The good and the bad
Survey results reveal people’s thoughts on Pottsville’s strengths, weaknesses
POTTSVILLE — The results of a city survey were revealed Tuesday at a public meeting at Humane Fire Company.
Conducted earlier this year, the survey had 268 responses — about 60 percent of which were from people who lived in Pottsville. The survey is one of the first phases of a joint effort between the Pottsville Business Association, Pottsville Area Development Corp. and the City of Pottsville for a community-based vision, market analysis and strategic plan for the city.
“Downtown is not as strong as it should be, but we see a lot of potential for downtown,” Steven Nelson, Eastwick Solutions, Doylesown, said.
Eastwick Solutions partnered with Bergmann Associates, Conshohocken, for the survey, which looked at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats in the downtown district. More than 100 people attended Tuesday’s meeting to see the results.
The highest number of votes in the strengths category, 75, went to the history and the historical aspects of downtown Pottsville. Yuengling was second with a score of 74, followed by restaurants at 65, buildings at 61, location at 59 and rent at 55. Weaknesses included parking with 124 votes, loitering at 101, empty buildings/ store fronts at 76, lack of cleanliness at 61, blight at 41 and drugs at 39.
“Parking is clearly an issue. We heard that,” Nelson said.
However, Pattie E.B. Guttenplan, project planner with Bergmann, showed a colorcoded Powerpoint display with areas to park in Pottsville.
“There is a lot of parking in downtown,” she said.
Guttenplan said perhaps there is not enough information out there about where to park.
“I don’t have any numbers attached to that,” she said about how much parking is private versus public.
In the survey’s opportunities section, 62 votes were cast for building stock, and existing small businesses and restaurants had 48 votes. They were followed by Yuengling at 27, tourism/visitor/destination at 15, movie theater at 13 and history at 8.
Drugs and crime are seen as the biggest threats by respondents with a score of 59, followed by low income poverty at 44, parking at 33, blight at 15, landlords not maintaining properties at 13 and high taxes also at 13.
Nelson said the threats that Pottsville faces are real.
“I don’t think you see any surprises in that column,” Nelson said.
However, the outlook is not as bleak as it appears.
“Pottsville is one of the safest cities of its size in PA,” Nelson said.
An analysis of the downtown area found several things “not-so-good,” including too many vacancies and offices on the ground floor; appearance/perception (but not reality); communication; coordination and leadership; and parking.
Several potential paths to a revitalized Pottsville included tourism, living downtown, arts and entertainment, health care sector and leveraging locals.
People in attendance were asked to put red stickers on the areas they liked the most. Tourism had the most stickers with 70, followed by arts and entertainment with 68, living downtown with 55, leveraging locals with 21 and health care with 14.
A public meeting is planned for early January as part of the joint effort. Details are not yet finalized.
Savas Logothetides, vice president of Pottsville Business Association and interim director of the Pottsville Area Development Corp., said there will be more meetings.
Alfredo Mercuri, Pottsville, center, and Albino Mercuri, co-owner of Juliette Bridals by Ivana, Pottsville, look over the results of a city survey
Tuesday at Humane Fire Company, Pottsville.