Plans For Two Hotels At 15th & Chestnut Taking Shape

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next week, developers will present their designs for the W and Element Hotels planned for 15th and Chestnut streets to the Center City Residents Association. The presentation is for information only: The planned project requires no zoning variances and can be built by right.

According to a description shared with PlanPhilly by an attorney working on the project, the hotels will have a total of 755 rooms. There will be 295 rooms in the four-star W Hotel, and 460 rooms in the three-star, extended-stay Element by Westin. The entire hotel operation will be managed by Starwood, a Connecticut-based hospitality company.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Plans_for_two_hotels_at_15th_and_Chestnut_taking_shape.html#P5wsWYOKxqO3JmVS.99

Gun Violence Escalating In Pottstown, Again…

Warm weather does tend to bring out the criminal element in Pottstown.  Since May 18th there have been a number of incidents of gun violence reported by the Pottstown Mercury and WFMZ-TV.

Here is a recap of what’s been going on:

Armed robbery at the Gulf Station on High Street on May 18th: http://m.wfmz.com/pottstown-armed-robber-on-the-loose/26046054

Student arrested at Pottstown High School, allegedly robs another student at gunpoint on May 28th: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140528/updated-student-arrested-at-pottstown-high-school

Shooting near Brian’s Cafe (scene of a murder last year) on May 31st:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140531/updated-late-night-pottstown-shooting-sends-man-to-hospital

Armed robbery at Wells Fargo Bank on High Street (East End) on May 31st: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140531/updated-high-street-bank-robbed-fbi-seeks-armed-suspect

Police investigating gunshots near Wilson and Spruce Streets on June 2nd: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140602/pottstown-police-investigating-gunshots-near-wilson-and-spruce-streets

Police are investigating a shooting in Pottstown on Chestnut Street on June 3rd: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140603/updated-man-injured-after-shooting-in-pottstown-video

UPDATE: Police are investigating a homicide on Jefferson Avenue in Pottstown on June 5th: https://www.facebook.com/CrimeInPottstown and also the Pottstown Mercuryhttp://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140606/man-found-dead-in-car-in-pottstown

I think the examples above should be some kind of RED FLAG that there is a problem with violent crime in the borough.  And frankly, these are just the big incidents that I could find quickly to illustrate this problem.  A town of 22,480 (2012) should not have this much crime.

People are afraid.  People should expect more for their extremely HIGH TAXES.  If the Pottstown Police Department is overwhelmed then by all means call Harrisburg and ask for some help.  HINT:  Kathleen Kane’s Office for starters.  There is nothing wrong with asking for assistance.  Be proactive instead of reactive.  Maybe “keeping a lid on the powder keg” needs to be replaced with a better strategy?????

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$60-$70 Million Chestnut Street Residential Development Set To Begin

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In what would transform a bedraggled slice of central Philadelphia, demolition crews are weeks away from dismantling nearly an entire side of the 1100 block of Chestnut Street, part of a $60 million to $70 million redevelopment tapping the soaring apartment market and surging appetites to shop and live east of Broad Street.

Zoning approvals and permits are in place, additional property was acquired as recently as Thursday, and a large section of sidewalk has been closed as lead development partner Brickstone Co. prepares to build a complex of loft-style apartments above towering, three-story retail spaces.

The development will stretch almost the length of the south side of Chestnut between 11th and 12th Streets, Brickstone managing partner John J. Connors said.

Connors would not discuss what tenants are being courted, but the project could include a supermarket if rumors swirling among civic activist circles are true.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140425__60-_70_million_Chestnut_Street_residential_development_set_to_begin.html#oF4zBbpGx4j9dij1.99

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Plotting And Planning And Digging..Oh My! MOSAIC Community Gardens Prepared For Planting Season

photoOn Saturday, April 5, the MOSAIC CLT spent a day in community preparing our gardens for the coming growing season! Neighbors and friends swept, dug, and spread compost and smiles at our two gardens at 423 and 615 Chestnut Street. We’ll have another Garden Day on April 12 from Noon to 3 PM, and again on Wednesday, April 23 from 2 – 3 PM.

