Friday, June 3, 2016

PA’s Top Economic Development Official Tours Schuylkill County’s “Good, Bad, Ugly” with Local Legislators

Submitted Photo
POTTSVILLE – Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) top official, Secretary Dennis Davin, met with local legislators to discuss community revitalization during his visit to the county on Thursday.

Senator David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) and Representative Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill) hosted Davin as part of their ongoing bipartisan efforts to revitalize municipalities throughout the county. The countywide tour included stops in Orwigsburg, Pottsville, Tamaqua and Mahanoy City.

“Secretary Davin gets it – revitalization is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” Argall said. “Each community is different, however, a lot of the problems are the same across the state. The goal of today’s visit is to highlight the successes and struggles of our local municipalities.”

Following a breakfast meeting with members of the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce at the Orwigsburg Veterans Community Memorial Hall, Davin met with Argall and Goodman in Pottsville to review concerns over abandoned and blighted properties.

In Tamaqua, the Secretary met with borough officials at the historic train station to receive an update on the latest efforts with the borough’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) program. In 2014, Tamaqua was the first borough and third municipality in the state to be awarded with a CRIZ designation.

Borough Councilman Micah Gursky also highlighted Tamaqua’s efforts to remediate a major acid mine drainage pool off of Route 309 just south of the Little Schuylkill River and bring new jobs to the area.

Mahanoy City borough officials met with the Secretary to provide an update on the efforts to demolish the remainder of what is left of Kaier’s Brewery, 49 North Main Street, and turn the land into a park for local residents.

“I appreciate the Secretary coming and speaking to the Chamber of Commerce about the different programs available through DCED and then taking the time to tour Schuylkill County,” Goodman said. “Seeing the county first-hand gives him a better understanding of our communities’ needs and will hopefully give our communities a leg-up the next time they apply for funding.”

“Secretary Davin witnessed firsthand the ‘good’ – downtown Orwigsburg and efforts in Tamaqua, the ‘bad’ – various blighted properties in Pottsville, and the ‘ugly’ – Kaier’s Brewery in Mahanoy City – one of the county’s worst eyesores,” Argall said. “Today’s open dialogue with local and state governments is very helpful.”

Submitted Photo/Representative Goodman, left, Senator Argall, second from left, discuss abandoned and blighted buildings with Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Davin, right, in downtown Pottsville. DCED staff members Sarah Miller, center, and Mike Shorr toured the county with Secretary Davin.