Friday, September 27, 2013

Welcome to Pottstown Senator

Photo by John Armato
State Sen. Robert Mensch, left, meets with Steel River Playhouse director Marta Kiesling and PAID director Steve Bamford during his recent tour of Pottstown.

The new 24th State Senatorial District will soon include Pottstown.
When Pennsylvania's long-delayed legislative re-districting finally falls into place in the beginning of
the year, Pottstown will not only have a new, additional representative in the House of Representatives, but a new state senator as well.

The boundaries of the 44th District, currently represented by John Rafferty, will shift south and the 24th senatorial district, will slide south to encompass Pottstown, as well as West Pottsgrove and Upper Pottsgrove.

The 24th district seat is currently held by Republican Robert Mensch.

Photo by John Armato
Mensch tours the Sly Fox Brewery
In an effort to get out in front of the change, Pottstown officials last week invited Mensch for a day-long visit to the borough to help him re-familiarize himself with town and to be sure Pottstown's issues are front and center.

Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana spear-headed the effort and reported on the results to the school board Monday night.

It began with a walking tour of the downtown area.

"To start, we visited VideoRay, ArtFusion, Steel River Playhouse and Weitzenkorn's, which Senator Mensch remembers because his father used to work at OxyChem and that's where he bought his suits," Sparagana said.

The group included Borough Manager Mark Flanders, PAID Executive Director Steve Bamford,
Photo by John Armato
Mensch meets with ArtFusion 19464 director 
Erika Hornburg-Cooper.

TriCounty Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eileen Dautrich, Hill School Headmaster Zach Lehman, PMMC CEO Sharif Omar, PDIDA Executive Director Sheila Dugan and Myra Forrest, executive director of the Foundation for Pottstown Education.

From downtown, the group boarded a trolley and visited the Pottstown campus of Montgomery County Community College, the Schuylkill River Heritage Area headquarters, The Hill School campus and the community gardens on Chestnut Street.

From there, the group went to Pottstown High School where the culinary arts class prepared lunch
Photo by John Armato
Mensch meets with Weitzenkorn's proprietor Marc Weitzenkorn.
and, in the process, "really went above and beyond," Sparagana said.

Afterwards, Sparagana said the group visited Pottstown Municipal Airport and the Sly Fox Brewery on the Circle of Progress.

"Senator Mensch told us he never expected to have the type of day he had and he was pleased and impressed by all the collaboration he saw taking place in Pottstown," Sparagana said.

"It was a good opportunity to demonstrate what happens here as this community comes together as one," Sparagana said.


  1. Evan, was Mayor Heath with the group?

    1. I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised. I wasn't there. This is based on comments provided to the school board by Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana. If he mentioned her name, I missed it.

  2. Mayor Heath was there, and was joined by her husband during part of the tour. We had a productive day (8:30 to 4:00). We began the day with a tour of Video Ray--most impressive, and a great business addition to Pottstown. For the days's tours we were also joined by Mark Flanders and Erica from the Borough administration. Dr. Sparagana and his team gave us a tour of the high school and the culinary training in the culinary comprehensive program in the high school. We also toured the remodeled Barth Elementary. We ended the day at Sly Fox--great facility. I found the day entertaining and very worthwhile and I look forward to a strong working relationship with Pottstown!