POTTSTOWN, PA – This Saturday (August 22), Mosaic will roll out its produce stand…offering up some of the season’s best vegetables! Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, pepper (sweet and hot), eggplant and sweet potatoes will be offered from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. We will have other surprise offerings for sale on the stand that afternoon. Please plan to pay us a visit before running your errands or buying from a big chain superstore!
That said, we need donations from gardeners…if you have more produce than you can pick (or eat) please let us know. We will gladly accept your donations to sell on our produce cart this Saturday! We will be at the gardens throughout Friday afternoon harvesting for weekend sales. Please email me if you would like to donate vegetables (grown at your home or the community gardens) to a worthy cause!
In partnership with National Penn Bank and Genesis Housing, Mosaic is set to host another Movie Night at the Chestnut Street Park! KOOKOO the Cartoon Magician will begin the event with a magic show at 7:30 PM that day! We have a great night planned and EVERYONE is invited!
Mosaic’s Summer Enrichment Program ended with a bang!
80 students ranging from 5-17 years old attended camp and learned more about gardening, nutrition, arts/culture, music and physical activity as each relates to different regions of the world. In each weekly program, we chose age-appropriate instruction in African-American, Latin, Native American and Caribbean cultures. The children retained more information from week to week using this well-rounded approach to learning. They formed “families” and made delicious meals together, played musical instruments some had never seen or played before, harvested items from the gardens that related to the week’s teaching and made instruments specific to each culture using recycled materials.
The summer program ended with an appreciation ice cream social at the high school to celebrate their volunteer efforts at each of the gardens and the local park, and a field trip to the Althouse Arboretum for the younger students was provided…the campers went on an hour-long trail walk/scavenger hunt while learning the reason why arboretums exist. Some of the students said that having an arboretum in our own back yards is super-cool!
It was a great summer, thanks to all those who volunteered during the program! A special thanks to our partners and supporters, ArtFusion, Olivet’s Boys and Girls Club, STRIVE Initiative, the Pottstown Athletic Club, Genesis Housing and Penn National Bank!
Mosaic is looking to celebrate the fall season by hosting a fall cleanup potluck social at the gardens! We will be looking for families to come out, clean up and prepare our gardens for the winter season. Create your best potluck recipe for this special event! “Bee” on the look-out for more information in an upcoming email…coming in September!
The Housing Counseling Program provides free classes and individual counseling helping more than 9,500 potential first-time homebuyers and homeowners. Monthly classes focus on topics not taught in regular school including understanding credit, credit repair, money management, saving plans, grant programs and understanding the home buying process including selecting a realtor and finding the best mortgage.
Genesis Housing Corporation is a certified U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Counseling Agency. Genesis Housing Corporation is also an approved Counseling Agency for FannieMae and PA Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). Providing HUD and PHFA approved counseling allows a qualified applicant to participate in special bank programs and the state programs which can often benefit home buyers. Genesis Housing Corporation is also an approved agency for housing counseling grant programs including the Montgomery County First-time Home Buyers Program, Norristown’s First-time Home Buyers Program and Federal Home Loan Bank’s First Front Door Program. These programs allow more families to become homebuyers by reducing the amount of savings required for down payments and closing costs.
Housing Counseling Classes
Class #1: Understanding Credit
- Understand credit reporting
- Obtain a free credit report from all major credit bureaus
- Learn how to improve your credit score
Class #2: Money Management
- Setting up a working budget – “It’s more than just the bills”
- How does current spending impact future financial options
- Prioritizing spending in tough economic times
- Dealing with debt and developing a savings plan
Class #3: Home Buying Basics
- Understanding the home buying process – realtors, agreement of sale, mortgages, inspections, insurance and more
- Learn about grant and loan programs for homebuyers
Genesis Housing offers monthly classes in Norristown. Classes are offered in other Montgomery County locations several times per year. Classes are free but registration is required.
The Beech Street Factory is a $12.5-million, 30-year investment in Pottstown’s future. With this project, Genesis Housing Corporation and Housing Visions propose not only to rehabilitate a vacant, prominent building in the Borough’s National Register Historic District, but also to spark renewed focus on the arts in Pottstown.