Come grow with the MOSAIC Community Land Trust!

Saturday, April 12 - Volunteer Day at the Gardens (423 and 615 Chestnut Street) from 12 – 3PM

Please plan on meeting at the 423 Chestnut Street location prior to start

Wednesday, April 23 - Volunteer Day at the Gardens (423 and 615 Chestnut Street) from 2 – 3PM

Please plan on meeting at the 423 Chestnut Street location prior to start.

COMING SOON: MOSAIC’s 2nd Beautification Contest-Prizes Awarded! Keep checking our website for more details!

Upcoming Events

Would You Love to Teach a Workshop or Attend a Table Event? Let us know! Review the dates below and send an email to wash5000@msn.com to learn more about workshop and table event activities!

Saturday, April 12, 2014 – Year of the Young Child 9AM – 11AM happening at the YMCA located at 724 N. Adams Street, Pottstown

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 – Organic Gardening Workshop from 6 – 7PM at the Pottstown Library located at 500 E High Street, Pottstown

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The Produce And Information Stand Will Open Again This Saturday At The Mosaic Community Garden

cropped-20130727_104625.jpgThanks to our generous garden members and our generous garden plots, we have plenty tomatoes, green peppers, herbs and local fruit for sale!

Stop by and pick up the latest copy of Organic Gardening or other information on food justice and where to buy fresh, wholesome foods in our local area!  We have a list of local organizations and companies who offer nothing but the best.  Pick up a copy during your garden visit this Saturday!

The stand and information stand will be open for business on Saturday, October 5th at 9:30 AM sharp!

Be sure to get there early so you don’t miss out on some of the super-fresh items being offered Saturday!  This may be your last chance…

Pottstown’s Mosaic Community Garden To Open Produce And Information Stand

cropped-20130727_104625.jpgWe are happy to announce the opening day of our Produce and Information Stand!

The children of our youth program and several volunteers had a hand in tending the earth and growing veggies.  Earlier this summer, they diligently worked to build the stand to bring the “fruits of their labor” to your table!!

On September 7th the kids and volunteers will staff the Produce Stand to sell fresh produce, herbs, local peaches and other healthy goodies, each Saturday morning from 9:30 AM – 12 noon, through September 28th, 2013.

In addition, we will have information regarding organic gardening and other resources to find out more about our local CSAs and organic grocery stores.  Lastly, the public can learn more about what they can do to ensure every family has access to healthier food options in our area.

Look for the Produce and Information Stand in front of the gardens at 423 Chestnut Street in Pottstown, (you canʼt miss us)!!

Priced right for you, all of the proceeds from the produce stand will enable MOSAIC to continue to develop workshops and other fun, educational activities for young and old alike; while educating individuals in food justice and security.  All the while, the young farmers will be learning sales skills, marketing and public relations.

Now, for a special thanks to our sponsor: Global Advanced Metals of Boyertown, for their generous donation and support.  Global Advanced Metals processes a metal called “tantalum,” found in Australia.  Their core values of safety, health and environmental excellence guide the work that they do and dovetails nicely with our healthy outlook too!!

Local honey will be available for purchase as well.  The garden has its own bee hive for pollination, tended by Lee Mauger.

Laura Washington, Gardens Manager

Mosaic Community Garden Announces Beautification Contest Winners

How it all began:  In the summer of 2012, Dick Heylmun, the owner of Pine Tree Hill Farm, contacted Mosaic Community Land Trust, after learning about their work in the Community garden on Chestnut Street.

Mr Heylmun, an avid gardener himself, conceived of the idea to offer prize money to people living in the Beech to High Street, Adams to Charlotte Street area for creating beautiful street-side gardens and plantings. He knows how pretty a block can be when the residents take pride in their homes and gardens and he revels in the joy and sense of pride that gardens bring to the gardener and all who pass by.

Mosaic partnered with the Pottstown Garden club to develop, advertise and judge the contest. Flyers were distributed to all the homes in the area while the Mercury helped promote the contest in an article about both the garden contest.

With only nine entries for this competition, the first of its kind in the core neighborhood, we hope to inspire confidence in others to enter next year.  The gardeners chose one of three categories and most of the entries were in the “front garden and planters combined” category.

