No Wegmans Stores On The Horizon For Berks County

Wegmans Food Markets

Wegmans Food Markets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County is in the cross hairs of grocery retailer Wegmans, but somehow the ninth-largest county in Pennsylvania has never been the target.

Now Berks falls between a new distribution hub in Schuylkill County and some of its stores.

This spring, the Rochester, N.Y., upscale grocer opened the $70 million warehouse in Cass and Foster townships, Wegmans’ third and largest warehouse in Schuylkill.

The company said in May that the move completes a distribution hub for fresh and frozen foods. More than 200 new employees were hired to staff it. The distribution hub was subsidized with state incentives of $731,650 in opportunity zone and job training money and job creation tax credits.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=394286

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Taxes Set To Rise As Wilson School District Board Of Education Approves Budget

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wilson School Board on Monday approved an $87 million tentative budget that would require a 2 percent tax hike. The vote was 5-2.

The budget doesn’t require layoffs, furloughs or any program cuts, said Diane J. Richards, director of finance and support services. To balance the budget, Wilson needs to use $525,000 from reserves to cover higher pension contributions.

The 0.46-mill proposed property tax hike would increase the tax to 23.77 mills. The owner of a property assessed at $100,000 would see a tax bill increase to $2,377 from $2,331.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=384861

6-Figure Shortfall Stymies Exeter School Board

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frustrations ran high among Exeter school officials at a budget workshop held before a sparse crowd this week.

“It’s a bind the state has put us in,” said Dr. David S. Bender, school board vice president.

“Not to mention the lack of support in Harrisburg for education funding,” said Dr. Beverly A. Martin, superintendent. “You don’t want to raise taxes because people are hurting. How do you get out of that type of hole?”

Since adopting a preliminary budget of $64.8 million in January, the district has slashed expenses by about $1.8 million, Business Manager Anne Guydish said. However, a budget shortfall of $844,298 remains.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=379219

Wilson Board Says Close 2 Schools

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

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After months of listening to parents praise the Lincoln Park and West Wyomissing elementary schools, the Wilson School Board voted 8-1 Monday to close both in June.

The schools are the district’s smallest, but parents who oppose closing them like the neighborhood schools, which they say perform well even if they don’t have the same amenities as the district’s larger schools.

Board members said they had to look at the big picture. Officials said the move will save $500,000 annually and spare the district the expense of millions of dollars in repairs.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=370764

West Reading: Keeping It Fresh On The Avenue

When West Reading’s state and community-funded Main Street Program on Penn Avenue reached maturity in 2005, a total of 66 businesses had been created in six years, along with more than 125 jobs.

Grant funding of $6 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development revitalized the streetscape with new facades, sidewalk and traffic-lane design, and pedestrian and street lighting.

What’s going on in West Reading to maintain and expand the cycle of growth on the hippest street in the county? Some businesses still flounder, while others take root and grow.

Read more: http://businessweekly.readingeagle.com/?p=1908

Antietam School District Exploring The Possibility Of Merging With Exeter SD

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

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It’s a tune the Antietam School District has heard before: The district is once again exploring the possibility of merging with Exeter Township School District.

This is not the first time the neighboring districts have considered merging, nor the second. Or even the third. The idea has been discussed, repeatedly, as far back as the 1960s.

And for some Antietam residents, the history of failed mergers clouds their opinion of a new consideration.

“I don’t think they’ll merge,” said Brandy High, a Lower Alsace Township mother with two children in Antietam schools. “They’ve been saying it for a long time and never did.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=362292

Muhlenberg Seeks Rebirth Of Fifth Street Corridor

Muhlenberg Township very badly wants to fill its empty lots and storefronts.

But there’s a holdup: The township’s major commercial stretch, Fifth Street Highway, needs updating before it will be an attractive place for businesses to set up shop.

The road is a hodgepodge of shopping centers, some empty and some filled, as well as offices, homes and a vacant industrial site. Entrances, driveways and side roads introduce traffic at every step.

“It’s a nightmare right now and people avoid it,” said Michael S. Malinowski, Muhlenberg commissioners president. “The last thing you want as an official of any community is to have your major corridor avoided by people.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=359587

2010 Crime Stats For City Of Reading And Metro Berks

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with ...

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Berks County ranked well this year in a national crime report, even as Reading slipped in the ratings compared to last year.

The Reading metro area, which is all of Berks, was the 235th most dangerous of 353 other U.S. metro areas, meaning only 119 metro areas were determined to have been safer in 2010, according to CQ Press. The metro area ranked 232 last year.

Reading was ranked the 33rd most dangerous U.S. city in the study by CQ Press, which based its work on cities with more than 75,000 residents that reported 2010 crime statistics to the FBI.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=355257