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Old 05-03-2016, 08:48 AM
 
5 posts, read 10,177 times
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I am a young Professional who works in Wyomissing PA . I live in Blandon PA . These 2 areas are closely tied to Reading PA but do not constitute Reading PA ( city itself). I am into social meetups and keep visiting West Chester and Downington ( and Philly occasionally) and when I see so much of boomtown vibe in West Chester, Exton, ( and I have heard Allentown is now on the up as well), it makes me wonder, will any of that ever spill over to the impoverished city of Reading PA
Look at the positives
- located nicely ( NJ, NYC, Philly, Exton, DC) are all within 2 hours
- The suburbs are very nice ( Sinking Spring, Wyomissing, Exeter), the outskirts are nice as well ( Fleetwood, Blandon, Muhlenberg)
- BARTA bus service is actually better than what a lot of people think!. I once did not have a car due to some technical problems and tried using BARTA to commute from Blandon to Wyomissing ( long commute via public transport but certainly doable, Bus takes u from Blandon to Downtown and then Downtown to Wyomissing all for a $4 all day pass)
- Interesting Meetup groups in Berks County.
- Rich History
- Pagoda
- Has a stable and growing population both in the city and the burbs and the outskirts.
- Nice bars in the burbs ( building 24 Wyomissing, west reading is adorned by nice restaurants and has a nice yuppie feel to it, 3rd rail in Blandon)
- VF shopping mall in West Reading
- newly made santanders arena and the beautiful hotel in downtown


Cons
- Crime, just does not seem to end ( as I write this , 1 man died in a intense gunfight outside a dollar tree in downtown Reading)
- Drugs- enough said, no description needed. The city is tarnished by drugs.
- Stigma- Reading PA has a stigma attached to it ( somewhat like Camden) about being the 'poorest' city in USA and the most crime ridden one. People don't want anything to do with the city even if the city is trying to get back on its feet.
- Poverty. Now this is a trap. Kids grow up in poverty ridden Reading around pot , coke and people who are lazy and don't work/people who live hand to mouth/paycheck to paycheck/people who don't plan things properly and professionally and the same same kids end up in the same way as their parents, cannot afford college education and they end up doing blue collared jobs ( if they don't get into trouble with the law and decide to work that is).
-Lousy downtown with absolutely nothing to do in it ( even with the newly made Santanders and Hotel). The city looks like some aliens attacked the place and never left it!!.
- Poorly managed monuments- Look at the Pagoda. The Pagoda can bring so many tourists but I don't think the politicians, people and the community care about how they can make the place a tourist hotspot.
- Poor Public transport . ( Okay I did say BARTA was better than what people thought, but when I said that, I meant to point it out as a 'potential'). the BARTA bus service does not even operate on the weekends, that is just sad. So someone not having a car in Fleetwood has no means to travel on the weekends to Downtown or Wymossing except for calling a cab .
- There is a beautiful river ( Don't know its name) which can be converted into a waterfront. Again, no interest or pride shown by the local government to do anything about it.
- No major companies thinking of opening shop here( for now)
-Lastly, the city has been in ruins for years now. Why is it that politicians promise same things during every elections and end up doing nothing? The people couldn't care much either. It has remained the same for years and years now except for some minor changes .

What do you people think? Is there a chance of any gentrification or a spillover of a boom from the Exton/WestChester/Philly over to Reading PA?

Last edited by Blandonboy; 05-03-2016 at 09:14 AM..
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:37 AM
 
633 posts, read 483,357 times
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Absolutely not. There's simply too much going against it and not enough going for it.


It's not really in a convenient location. If one wants proximity to Philly- you can simply live in philly, or in one of the surrounding suburbs with lower cost of living and more robust transportation infrastructure. 2 hours one way is madness.


It's not going to gentrify- gentrification is happening because millenials are flooding into downtown areas- again robust transportation, sense of community, huge arts and culture scene, concentration of certain types of jobs in the medical and education industries...Reading has none of this- or at least it's minimal compared to Philadelphia. If I wanted to live the urban life, why would I go to reading instead of Philly, DC, or NY?


Massive Poverty problem and terrible school system- this one is killer, because its pretty much a death spiral. Nothing will change until you have the money to correct it, and you don't have the money to correct it because the residents are poor and provide little tax revenue. An abysmal school system keeps families from locating there, they'll simply move elsewhere. You're stuck with the people who for the most part are stuck there. To be fair Philly ALSO has an awful school system, and because of this has a problem retaining the millenials that move there in their twenties.


It's dead, Jim
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:50 AM
 
12,742 posts, read 28,685,272 times
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I don't know if it's possible, but I don't think you should give up on it. I understand that Reading recently got a new School Superintendent, along with some fresh board members.

