business district completed by the West Reading Main Street economic development program. In addition the Berks County Redevelopment Authority invested $190,000 to improve Franklin Street last year.The Elm Street program community development program invested $161,136 in street improvements on Second Avenue in 2007 with another $225,000 planned for Yarnell and Grape streets in 2009.

R.M. Palmer Co. also did its part by investing $40,000 to install new sidewalks on the first block of South Second Avenue in 2008.

Candlewood Suites has been the latest part in a comprehensive revitalization strategy in West Reading that has produced livable residential neighborhoods, a vibrant regional shopping destination and cosmopolitan hub known for specialty shops and a wide variety of dining experiences.

Dean L. Rohrbach
West Reading Elm Street

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