Two members from the Pottstown Garden Club, Nancy Toothacher and Karin Albera, accompanied board member, Gretchen Lea, (who is also a Penn State Master Gardner), and Laura Washington, the MOSAIC garden manager, as they set out one very hot afternoon to walk the blocks and judge the gardens.  It was hard, yet fun and rewarding.

The contestants showed a sense of pride and enthusiasm about their creations, and had a variety of reasons why they chose one plant or another and why they chose to place them where they did.

Some plants have personal meaning, like beautiful memories and experiences of the gardens and gardeners we have known and loved -they are place makers in our lives. Gardens are often creative expressions of their creators.  Knowing this, while judging makes the job difficult, but all the more fun.

Asking a gardener about their gardens is like possessing the key to a box, open it up and you’ll find out something about what’s inside.

The judges passed several pretty and interesting gardens along the way and wished that those gardens had been entered in the contest too.  When asked why they didn’t enter, a few folks proclaimed… “Mine is not quite good enough”.  Some gardeners can be too hard on themselves. Working with nature is not easy. Nature cannot be controlled.  That makes gardening all the more challenging and rewarding.  I beg all who dig in the soil to keep up the confidence to keep planting. Every garden is a unique expression of the gardener.

20130714_173300_resizedI have entered my garden in shows and contests, even though they weren’t perfect, because others get joy in seeing them.  It is rewarding to watch people blossom when they see what you have accomplished.  It too is a great way to connect with one another. For me, gardening is a great reason to be outside and to work with Mother Nature as I try to express myself.

The Winners Are:

For Planters and window boxes:

Athena Singer 1st prize 352 Walnut Street $150

Anna Johnson 2nd prize 515 Chestnut Street $ 75

20130711_171523_resizedThe Garden awards and prize money were presented Sunday July 14th at 5 o’clock at the MOSAIC Community Garden, followed by a get together with refreshments, conversation and friendship.

We hope you will take the time to walk through the neighborhood and check out the winner’s gardens as well as all the other gardens that capture the imagination.

Garden by garden the Mosaic Community Land Trust’s designated areas will blossom, as the first garden has done, with people sharing stories, recipes, making new friends, learning about their gardens, trading plants and ideas while enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Thank you Dick Helymun for your great idea and generosity!

Mosaic would like to make the Beautification Contest an annual tradition.  If you would like to make a donation or take part we’d love to hear from you.

mosaicclt@gmail.com for more info

Green Thumbs Up and Thanks to Everyone Involved!

Gretchen Lea

Pottstown Police Use Pepper Spray To Break Up Fight After Domestic Disturbance

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Let me guess….another rental property.

POTTSTOWN — Police had to use pepper spray to break up an altercation after an alleged domestic disturbance escalated on Friday afternoon.

Around 1 p.m., borough police responded to a call for a domestic dispute in the 500 block of Chestnut Street but when police arrived, the situation moved into the street.

Pottstown Police Chief Richard Drumheller said a man at the residence hit the windshield of a car multiple times, possibly with a baseball bat, and kicked in the front door of the three-story home. The residents locked themselves in the basement.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130511/NEWS01/130519922/pottstown-police-use-pepper-spray-to-break-up-fight-after-domestic-disturbance#full_story

Pottstown Homeless Man Jailed After He Admits To Borough Arson

MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURTHOUSE — A onetime homeless man is now residing in a jail cell after he admitted to starting a fire inside a vacant Pottstown apartment that resulted in a response from Pottstown fire officials.

Brian Jay Staub, 38, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 11 ½-to-23 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of arson endangering property in connection with the March fire at an apartment in the 400 block of Manatawny Street.

Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Staub to complete four years’ probation after he’s paroled from jail.  The judge also ordered Staub to complete any drug or alcohol treatment that might be recommended by probation officials.

Staub, who court records indicate once listed an address in the 300 block of Chestnut Street in Pottstown, also must pay $1,000 restitution to Spring Hill Realty Inc., of Harleysville, which owned the property.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20121217/NEWS03/121219567/pottstown-homeless-man-jailed-after-he-admits-to-borough-arson#full_story

Creating Beauty In West Reading, One Tile At A Time

On the sidewalk along Penn Avenue in West Reading, Pam Roule glued down glass tiles under the late morning sun.

