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  • Writer's pictureIsaac Kwon

Strengthening the Economy & Neighborhoods in the Core of Berks County

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Since 2010, Urban Partners has provided on-going consultant services to support the Community & Economic Development Initiative of the The Wyomissing Foundation (TWF) in Berks County, PA. This initiative focuses on strengthening the economy and neighborhoods in the “core of Berks County”—the City of Reading and adjacent boroughs. As part of this effort, TWF has worked with the Elm Street and Main Street programs in West Reading to re-invigorate those efforts and to deal with increasing signs of blight.

A particular early concern was speculator acquisition of less well-maintained homes adjacent to Penn Avenue (the Main Street). Urban Partners helped West Reading’s Elm Street design an intervention—the PAAR program—which acquired five homes in marginal condition, rehabilitated them, and sold them to new homeowners. Investment by TWF and other partner foundations provided flexible subsidies. This four-year effort increased overall property values and eliminated speculation in the neighborhood.

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