City of Pottsville “Elm Street” Program
The City of Pottsville Elm Street Program has been designed to spearhead a neighborhood revitalization effort in a designated older historic district in the City of Pottsville. The City’s Elm Street Program is a comprehensive community revitalization program targeted at improving the housing stock, providing economic opportunity, improving the neighborhood infrastructure, developing “green” space, and providing lighting and signage.
The Elm Street Program was a five-year community revitalization initiative providing the Elm Street neighborhood, and residents of the neighborhood, with programming to help improve/enhance the northern gateway to the City of Pottsville.
Several individual Programs, under the umbrella of the Elm Street Program, have been accomplished through the concerted efforts of the City of Pottsville, neighborhood residents, volunteer groups, and SCA.
Although operational funding ran out in November 2010, SCA will continue to carry out the administrative functions until the program has come to fruition.
Northern Gateway Project
A derelict gas station was demolished at the corner of North Centre and Nichols Streets fully revealing desolate and deteriorating concrete walls.
Through the efforts of a local masonry contractor, Norm Felker, the walls were repaired and parged. A local artist, Martin Braukus, completed the project with a ‘Welcome to Pottsville” mural which incorporates well known local icons.
This project has certainly enhanced the northern entrance/gateway to the City of Pottsville by replacing a blighted building with a visually appealing mural.
North Centre Street Sidewalk and Lighting Project
Completed in May 2008, this project included the replacement of sidewalks and curbing, as well as the installation of streetlights and planting of trees on North Centre Street from Laurel Boulevard to Nichols Street.
2,120 square yards of sidewalk were poured, and 2,280 linear feet of curbing was replaced.
The North Centre Street Sidewalk and Lighting Project has made a vast improvement in the appearance of the Elm Street neighborhood.
Home Renovation Assistance Program
This grant program was offered to the residents of the Elm Street neighborhood to provide assistance in the renovation of their homes in an effort to eliminate code violations, provide energy efficiency, and install accessibility modifications to households where a disabled person resides.
Seven households were assisted with grants ranging up to $15,000 per project.
Pocket Park is located in the 500 block of North Centre Street. Pocket Park was once a row of blighted parcels that included the deteriorated “Going My Way” tavern.
The park has been slowly transformed into a small park/green space with casual seating and a parking area.
After demolition, stone landscape walls have been built; trees, shrubs, and flowers have been planted; mulching has been completed; and the parking area has been paved.
Down Payment Assistance Program
This grant program was offered to first time homebuyers to provide down payment assistance to purchasers of a home within the Elm Street neighborhood.
One family was assisted in the purchase of a home.
Facade Improvement Program
This program was a “matching” grant program to assist homeowners and business with exterior repairs to their property.
Facade improvements included window and door replacement, porch repairs, replacement retaining walls, sidewalk repair, and other exterior renovations.
Five households were assisted with a Facade Improvement grant.
North Centre Street Paving Project
Completed in November 2009, this project included the paving of the ‘600’ and ‘700’ blocks of North Centre Street which runs from Nichols Street to Terry Reiley Way.
Approximately 741 feet of North Centre Street was paved and double yellow traffic lines were painted.
Located between Highway 61 and Terry Reiley Way, Overlook Park has been developed as a “natural” green space for hiking, relaxing, and seeing the sites of the City of Pottsville.
A once barren plateau, Overlook Park provides a panoramic view of the City of Pottsville.
On May 16, 2013, the following presentation was offered as testimony at a public hearing in front of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee in review of Main Street and Elm Street Revitalization Programs in Pennsylvania.
Click here to view the presentation (PDF).
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