Pottstown has seen a cultural resurgence in recent years. Decades of hard work by organizations such as ArtFusion, Steel River Playhouse, the Pottstown Area Artists’ Guild, Montgomery County Community College, The Hill School Farnsworth Art Museum, and other arts-oriented organizations have highlighted the importance of cultivating visual, performing, and ﬁne arts in Pottstown. More recently, the formation of CreativeMontCo has solidiﬁed county-wide interest in the arts. And ongoing investment by Genesis Housing Corporation, Mosaic Community Land Trust, the National Trust Main Street Program, and the Borough of Pottstown have helped to strengthen the overall quality of life in in the Borough by enhancing the public streetscape and laying the groundwork for further investment.
The Beech Street Factory proposes to capitalize on these long-standing efforts and help take them to the next level. Through their development expertise and knowledge of funding programs, Housing Visions and Genesis are planning to convert the old Fecera’s furniture warehouse into a 60,000-square-foot, mixed-use arts center. The ground floor will include 3,000 square feet of energy-efficient, financially sustainable space for ArtFusion, Pottstown’s long-running and much-loved non-profit community arts center.. And the remainder of the building will provide 43 loft, industrial-style apartments to artists and other interested residents. With 14 unique floor plans, exposed brick walls, plenty of natural light, and amenities including a landscaped courtyard, community room, resident computer lab, elevator, and off-street parking, the Beech Street Factory will provide inspiring spaces for Pottstown’s creative community to call home.
The combination of commercial and residential space will ensure a “24-hour” community at the Beech Street Factory, where the busy hum of ArtFusion students during the day gives way to quiet creativity among individual residents at night. The Beech Street Factory will seek to engage with the larger Pottstown community by hosting gallery events at ArtFusion and in the building’s resident community room and open front porch. Residents will be encouraged through Housing Visions scholarships to take classes at ArtFusion, and similarly, members of ArtFusion may wish to apply for residency at the Factory. Additionally, Housing Visions plans to market the residential units to qualified tenants throughout the region by advertising in local arts publications, print and social media, and at local arts events.
The Beech Street Factory provides the catalyst for a renewed conversation about creating a formal Pottstown Arts District. The developers plan to participate on a new Arts Task Force, supporting the Mosaic Community Land Trust in their effort to create an Artist Relocation Program around homeownership in the Beech Street Neighborhood. Through Housing Tax Credit funding, Housing Visions commits its expertise and resources to help improve the quality of life in Pottstown over the next 30 years. By sharing their extensive experience in creative ﬁnancing and redevelopment of historic properties, Housing Visions and Genesis hope to foster a renewed, stronger emphasis on neighborhood revitalization and quality of life in Pottstown.
By Heather Schroeder, Development Project Manager, Housing Visions
Editor’s thoughts: This project is gaining supporters. Here is this list, so far:
U.S. Representative Gerlach
Steel River Playhouse
Michael Horn, Architect
We feel this project could be the “game changing” catalyst that will finally propel Pottstown’s Arts Revitalization movement forward. Successful completion of a major project in Pottstown would send the signal to funding agencies, investors and developers that Pottstown is now working together toward a common goal. We urge Pottstown Borough Council to get on board with this project.
The biggest thing holding Pottstown back has been the inability of all parties to find common ground and work together. Now that Housing Visions has gotten on board with Pottstown’s desire to be something more than another dumping ground for Montgomery County’s social service ills, and made significant changes to this project, we feel this version is now worthy of our support as well.
We feel the last paragraph regarding the creation of an “arts district” and an artist relocation program is a key component of this project. We have posted about Oil City‘s artist relocation program and how it has helped transform this much smaller and more remote community in Venango County. Pottstown’s excellent location and easy access to Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lancaster only improve the chances for success.
We think you will see support continue to build from other stakeholders in the Tri-County area. A revitalized Pottstown benefits EVERYBODY in the 19464,19465 zip codes, and beyond.
Pottstown homes are 610 Chestnut St., 612 Chestnut St., 405 Walnut St and 407 Walnut St. Coming soon is 433 Walnut St.