“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” the borough resident said as she placed the small pieces. “These are the clouds.”

Nearby, Mayor Shane J. Keller cut additional pieces of glass as the occasional West Reading Farmers Market patron stopped, groceries in hand, to view the progress on what eventually will be one of five mosaics on Chestnut Street near West Reading Elementary Center.

“The more you work with it, the more you learn,” said Roule, an artist with a studio on Playground Drive. “And it gets kind of addicting.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=422717

 

MOSAIC To Hold “Open Garden” In Pottstown

August 29, 2012Pottstown, PA – MOSAIC Community Land Trust is holding an “Open Garden” on Saturday, September 22 from 12-2 pm.  All are invited into the Community Garden at 423 Chestnut Street in Pottstown to participate in a salsa-making workshop, learn how the garden works, and pick vegetables to take home.

“The idea of many people gardening their own plot within a larger space may have seemed unusual last spring when this was just a vacant lot,” said David Jackson, President of MOSAIC’s Board of Trustees.  “We want to welcome the community to see the garden in action.”

The Community Garden has plots being tended by Pottstown residents, including groups from Pottstown Middle School, the Olivet Boys and Girls Club, and the Maternity Care Coalition/Early Head Start.  Hundreds of pounds of squash, tomatoes, kale, basil and many other vegetables and herbs are being harvested.  Members weigh their produce and record it on a sheet; totals will be announced at the end of the season.

Garden guests on September 22 will be able to take home vegetables and herbs from one of MOSAIC’s community plots. There will also be salsa-making demonstrations and tastings, along with pesto made from basil grown in the garden. MOSAIC is now seeking another site in Pottstown to add a garden next year.  Interested residents can get on a list for next year’s gardens.

Support for acquisition and construction of the garden on Chestnut Street came from the Pottstown School District, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, National Penn Bank, Genesis Housing Corporation, Susquehanna Bank, Lowes, Borough of Pottstown, Davey Tree Experts, and Andrew Monastra, Esq.

MOSAIC Community Land Trust’s a mission to increase homeownership in Pottstown, develop community gardens, and support the arts.  Their office and gallery is at 10 S. Hannover Street. Membership in the CLT is open to all; details can be found at their website at www.mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org or by calling David Jackson at 484-949-4235.

Art Blossoms In MOSAIC Community Garden Summer Program

Pottstown, Pa - Campers at the Pottstown branch of the Olivet Boys and Girls Club are learning about fresh, organic vegetables while keeping their creativity humming in a unique summer program at the MOSAIC Community Garden at 423 Chestnut Street in Pottstown.

About twenty campers, aged 10-12 years old, are participating in the six-week program.  One morning each week they walk from the Ricketts Center to the garden, where they spend a couple of hours working on an art project and caring for their organization’s two plots as well as the communal plots around the perimeter of the garden.  So far the children have painted benches in whimsical colors, learned how to use binoculars from a birding expert, and painted birdhouses to take home.  They have also taken home collard greens and had the chance to sample blueberries and cherry tomatoes while watering the many plants being grown around the perimeter of the garden.

Funding for the program, which was designed by Pottstown resident Hannah Davis, is being provided by Susquehanna Bank through Genesis Housing Corporation.  Ms. Davis is teaching the art classes along with Natalie Cyphers.

“We’re grateful to Susquehanna and Judy Memberg of Genesis for making it possible for us to offer programming in our first year of operating the garden,” said David Jackson, president of MOSAIC.  “We want young people especially to experience the benefits of gardening and the arts.”

The remaining three workshops will focus on the life cycle of butterflies and making butterfly mobiles, creating mosaic tile stepping-stones for the garden, and making pizzas at the Ricketts Center with ingredients picked fresh from the garden.

