READING, Pa. — Tensions rose in the Reading City Council chambers Monday night during talks about revitalizing the city.
"We have not for years and years reached our potential of what we could be," said Councilwoman Donna Reed.
Members of the council raised concerns about not seeing the final version of a plan for the city, compiled by Stantec, an Edmonton, Alberta-based consulting firm, at a cost of $272,000.
Jamal Abodalo, the city's community development coordinator, said the study calls for a second hotel in Reading.
Reed said that caught her by surprise.
"I think that caught a lot of us by surprise, because, of course, we have a terrific hotel here, and it does get full," Reed said. "We have events like [Berks] Jazz Fest, [Reading] Blues Fest."
Reed said the need for another hotel remains questionable.
"At least, to me, at this point, because we do have suburban hotels literally over the city border in Wyomissing and West Reading that, I believe, have some vacancy issues at this point," she said.
Reed said she believes Alvernia University's Reading CollegeTowne initiative is a great step.
"It's at least something concrete going on, but we need to encourage more business," she said. "We need to encourage different kinds of businesses, from small manufacturing to office and retail, and we've got to have a plan to do that."
The Moran administration said it is focused on results.
"I think everybody understands that this administration has only been in place for two years," said Abraham Amoros, the city's managing director. "We have taken the bull by the horns. We have taken a very proactive approach in collaborating with stakeholders. We have really put our noses to the grindstone."