Reading Gets State Designation As Keystone Community

Picture 533Editor’s note:  We are very pleased to see that the leadership is trying to move Reading forward and improve the city.

Led by two dozen chanting cheerleaders from Reading High School, a procession of city and state officials this morning marched down Penn Street to a Penn Square news conference to excitedly announce the city has gotten what it began seeking a year ago:

That’s state designation as a Keystone Community, which approves its inclusion in the Main Street program and its right to seek state economic development help and millions in potential grants.

“You’re taking the challenges you face head on . . . you’re thinking strategically,” C. Alan Walker, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, told the crowd as he announced the designation.

“One of the best things we can do to preserve our downtowns.  They’re worth preserving,” he said.

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said it’s always good to see something come to fruition.

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Reading City Council Narrowly Approves Mayor’s Four Assistants

On a 4-3 vote Monday, City Council agreed that Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer can keep his three full-time assistants and a part-timer in 2013.

The move came after months of bickering between the mayor and some council members over whether he really needs all the help – a full-timer and a part-timer more than former Mayor Tom McMahon had – when the city cut four full-time and four part-time jobs elsewhere.

The city already adopted a $77 million budget for 2013, but needed to approve the position ordinance so employees can be paid next year.

Two of the cuts are full-timers in the Citizens Service Center, which hopes to need fewer workers when it transfers trash and recycling bills to the Reading Area Water Authority sometime next year.

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CNA Insurance To Move Operations Out Of Reading

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Image via Wikipedia

CNA Insurance said Thursday that the company plans to move its operations from its building at 401 Penn St. to another location in Berks County.

Mayor Tom McMahon confirmed that the insurance company officials told him they want to move to smaller quarters because only 25 percent of the building is in use, so it has become difficult for the company to support it financially…

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42-Inch Sewer Main Ruptures In Reading – Raw Sewage Being Dumped Into Schuylkill River

Tom McMahon, Mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

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Heads up to anyone who lives downstream from Reading.  A 42-inch sewer pipe has ruptured and the City of Reading is pumping raw sewage into the Schuylkill River to avoid further damage to the pipe!  The damaged section of pipe is 50 feet from the Schuylkill River.  The raw sewage starting being pumped into the river at 4 pm today.

The city is digging a big hole to collect the sewage and pipe it directed into the treatment plant downstream.

Reading Mayor Tom McMahon said fortunately the river is high because it will help “dilute” the sewage.  The damaged pipe is sixty years old!

Officials in Pottstown and Philadelphia were notified as both communities use the Schuylkill River for their water supply.  The state Department of Environmental Protection are on the scene and the EPA (federal) has been notified.

Might be a good time to stock up on bottled water!