The Washington Street Neighborhood Project is revitalizing Washington Street in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The Washington Street Neighborhood Project emphasizes home ownership and encourages local renters to become homebuyers.
The Washington Street Neighborhood Project purchases, rehabs, and resells homes at affordable sale prices with an interest free soft second mortgage for the difference between the sale price and the appraised value of the home.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT IN POTTSTOWN, TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2011
“America’s Night Out Against Crime”
Pottstown, PA July 15, 2011
Pottstown residents will participate again this year in National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. Activities will be at Chestnut Street Park at the corner of Washington and Chestnut Streets in Pottstown, starting at 6:30 pm. The celebration is being coordinated by Citizens for Pottstown’s Revitalization, the MOSAIC Community Land Trust, Pottstown, PA, and Genesis Housing.
Residents old and young are invited to be at the Park at 6:30 pm for the start of the activities. There will be hot dogs and refreshments, public safety demonstrations, and a story time for kids with book reading on internet safety awareness. The official activities for National Night Out, or NNO for short, will last until 8:30 pm.
New this year for Pottstown will be a four-block walk through the streets near the Park. The traditional display of support for NNO is to keep an outside light on during the evening, and to sit outside on a porch or step. The organizers are excited that the short march will add even more spirit and fun to this year’s celebration. Residents who cannot make it to the park are still asked to leave their lights on, and sit outside as their part of the vigil! Rain or shine, the event will go on.
NNO is an easy way, on a single day, to invest in community spirit and to show that the neighborhoods are being taken back by the people from the criminals. Residents are asked to come out to show solidarity against drugs and crime, and to help develop a partnership between the community and local police, fire and emergency services.
Any organization wishing to set up a table is encouraged to join the activities; please bring your own table and any information or handouts you would like to give away. The organizers will not be able to provide tables. (To help the organizers with planning, please send a note in advance to VivaPottstown@hotmail.com to let them know you’ll be there with your table!)
Thousands of communities and millions of citizens will be participating across the U.S.A. In Pennsylvania alone, as many as 150 municipalities will be taking part. NNO is sponsored by the National association of Town Watch.
ABOUT National Night Out and National Association of Town Watch:
The National Association of Town Watch (NATW) is a non-profit, crime prevention organization which works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
National Night Out, “America’s Night Out Against Crime”, was introduced by the Association in 1984. The event has grown from 400 towns in 23 states the first year, to over 15,000 communities in all 50 states with 37 million people last year in August 2010. The 2011 event is expected to be even bigger. More information on NATW and NNO can be found at www.NationalTownWatch.org.
ABOUT Genesis Housing Corporation :
Genesis Housing Corporation is dedicated to the development of affordable housing and to the education of consumers on housing and financial issues.
Since 1994, Genesis Housing Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has served Montgomery County as a community housing development organization (CHDO). Our general activities include the rehabilitation and new construction of homes to improve and stabilize neighborhoods and to provide opportunities for lower income homebuyers to purchase homes at affordable prices. Genesis Housing Corporation also provides housing counseling and money management services for potential homebuyers and homeowners. More information on Genesis is available at www.genesishousing.org.
ABOUT Citizens for Pottstown’s Revitalization:
Citizens for Pottstown’s Revitalization (“CPR”) is working to unify all of Pottstown’s pockets of activism. In keeping with CPR’s mission to breathe new life into our community through positive actions, community involvement, courage and respect, we invite you to submit news and comments promoting the betterment of Pottstown. Viva Pottstown! More information is available at www.VivaPottstown.com
ABOUT MOSAIC Community Land Trust, Pottstown PA:
MOSAIC Community Land Trust, Pottstown, PA is a local non-profit corporation dedicated to increasing affordable homeownership opportunities in Pottstown, developing a community garden at 423 Chestnut Street, and empowering residents to participate in the improvement of their own neighborhoods. Collaboration is the key to their efforts to create long-lasting change, and they are already partnering with local businesses, volunteers, Pottstown School District, Pottstown Borough and other community organizations, such as The Gallery and Genesis Housing Corporation. MOSAIC has been working with a nationally-recognized expert in community land trusts, thanks to a grant from National Penn Bank. More information available at www.PottstownCLT.wordpress.com