Several new developments in Pottstown, including a newly constructed downtown branch of Tompkins VIST Bank, are bringing hope that a revitalization of the town is on the way, writes Daniel Block for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“You don’t see a lot of brick-and-mortar bank branches being opened these days,” said Steve Bamford, executive director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development. “And when you do see a brick-and-mortar bank branch opening, it’s rarely downtown.”
Despite its location in one of the wealthiest counties in the state, Pottstown often appears as if it has been forgotten by prosperity. According to the Nielsen service, out of 339 municipalities in the eight-county Philadelphia region, Pottstown checks in at 332 for median income and home values.
Once a manufacturing powerhouse, Pottstown has been struggling for the last half-century, losing several factories and with them a significant part of its population. The town has also had to wrestle with crime rates that are sometimes triple the average for Montco.
Due to a wave of arrests in 2015 aimed at curtailing gang violence, Pottstown has seen a wane in criminal activities over the last year, which has started to positively impact the economy.
“The business community may not have looked at Pottstown as an area that they want to go to because of some of the criminal element,” said Steele. “But I think that’s changing, and I think that’s something this effort can help with.”
That seems to be true, as in addition to the new bank branch, an Asian-Fusion restaurant and a gastropub are planning to open on High Street. In total, 11 buildings have been bought by investors over the last 20 months.
Read more about the developments in Pottstown from the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.