The MOSAIC Community Garden is owned and operated by MOSAIC Community Land Trust, which is seeking additional community garden sites for 2013 in order to expand the supply of fresh vegetables and healthy lifestyle choices for Pottstown residents.  Support for acquisition and construction of the garden came from the Pottstown School District, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, National Penn Bank, Genesis Housing Corporation, Susquehanna Bank, Lowes, Borough of Pottstown, Davey Tree Experts, and Andrew Monastra, Esq.

MOSAIC Community Land Trust (CLT) has an office and art gallery at 10 S. Hanover Street in downtown Pottstown.  They welcome donations in support of their mission to increase homeownership, develop community gardens, and support the arts in Pottstown.  Membership in the CLT is open to all; details can be found at their website at www.mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org or by calling David Jackson at 484-949-4235.

MOSAIC Community Land Trust To Hold Artist Reception This Saturday In Pottstown‏

Pottstown, Pa. – Local photographer Sharon K. Merkel will be on hand at MOSAIC Gallery, 10 S. Hanover Street in Pottstown, this Saturday, July 21 from 6-8 pm.  All are welcome to attend this free reception.

Ms. Merkel’s work is on view now at the gallery along with the paintings of Sharon McGinley in MOSAIC’s latest show, Nurturing Hope.  The show highlights the beauty in nature and in urban spaces, much like a community garden.  MOSAIC Community Land Trust, which runs the gallery, built Pottstown’s first community garden at 423 Chestnut Street this past spring.  Gardeners are now realizing the fruits of their labor at the garden site.

In the artist’s statement on her website, Ms. Merkel says, “My photographic work looks at my world with a very direct approach.  Photography is the art of exclusion – knowing what to include and what to leave out to create the correct balance and narrative.”  Her photos of urban buildings and barns often feature intersections with a brilliant sky or a lone tree.  Several prints of industrial buildings in Pottstown are included and for sale at MOSAIC Gallery.

MOSAIC receives a standard 30% commission on all art sales, so a purchase not only supports these local artists, but also the community garden, arts, and affordable housing mission of MOSAIC Community Land Trust.

This show is being curated by MOSAIC summer interns Amanda Hoffman and Blake Wrigley, who spent their early years in Pottstown and graduated from Boyertown High School.  Blake is a recent graduate of Messiah College and Amanda is a senior art major there.

Nurturing Hope will run through July 28. The MOSAIC gallery is located at 10 S. Hanover Street in Pottstown. Regular gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday from 4-7 pm. MOSAIC’s website is www.mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org.  Sharon Merkel’s website is www.skmerkel.com.

Mosaic Community Garden – Pottstown’s Hidden Jewel On Chestnut Street

Pottstown, PA – I was given a tour of the new Community Garden on Chestnut Street yesterday by Katy Jackson.  The garden was formerly a broken down playground full of weeds, drug dealers and hookers.  The school district and the borough worked with Mosaic to make this project happen.  It is now a source of pride and a stabilizing factor in the neighborhood.

The large space was cleared and has been subdivided into 34 individual plots that people are using to grow their own vegetables.  There is also a flower garden near the front entrance, a patio area and a common gathering area in the rear.  An amphitheater is being constructed for lectures and programs.  There is a shed full of tools, three hoses for water and several adult and child picnic tables.  In addition, there is a composter in the rear of the property that will be brought back into working order so that gardeners can all contribute to the communal composter.

There is an educational component to the garden as well as the ability to grow one’s own food.  There is art programming at the garden this summer in conjunction with the Olivet Boys & Girls Club/Ricketts Center.  20-25 children are attending.  The children have painted the benches the past three Thursday mornings and this Thursday they are gathering at the garden to paint bird houses.

There is special kids pizza garden and a middle school garden.

People are harvesting green beans, lettuce, yellow squash and tomatoes.

This Saturday, July 14th, there is a composting workshop at the garden.  Lectures will be given on traditional composting and worm composting.  This workshop runs from 9am to 11am.  The presenters will be Laura Washington and Scott Winter.

Future plans include selling produce grown from the garden and additional community garden sites being added in Pottstown.  There are many volunteers who have put hours of sweat equity into making this garden a huge success.  They should all be commended!

For more information about the tremendous project, click here: http://pottstownclt.wordpress.com/