Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer seeks creation of community development corporation

Mayor wants to form group to focus on community development

READING, Pa. - Reading's mayor is calling for the creation of a new group to lead the city's community development efforts.

The proposed Community Development Corporation is a joint initiative involving officials from the mayor's office, the Downtown Improvement District and the city's housing, water, redevelopment and parking authorities, Mayor Vaughn Spencer announced during a news conference at City Hall on Wednesday.

If approved by Reading City Council and the executive boards of each authority, the CDC would focus on five areas of operation: economic development, municipal finance, community engagement, public service delivery and public relations/marketing, Spencer said.

Spencer pointed to the city's use of $2.5 million in federal money to buy five buildings on Penn Street and North 5th Street last month as an example of the work the CDC could achieve.

"The recent Main Street designation and property acquisitions in the 400 block of Penn Street were accomplished through the collaborative effort of many diverse groups and organizations," Spencer said. "The proposed CDC takes that collaborative spirit to a new level."

The city is still working to develop a plan for use of the properties, which include the former Citizens Bank building at 5th and Penn streets.

If all parties approve the plan for the CDC, the mayor said an executive director could be hired by mid-October.

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