Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The North Branch Land Trust is about to preserve a 3,000-acre parcel of some of the finest forest land in Pennsylvania.
And, eventually, the goal is to protect an entire mountain ridge and create a protected forest that will run from Mocanaqua north to Crystal Lake and a connection to existing state forest lands.
It will be the North Branch Land Trust’s most significant move in its 21-year history of saving and preserving parcels of varying size. When acquired, the 3,000 acres will boost to 15,000 acres the total land mass preserved via the trust.
One sidelight to the success of the land trust is its support of the trails system being developed in the Delaware and National Heritage Corridor. The land trust is playing a role in extending a trail from Mountain Top to Oliver Mills in Laurel Run Borough and then around the mountain to Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre Township.
POTTSTOWN — Say goodbye to the crumbling eyesore, say hello to Pottstown’s second community garden.
The continuing efforts by the Mosaic Community Land Trust to transform falling-down buildings and lots into productive assets took another step forward this week with the demolition of 615 Chestnut St.; the vacant site of a former neighborhood store will soon become a place where local residents can grow food for their tables and flowers for their enjoyment.
The property was owned for several years “by a fellow down in Philadelphia who eventually gave up on owning the property because he didn’t want to have to pay to demolish it, so he donated it to the land trust,” said David Jackson, chairman of the land trust’s board of directors.
That leverage, he said, was the result of pressure from the borough codes department, which cited the property repeatedly for violations.
To most, it means the newly established community garden.To others, it means an art gallery and Open Mic Nights at the group’s 10 S. Hanover St. headquarters.
But if its plans pan out, the land trust may also soon mean “the people who sold us our house.”From the beginning, Executive
Director Sue Repko told borough council during a recent work session, the group has targeted the core neighborhood in Pottstown, which it defines as being bounded by Hanover Street to the west, Beech Street to the north, North Adams Street to the east and High Street to the south.
While I was downtown today supporting Small Business Saturday, I was temporarily whisked away to the Mosaic Community Land Trust’s new digs at 10 South Hanover Street by Katy Jackson. Katy is one of the founding members of the Land Trust and she was eager to show me the progress they have made fixing up their new space.
The first floor is a revolving art gallery and office space for now. Future plans include renovating the second floor and using the art gallery space on the first floor for events in a coffee-house style setting. There are even plans to serve food. This is very exciting because having organized events will help draw people into the gallery and in turn support local artists and musicians.
Mosaic Community Land Trust supports the revitalization of Pottstown. To that end the Land Trust will begin restoring properties in town and reselling them to people looking for affordable housing. Mosaic’s plan also includes growing the arts community in Pottstown. Revitalization via the arts has a proven track record across our country. We have a fledgling arts community already and adding to their numbers will only hasten the rebirth of Pottstown. Removing blight and increasing the home ownership percentage in Pottstown will stabilize neighborhoods, reduce crime, increase property values and help reduce the tax burden.
We urge you to stop in and check out the art, learn more about Mosaic and see what you can do to help move Pottstown forward.