READING, Pa. - Reading has used $2.5 million in federal money to buy five properties in center city, officials announced Tuesday.
The acquisition of the properties at 445, 447, 449, and 451 Penn St. and 12 North 5th St. is a key component in the city's plans for downtown revitalization, officials said.
"Our plan is to take initial control of these properties to ensure that they are rehabilitated and reused in ways that are keeping with our plans for downtown," said Mayor Vaughn Spencer, D-Reading.
The block of properties, which have been owned since 2004 by Rafi and Shaul Ashkenazi, is located within the area that the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has designated a "Main Street" program. An official announcement on that is planned for Wednesday.
One of the properties, the old Farmers National Bank building, was recently vacated by Citizens Bank. Some of the properties are still occupied while others need considerable work, said officials, adding that the next step will be to develop a plan for their reuse.
"Our plan is to have professionally designed options for this important block," said Carole Snyder, the city's managing director. "We need a design that will both preserve the stately architecture of these historic buildings and create viable and desirable uses for downtown."
The state Main Street designation, officials said, will help the city further improve the downtown business area, with the program's tagline being "Downtown Reading…All Aboard!"
Resources will include grants for façade and street-scape improvements, business attraction and retention and other economic development efforts.
The City of Reading Planning Commission met Tuesday evening for a regular meeting to review and vote on various land development plans, but not before recognizing the service of one of their own.Read More »
- Twin Valley, Hamburg ousted from districts on heart breakers
- Wilson WL boys win thriller with Cumberland Valley in District 3 semi
- Fightins suffer season-high 4th straight loss
- Fidget Spinners causing controversy in schools
- BCAP holds open house at new location in downtown Reading
- Leesport VFW honors young soldier home from service
- APD looking for woman who yelled "sorry" after dragging boy on bike behind car
- The "Textalyzer" could be coming to a police station near you
- XO Communications cutting more than 50 jobs in Berks
- New Palmer receives $347K grant for Chrin Field development project
- New Phillipsburg steps back salary ranges after resident complaints
- New Reading Planning Commission, Alvernia move forward with Health Complex
- New Pa. DEP Holds IESI Landfill Meeting
- New Easton's new police headquarters taking shape
- 11 people seated on Cosby jury; defense sees race bias
- Northampton DA investigates trooper-involved shooting