Lawmakers focus on revitalizing downtowns
The House Majority Policy Committee hosted a roundtable discussion with local business owners in Chester County before touring Main Street in Phoenixville to hear what members can do to grow downtown areas in Pennsylvania.
“It was a pleasure to host my colleagues today and share with them our evergrowing downtown landscape.
This was a great opportunity for our members to see first-hand how successful this region is and how it can be duplicated in communities across Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Paul Friel (D-26th Dist.), who hosted the event.
The roundtable discussion and tour began at the Phoenixville Borough Hall where members received an in-depth history lesson on the revitalization of the downtown area. Members
then made stops at eight different local businesses along Main and Bridge Streets to talk with store owners about the challenges they face, and what can be done in Harrisburg to better support their businesses and others like them.
“When our locally owned businesses do well, Pennsylvania does well. The valuable insights we gained today into the challenges and successes our downtowns are facing will help facilitate positive change on Main Streets across the commonwealth for years to come,” said House Majority Policy Chairman Ryan Bizzarro.
Tour stops included the Phoenixville Borough Hall,
Colonial Theater, Bistro on Bridge, Forever Changes, Café com Leite, Bridge Street Chocolates, Phoenix Village and Bluebird Distilling. Business owners and local officials told members that change, although not easy, is necessary for revitalization efforts. They say all worlds have to collide, meaning inner workings between government and community have to be on the same page to maximize revitalization and plan for the future.
“There’s an intersection of public policy, public investment and economic growth in our downtowns, and these public investments
from Harrisburg, county and local sources are critical to development because they return tenfold the type of investment happening in communities,” Friel said.
“So, while there’s millions of dollars invested in Phoenixville from a government standpoint, there’s over a billion dollars overall being invested.”