Berks

$1M grant set to give Boyertown tourism, economic boost

'We have a vision that... we can execute'

BOYERTOWN, Pa. - Boyertown is getting some big bucks. The Berks County borough was awarded a $1 million grant Friday afternoon, and all the money is going to downtown revitalization.

Portions of it will be dispersed to area organizations to make Boyertown an even larger tourist attraction and provide a much-needed economic boost.

Boyertown may be a small, but the passion of the people who live and work there is huge. For a year, members of a committee, with the help of a $120,000 grant from BB&T Economic Growth Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation, worked to devise a plan to build up tourism in town.

Tourism is already a prime economic driver, but officials with Building a Better Boyertown said the new plan will make it even stronger.

"Excitement, just absolute excitement for our town, for the fact that we have a vision that I believe that we can execute and will execute," said Lynn Camella-Rich, vice president of Building a Better Boyertown.

The plan will include constructing a tourism office, along with all the brochures, websites and staff that go with that, but most central to the plan is the rail yard restoration project.

"We identified some key economic transformational strategies, which first and foremost in historic and cultural tourism as the railroad as an anchor and car museum," said Camella-Rich

All of the planned improvements are possible thanks to another BB&T grant for $1 million.

"These funds will be used to fund a plan under the action and vision plan for building a better Boyertown around tourism, the farmers market, and really making Boyertown a bigger destination for tourists," said BB&T group executive Scott Fainor.

Once the revitalization begins, it's expected to take three to four years for everything to come together.

"It's gonna take a village to pull it off, but I believe Boyertown has shown we can do that," Camella-Rich said.

BB&T has also issued a challenge to the community to raise $500,000. If it can, BB&T will match that, giving the borough a total of $2 million to go toward the vision and action plan.


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