Sunday, August 9, 2020

Hobart's Run Expands West to Washington Street

A clean-up Hobart's Run sponsored with Pottstown Community Action at the corner of Beech and Adam's Street, which, until recently, marked the western edge of its area of activity.

Blogger's Note: The following was submitted by Hobart's Run.

The Hobart’s Run Board of Directors voted on July 29 to expand the western boundary of its focus area, a decision that allows the neighborhood improvement initiative to formally increase and enhance its direct engagement with and support of area residents, businesses, and nonprofits.

The current boundaries of the initial 600-parcel focus area are from North Adams on the west; to Beech, Grant, and Jackson on the north; Keim on the east; and Queen Street on the south.

The new area extends to North Washington Street, adding about 200 parcels to the Hobart’s Run focus area, including about 25 properties in the 500-600 blocks of High Street.

The boundaries are referenced in targeting block clean-up support and eligibility for Hobart’s Run Fa├žade Improvement Grants (FIGs) and Homeownership Incentive Program (HIP) funds, as well as other projects.

The expansion area encompasses landmarks including the Pottstown Regional Public Library, the Washington and Chestnut Street Park, and the Mosaic Community Garden at 615 Chestnut Street.

Twila Fisher, Director of Community and Economic Development for Hobart’s Run, says data from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) indicates notable pedestrian traffic on High Street near Washington. The expanded boundary allows Hobart’s Run to direct some of its resources to “clean, green, and safe” initiatives in this area, among other goals.

One step Hobart’s Run plans to initiate soon is a crime mapping study executed in collaboration with the Pottstown Police Department. This study – like Hobart’s Run’s earlier study – will likely result in funding and installation of an additional video camera or cameras in the expansion area. Currently there are 11 security cameras installed in Pottstown that were funded through the Hobart’s Run neighborhood initiative.

“A key part of the Hobart’s Run mission is to enhance safety for our residents, and, of course, all of Pottstown,” says Fisher, noting the nonprofit’s full mission is to “create a clean and safe community; foster inclusivity; provide incentives for home ownership and property pride; and generate quality business development, all while supporting revitalization efforts throughout Pottstown.”

The boundary extension also enables Hobart’s Run to apply for a second Pa. Department of Economic Development grant to extend sidewalk repairs, “Share the Road” markings, and improved street lighting in the area near the Ricketts Center at 658 Beech St. 

(In spring of 2019, Hobart’s Run was awarded a $100,000 DCED Multi-Modal Grant for such work, as well as a pledge of $37,000 from The Hill School toward implementation. Sidewalk repairs, the first phase of work, are scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.)

When the Hobart’s Run Neighborhood Improvement initiative was formally established by The Hill School in the fall of 2016, organizers strategically limited the eligibility boundaries for its key programs and related finacial commitment. 

As recommended at the time by successful neighborhood revitalization efforts in areas including Lancaster, Pa., and Hartford, Conn., this approach best ensured that tangible, measurable impact could occur before extending the physical area and related commitments.

Notes Cathy Skitko, Director of Communications for Hobart’s Run, “Four years later, we have documented numerous, tangible successes -- ranging from establishment as a 501(c)(3) in 2017 and organizing several impactful Pottstown Investors Conferences, to coordinating regular block clean-ups, launching our FIG and HIP programs, playing a key role in restoring Edgewood Cemetery, and helping to fund important needs affecting residents both within and beyond our immediate Hobart’s Run borders.” 

(Please see the Hobart’s Run Impact Statement at www.hobartsrunpottstown.org for more detailed
Hobart's Run board Chairman Mike Harris, right, at an
investor's conference in 2018.
information.)

Hobart’s Run already works closely with other neighborhood and Pottstown improvement partners, ranging from Pottstown Community Action, to Pottstown Area Industrial Development (PAID), Inc.

“The more Hobart’s Run can do to geographically connect and collaborate with other Pottstown endeavors, the better the results will be for our entire community,” Skitko says.

“I’m very pleased the Board has approved this significant expansion,” says Michael Harris, chairman of the Hobart’s Run Board of Directors. “It allows Hobart’s Run to stretch itself and offer even more toward greater Pottstown community revitalization. This initiative has completed meaningful work in a short period of time. The Hobart’s Run staff realizes there is much more to do, and they are ready to take that on.”

Tax-deductible financial contributions to Hobart’s Run’s programs are always welcomed. To make a gift via PayPal, donors may log into their account and search for hobartsrun.pottstown@gmail.com. Checks may be made payable to The Hill School and earmarked “for Hobart’s Run,” and mailed to the attention of Hobart’s Run c/o 860 Beech St., Pottstown, PA 19464. 

Hobart’s Run also may be designated as a smile.amazon.com donation recipient.

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