Reading City Council to honor Al Boscov; public invited to speak

Meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers

READING, Pa. - Members of Reading City Council will begin their formal session Monday evening with a formal tribute to the late Al Boscov.

Special guests will be on hand for the meeting, which is set to start at 7 p.m. in council chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 815 Washington Street, according to Councilwoman Donna Reed, the council's vice president.

Members of the public are also invited to offer their thoughts on Boscov, however, they must formally register to speak prior to the start of the meeting. They will be limited to the usual three-minute timeframe.

Boscov died Friday night after a brief battle with cancer. He was 87.

In addition to serving as chairman of Boscov's department stores, he was also a noted philanthropist who was instrumental in bringing several development efforts in Reading to reality, including the DoubleTree Hotel on Penn Street, the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts at South Second and Washington streets, and the Reading Movies 11 & IMAX on South Second Street.

Boscov also co-founded Our City Reading, a nonprofit organization that has helped hundreds of families become first-time homebuyers.

"I've known Al for many many years, many years, even before I was mayor," said Tom McMahon, a former Reading mayor. "He was an amazing guy, and this city got a tremendous loss. I don't know how we'll fill the void."

The two worked closely on projects like the GoggleWorks and housing redevelopment. No challenge was too big. Even when Boscov left his company in 2006 and saw it go into bankruptcy two years later, he came back into the fold to make it right.

"He always had a phrase, 'We're going to win this,'" said McMahon, "and he meant it."

Singing a familiar tune, John Ernesto of the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest.

"Beyond description," said Ernesto. "So many things can be said about Albert. He really cared about [jazz fest]. He cared about it because of what it meant to the community.

"Those times I will cherish forever," said Ernesto.

Boscov needed no introduction. Now, he's receiving a farewell fit for a king.

A public memorial service is set for Sunday, February 26 at 1 p.m. at the Santander Arena on Penn Street in downtown Reading.

In lieu of flowers, the Boscov family asks that contributions be made to the GoggleWorks or Our City Reading.

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