Allentown was pretty much in the same boat as Reading but is in the process of Revitalization: The Hamilton District - welcome to downtownallentown.com your Lehigh Valley destination for downtown Allentown PPL events, entertainment, dining and arts. It's been quite fun to go to downtown Allentown at night now and see people walking around, going to bars, restaurants, or the new PPL center. PPLCenter It's not there yet, but it's night and day to how it's been.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:41 AM
 
5 posts, read 10,177 times
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Hi Jim
I agree with you on some parts but there is one part I would like to disagree with

It's not really in a convenient location. If one wants proximity to Philly- you can simply live in philly, or in one of the surrounding suburbs with lower cost of living and more robust transportation infrastructure. 2 hours one way is madness.

Okay , first of all when i said 2 hours , I meant 'within 2 hours' not exactly 2 hours. This means anything between 30 mins and 2 hours!. Exton is not 2 hours from Reading, neither is west chester and Downington and King of Prussia. they are all within an hour of Reading PA ( 45-50 mins)
Philly is an hour or two depending on the traffic you hit.

And i did not mean to say it in terms of a daily commute but more in terms of a weekend /hangout/holiday commute. I lived in Rochester Ny before this and literally anywhere on the east coast would take 5-7 hours with nothing but barren land on the way. Rochester to Reading was 5 and half hours, Rochester to NYC area was 6 hours +, Nj was 5 and half hours, DC 7 hours, Pittsburg 4 hours and so on. Everything was a 300 mile drive away. Compared to that, Reading is nicer and I don't need to drive 300 miles to get to a major place.

So in that terms, it is convenient.( compared to Rochester and Buffalo)
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Old 05-03-2016, 03:06 PM
 
283 posts, read 362,157 times
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I think it would have a fighting chance if regional rail service was extended out to Reading and boroughs like Pottstown, Royersford, Phoenixville, etc... It's too bad the funding isn't there.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Philly
9,995 posts, read 14,341,258 times
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Some of it is the locals attitude. I notice you said it's crime ridden like camden...but there's little.truth to that. It's crime rate is more similar to lancaster than camden which has a crime rate more than double reading. In some ways it's amazing it's doing as well as it is given the poverty rates. It will end when people decide to fix it. It has to start with regional residents being willing to live there. I had never been to reading and visited two years ago In the fall and was pleasantly surprised. It's a very attractive city in both built environment and setting. Would love to see train service to philly restored.
There's. Lot more there there than chester whose location should have saved it
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Old 05-08-2016, 02:30 PM
 
77 posts, read 128,239 times
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Reading has some ingredients for it like the fact that it has a stable to growing population, and the downtown area isn't bad. Many people who post on here are generally white, so god forbid you see minorities in a city it is completely viewed as having not a chance. Like you mentioned with allentown, it was in the same exact spot as reading, but thanks to some tax initiatives downtown is booming, but many people who live in the suburbs around allentown still call it a dump and a ghetto, mainly because it is mostly non-white, go figure. Its laughable when people say allentown is a crime infested city, when its crime rate is actually pretty low compared to other cities in pennsylvania. Overall i think reading will improve, maybe with the help of some tax initiatives by the state.
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Old 05-08-2016, 03:11 PM
 
12,742 posts, read 28,685,272 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N.Y.C.H View Post
Reading has some ingredients for it like the fact that it has a stable to growing population, and the downtown area isn't bad. Many people who post on here are generally white, so god forbid you see minorities in a city it is completely viewed as having not a chance. Like you mentioned with Allentown, it was in the same exact spot as reading, but thanks to some tax initiatives downtown is booming, but many people who live in the suburbs around Allentown still call it a dump and a ghetto, mainly because it is mostly non-white, go figure. Its laughable when people say Allentown is a crime infested city, when its crime rate is actually pretty low compared to other cities in Pennsylvania. Overall i think reading will improve, maybe with the help of some tax initiatives by the state.
No idea what you are talking about when you say that people in suburbs around Allentown still call it a dump. For one thing, there are not many "suburbs' around Allentown, mostly there are small towns. Second, everyone I know is tickled pink about how Allentown has rebounded. Just three years ago I hesitated on going into center city Allentown at night. That's very different than now with the PPL center driving the change - new restaurants, great hotels, etc. The locals that grew up with a vibrant Allentown are the most enthused with the change.
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:19 PM
 
77 posts, read 128,239 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
No idea what you are talking about when you say that people in suburbs around Allentown still call it a dump. For one thing, there are not many "suburbs' around Allentown, mostly there are small towns. Second, everyone I know is tickled pink about how Allentown has rebounded. Just three years ago I hesitated on going into center city Allentown at night. That's very different than now with the PPL center driving the change - new restaurants, great hotels, etc. The locals that grew up with a vibrant Allentown are the most enthused with the change.
Unfortunatly I have no idea what your talking about either, because outside of a small group of people who actually think positive about allentown (myself included, lovely city) most people around the valley call it a dump, and a crime infested city, both of which are not accurate anyway.
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:00 PM
 
283 posts, read 362,157 times
Reputation: 314
Allentown has made HUGE strides recently. I mean look at the kind of development it's seeing these days. It's downtown resurgence has been incredible.

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