SOUTH HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. – Township supervisors in South Heidelberg are working to attract more businesses while maintaining the distinct geographical backdrops that define the area, as well as responding to what the surrounding communities want.
"Part of the township's approach is really to balance the rural character of the township, really heading to the south of the township, we have beautiful farms, rural landscaping," said Sean McKee, township manager.
The area at Aspen Road and Route 422 on the edge of the township in Berks County is piled high with the symbols of something new coming, in the form of bulldozers and large mounds of moved earth.
"How can we responsibly develop those areas and encourage economic growth and bring in businesses that provide jobs that are good neighbors to our citizens and really add to the community?" posed McKee.
The township says the acres of development are split into four sections with a Starbucks and a credit union planned, as well as space for other tenants.
"Certainly the citizens around that development have experienced a little bit of hardship with some of the construction," said McKee. "We are very aware of that. But as this project moves along, it's going to create a really nice commercial area."
Township leaders say it could speak to a local economy moving closer to recovery but also how the township handles potential development.
"Things like having pre-submission meetings with developers to talk through what they're planning," McKee said, "where they're planning it, and really look at it so that we can really vet these projects."
The first phase of completion for Members First Credit Union is expected in the fall.