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Three strategies guide the Downtown Reading revitalization plan:
* STRATEGY 1 | Traditional economic development focus
* STRATEGY 2 | Attracting and retaining new investment and
businesses to Downtown Reading
* STRATEGY 3 | Improving and maintaining a positive
perception of Downtown Reading

What can we expect in 2018?
We'll Be in the Heart of Downtown
This spring, the GRCA offices will be relocated to 606 Court Street
in the heart of Downtown Reading. In addition to GRCA's offices, the
new location will also be home to partners such as:
* Assets Lancaster (focused on micro-lending)
* Berks County Latino Chamber of Commerce
* Kutztown University Small Business Development Center
(SBDC)
* Berks and Schuylkill SCORE
* U.S. Small Business Administration regional office
* Berks Alliance
The co-location of these offices will allow for a full deployment
of resources in a state-of-the-art business center with easy access for
downtown Reading businesses. In addition to this new centralized
location, one of the newest members of our team, Jobany Bedoya,
is focused on Small Business and Latino Business Outreach. With
an increase in small business activity in the city, as well as its strong
Latino population, this position is another critical piece in the path to
a new vision of Reading.
Penn Street Market
One of the events in 2017 that brought together downtown
workers and residents seeking the convenience of obtaining fresh and

12 COMMERCE QUARTERLY

WINTER 2018

locally grown food items was the Penn Street Market. And from
June 1 to September 28, 2017, these groups had easy access to locally
grown fresh fruits and vegetables, lunchtime offerings, nutrition
education and entertainment in the 400 block of Penn Street via the
market. It became THE place to be between 10 a.m and 2 p.m. each
Thursday. In 2018, market customers indicated that they would
like even more choices for fresh produce. The market team is hard
at work to ensure that there is an even greater variety of choices in
2018.
Downtown Concerts
In 2017, we saw the Downtown Alive! concert series attract
thousands of people to the downtown. Funded by the Berks County
Community Foundation, the summer concert series is a production
of the Downtown Improvement District in conjunction with SMG.
This summer we can expect to see more of the same in terms of
attendance and the caliber of artists who bring their sounds to our
downtown.
Marketing Available Downtown Properties
GRCA is using it online property database, GreaterReadingSites.
com, to provide a special focus on marketing those properties
that offer available space in Downtown Reading. Businesses and
entrepreneurs can access information so that they can explore
becoming part of the business fabric of the downtown. In summer
2018, in partnership with the Reading-Berks Commercial Industrial
Council (CIC), we will host a downtown walking tour, bringing
realtors and brokers into the downtown to see firsthand what is
available for their business clients.



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