West Reading, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf joined local business and community development leaders to tour several community revitalization projects in the borough of West Reading, Berks County. The projects were funded through collaboration from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation (WRCRF), and private sources.
“Beautiful communities like this are what happens when the public, private, and nonprofit sectors all come together with a shared vision,” said Governor Wolf. “Seeing these success stories – along with hearing the joy they bring to residents and the boost they bring to local businesses – means that these community development initiatives are raising the quality of life here in West Reading. I’m excited to see what’s in store for this community’s future.”
WRCRF and DCED have heavily supported West Reading to successfully combat blighting influences that were rife to overwhelm the borough in the early 1990s. Since that time, programs like DCED’s Keystone Communities Main Street and Elm Street programs have helped encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors that jointly support local initiatives such as the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities, social and economic diversity, and a strong and secure quality of life. In the past five years, the Keystone Communities program has provided nearly $600,000 in funding to West Reading community development projects.
“We wouldn’t be able to accomplish all we do without the support of our many volunteers and donors who have helped make our vision and ideas become reality,” said Dean L. Rohrbach, West Reading Elm Street manager. “Many of our partners have told me the reason they support us is because of the state’s support that protects and leverages their investment.”
The tour included a recent streetscape project supported by the Keystone Communities Elm Street program. The project addresses problems of old, deteriorated and unsightly sidewalks and broken curbs, and a lack of green space and rain water permeability.
DCED contributed nearly $250,000 into the over $300,000 project, with additional funding provided by West Reading Borough, Reading Hospital, and the WRCRF through several nonprofits.
The tour also included the results of the annual “Paint the Town” event in which volunteers paint the front facades of homes on a chosen block in historic three-color schemes; as well as stops at a façade improvement project funded by DCED across from borough hall, and the Mural Corridor on Cherry Street.
WRCRF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to advance the vitality of commercial areas through the Main Street program and livability of residential areas through the Elm Street program in West Reading. It has formed very strong, long-lasting, and diverse partnerships with organizations that help it leverage state funds to fight blighting influences and improve West Reading’s quality of life for visitors and residents.