POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- As you drive through the business district of downtown Pottsville, you get a sense of what this city once was during its peak.
Nowadays, though, it's not hard to find empty storefronts and vacant businesses, but city officials believe this part of Schuylkill County is starting to rebound, and it all starts with redevelopment.
"The Pottsville redevelopment project is an initiative that we created to address specific impediments to economic developments that we perceive and actually saw in our city," said city administrator Thomas Palamar.
"What we really want to do is take some buildings in the community that are not currently being used as efficiently, and we want to make sure that those get into the hands of people that have either a business or some opportunity to reinvigorate those buildings," said Ian Lipton, chairman of the redevelopment authority.
The city's hope is that this redevelopment project, which is spearheaded in part by the Pottsville Area Development Corporation, will give the city an economic boost and bring a wave of creative, innovative business minds to the city. To help this vision come to fruition, the project includes some financial assistance.
"The cost of acquiring and renovating some of these buildings is large. We understand that. In order to make this a reality, we could provide some grant assistance to help people incentivize their development projects," Palamar said.
"People need to be patient. They need to understand that it's not going to happen really quickly and it's building blocks like the news businesses that have come into town that are helping to create and facilitate a different culture in our downtown, in our commercial business district," said Savas Logothetides, owner of Wheel restaurant.
The demolition of some of the buildings in the business district is already underway. Officials also acknowledge a challenge with the redevelopment project is proving to some of these prospective business owners that their business models can be sustainable for the long haul.