Loans From Reading Sought For Downtown Hotel Project

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The long-planned Doubletree Convention Center Hotel downtown has hit a new snag, and its chief developer – retailer Albert R. Boscov – is asking the city for help.

Boscov told City Council and the administration Monday that the project has lost the $1 million commitment it was counting on from the Lancaster-based Community First Fund.

That fund last week announced it was giving $6 million in federal new markets tax credits to another city project – Shuman Development Co.’s plans for market-rate apartments in the old Big Mill outlets at Eighth and Oley streets – leaving none for the hotel.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=517591

Albert R. Boscov’s Impact Stretches Beyond Berks, And Beyond Business

English: Boscov's Department Store in the Exto...

English: Boscov’s Department Store in the Exton Square Mall. Built c. 1998 as an expansion to the mall, it displaced the Zook House which was on the NRHP in Chester County, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even in a city famous for its entertainers, Albert R. Boscov stands out.

Twice a year Boscov heads to Las Vegas for the country’s biggest consumer-goods trade show, held in the city’s convention center.

The building is packed with almost 3,000 vendors selling everything from diamond rings to dog food.

Boscov is one of 45,000 retailers who attend.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=456203

Reading Crime Summit Yields Plan

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Look what happens when people get together to work on a problem!  Reading needs to be the focus.

The cause of curtailing violent crime in Reading and Berks County got a push forward Friday afternoon as more than 100 public and private leaders conducted a long-awaited crime summit.

Gov. Tom Corbett and U.S. Sens. Bob Casey Jr. and Pat Toomey were among the participants in the closed-door session held at the Crowne Plaza Reading in Wyomissing.

Lasting two hours and 15 minutes, the summit produced a five-point set of initiatives that county officials pledged to pursue immediately.  Those ranged from strengthening county-city cooperation to a fact-finding trip to learn about a community program in Altoona.

Berks District Attorney John T. Adams and Christian Y. Leinbach, county commissioners chairman, were at the center of preparations for the summit.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=444689

GoggleWorks Arts Festival A Big Draw

Her travel plans to the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts were set a week in advance.

But early Sunday morning, Gail Rosenkrantz woke up in her New York apartment, hailed a cab to the Port Authority and wasn’t quite sure about where she was going.

Finally, after catching the 9 a.m. Bieber Tourways bus to Reading, she sat down and heard the question that was already on her mind:  “Why are you going to Reading?  It’s so dangerous,” another passenger asked.

Upon arriving at her destination, however, the 72-year-old legal secretary walked into the inaugural arts festival Reading and found the soft silk scarves she sought, along with welcoming gestures from strangers.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=422432

New GoggleWorks Director Brings Musical Background

On Saturday night, Phil Walz, executive director of the Greater Akron Musical Association Inc., worked through a major symphony concert, then handed over his keys.  On Sunday, he packed his truck and drove to Pennsylvania.

Today, he begins work as the new executive director of the eight-year-old GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Second and Washington streets.

“I see the opportunity to work in Reading as a real honor,” said Walz, 54.  “The GoggleWorks’ mission ‘to nurture the arts, foster creativity, promote education, and enrich the community’ is simple yet inspiring.”

He replaces Diane LaBelle, who had overseen the 2004 transformation of a vacant, four-story factory that once made safety equipment into a series of artists’ studios and public spaces, then led its operation for six years.  She left in June 2010.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=420979

GoggleWorks Open-Air Studio Livens Up 400 Block Of Penn

The GoggleWorks Center for the Arts brought the arts downtown Wednesday with painters, potters, sculptors and more.

Eighteen artists came to the center’s first open-air studio in the 400 block of Penn Street.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=420121

2 Artists Seek To Restore Damaged Dove In Reading City Park

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  One of the benefits of arts revitalization!

On a bright summer day in a nearly deserted park, two men stand in the shadow of a crumbling statue.

Pointing at the flaking, cracked concrete and graffiti that cover the dove sculpture in City Park, they recoil in disgust.

“Look at this,” said artist Yesid Gomez. “This is an embarrassment. Whose fault is this? It is our fault for letting it look like this.”

Gomez and his cousin, Wilfer Buitrago, examine the statue, taking measurements and noting the damage that it has sustained over the years.  Shaking their heads, they said they feel ashamed to see the dove in such poor condition.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=406658

Open House At GoggleWorks Apartments This Weekend

After years of planning and more than a year of construction, the $16.7 million GoggleWorks Apartments are far enough along that its sponsor, retailer Albert R. Boscov, plans an open house Saturday and Sunday.

The open house will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Second and Washington streets complex named after the late state Sen. Michael A. O’Pake.

Essentially, it will be just one apartment.  The furniture is being set up this week.

And it won’t be handicap accessible, at least not yet.  The two elevators are off-limits to the public because the building is still under construction; visitors will have to climb a flight and a half of stairs.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=391320