Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is a Vision for Pottstown Wonka Vision?

Gene Wilder, the very first Willy Wonka.
The original "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" will be coming free to downtown Pottstown next month for a "community movie night."

To be shown at Smith Family Plaza opposite the borough hall on High Street, it will coincide with the last Nostalgia Night Car Show of the season on Sept. 1.

"The car show ends at 9 p.m., so that's when the movie will start," Main Street Manager Sheila Dugan told council during Wednesday night's council session.

Dugan said she expects about 100 people to stay on for the show, which will be held on a large screen.

Families are invited to bring a chair or a blanket to watch the Oompa Loopas romp and Augustus Gloop fall into the chocolate river.

The event is just one of the things that has convinced Borough Council President Stephen Toroney to support extending the lifespan of the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority for another two years.

Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. explained to council Wednesday night that when PDIDA was created in the 1980s "it had a sunset clause and it would cease to exist unless it was extended. Obviously, over the years it has been extended a couple of times."

But the last extension expires on Dec. 31. Council can vote to extend PDIDA's life any time before then.

Mercury Photo/John Strickler
Main Street Manager Sheila Dugan
"I would like to see a two-year extension, so as not to bind future councils," Toroney said.

"I would agree with that," said Council Vice President Jeff Chomnuk.

"If you had asked me two years ago, I don't think there would have been much chance of an extension, but with what Sheila's been doing, I think she's turning it around and has done a good job," Toroney said.

Dugan, who joked about the extension that "ten years would be wonderful, but two years is great too," said the timing is good because PDIDA planned to make a presentation to council next month about the progress it has made.

Previously the president of the PDIDA Board of Directors, Dugan was named the paid Main Street Manager on May 1.

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