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Old 07-10-2017, 05:15 PM
6 posts, read 6,370 times
Reputation: 21


Hi there!

I wanted to get some thoughts on West Reading.

I'm originally from the general area, but have been living in a rather large city several hours away for a number of years now. However, there's a chance I may be coming back to the area for work. (I'm up for two potential positions in PA--so if you check my user name, you'd see I posted about Philly neighborhoods as well. )

Coming from a big city, I think I'd like being in a slightly less congested area. And closer to family. However, I wouldn't want to entirely give up the ability to walk to bars or cafes. I'd also like to own property within the next year or so. West Reading has some affordable townhouses and there are all the restaurants and bars on Penn Ave.

However, when I mentioned this idea to family still living in the area, reactions were mixed. Some said that West Reading is lovely--especially since I'd be coming from a city. Others were just aghast and tried to warn me away, saying that property values are going to dive and crime from Reading is going to spill out and take over West Reading.

Personally, I think that the VF outlets condensing and part of the lot being turned into mixed office/retail space will be a boon for the area. I also think West Reading does a great job at marketing itself and supporting local business and the community. However, I haven't actually LIVED in the general area for years. So there could be a lot I'm missing.

So would I be able to get some unbiased local opinions on West Reading? (And if I'd be dooming myself to years of horror if I considered buying a house there.)

Also, I'd love if you have any advice on meeting people and making friends for a woman in her early 30s coming back to the area--when everyone I knew from high school and college is now married and on their second kid.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:06 AM
397 posts, read 545,907 times
Reputation: 454
Go for it.

West Reading is everything you researched. The crime spillover from Reading is non-existent, as far as I can tell. Close to restaurants & shops. Budget-friendly accommodations. Walkable. Terrific hospital. Terrific museum. Terrific Parkland. Farmers Market on Sundays. Neighborhood pool. It's got it all.

To address the concern about whether West Reading is going downhill, my answer for that is: Wyomissing School District. West Reading is part of the Wyomissing School District, and Wyomissing is probably the best district in the county. The desirability of the schools will keep up West Reading's cachet, no matter what.
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:09 PM
363 posts, read 784,316 times
Reputation: 628
Worked there. It's okay but you will exhaust your entertainment options rather quickly. Lancaster City has much more going for it than Reading/West Reading... and really Lancaster County is much nicer than Berks.
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:40 AM
6 posts, read 6,370 times
Reputation: 21
Thank you both for your feedback!!

I did get the job, so I'm back in the Reading area! One of the biggest pluses of West Reading is that it's minutes away from my job. Whereas Lancaster City is closer to 45 minutes away. (Maybe more during rush hour?)

However, I'm able to stay with family for a couple of months and really shop around and be picky. So I'll probably check out downtown Lancaster as well. (And if I'm gearing up for a longer commute, I might check out Phoenixville.) Just to make sure I've exhausted all of my options before making a final choice. Especially since a house is a huge commitment and locks me into one place long-term.

Aside from how fun/safe the area is and how much there is to do, my other two main concerns are:

1) Accessibility to other jobs. Obviously, I'm not planning on leaving a brand new job that I like. But I always have "you never know" in the back of my head. The majority of jobs in my industry are out near the Philly area.
2) Dating and making friends. Will I be able to meet people in their late 20's to early 40's? Coming from a big city, there were always TONS of meetups, social sports, bar trivia, volunteer opportunities, events, etc. It was a very transient city, so people were always looking to meet new friends or partners. If I start looking and find that one area has a higher concentration of social activities and people, I'd probably end up gravitating there.

Coming back to Reading is certainly a new adventure!
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Old 07-27-2017, 11:53 AM
Location: Denver, CO
22,182 posts, read 10,236,240 times
Reputation: 16617
When you say West Reading, do you mean Wyomissing? I live in Chester County, but don't get to Reading much. I have not heard positive things about downtown Reading, but I am assuming you don't mean the actual city. I have heard good things about Wyomissing.
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Old 07-28-2017, 08:15 AM
6 posts, read 6,370 times
Reputation: 21
West Reading is close but definitely separate from Reading. It's across the Penn Street Bridge (I think), and Penn Street turns into Penn Avenue. It's several blocks of townhouses, pubs, cafes, and little shops before you get to Wyomissing. They have farmer's markets on the weekend and a regular event called Art on the Avenue. It's cute.
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Old 07-28-2017, 12:02 PM
Location: Denver, CO
22,182 posts, read 10,236,240 times
Reputation: 16617
Originally Posted by notagainjanet View Post
West Reading is close but definitely separate from Reading. It's across the Penn Street Bridge (I think), and Penn Street turns into Penn Avenue. It's several blocks of townhouses, pubs, cafes, and little shops before you get to Wyomissing. They have farmer's markets on the weekend and a regular event called Art on the Avenue. It's cute.

Thanks! I don't get there anymore. Sounds nice.
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Old 08-03-2017, 10:56 PM
677 posts, read 622,996 times
Reputation: 753
My family moved to Sinking Spring (brother and his family, and my mother) about 5 years ago from North Jersey and I think its a great area, esp if you have a job already in the area. Penn Ave is rather nice with Chatty Monks and a couple other spots for dinner and drinks, but if you like going out often, you might get bored quickly as there aren't that many options compared to a big city. Even though Reading is run down and parts can be dangerous, there are still some options near the Santander Arena. Judy's on Cherry, Speckled Hen, and the Ugly Oyster are good spots in downtown Reading in the nicer section. Willoughby's is a nice upscale restaurant as well in West Reading or Wyomissing.

I would rather have a shorter commute and live near work, then live far away and deal with traffic and driving if you lived in Lancaster or Phoenixville. Just my two cents but good luck!
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:45 PM
1 posts, read 763 times
Reputation: 10
I moved to Reading from Philadelphia a little over five years ago. I came to Reading to help launch a non-profit that I thought would do some good. The ostensible mission was to teach inner city kids how to assemble computers and install and administer the Linux operating system. From what I had seen and read about Reading, I thought such a venture could do a lot to help a decidedly underprivileged, uneducated population.
Soon after arriving a local volunteer stole most of the assets of the non-profit. The building we operated in was owned by a neighborhood church. Parishioners of said church would come in and out of the building whenever they liked. They stored stolen goods in the building and engaged in all manner of criminality. None of that was my concern, I thought. However, the inevitable happened and the non-profit was unable to continue.
Subsequently I sought employment and something resembling a life in this pit. Very few employers pay a living wage. I have graduate level education but that is almost meaningless here. There is little opportunity and less ambition. West Reading, just across the bridge, is home to a methadone clinic, not a few known houses of prostitution and a handful of wannabe yuppie bars. Reading Hospital is by far the largest landlord in West Reading. In a scenario reminiscent of that which exists in West Philly, a very wealthy corporation has non-profit status and engages in questionable (when not outright illegal) business practices, tax avoidance and all around standard corporate malfeasance.
A few local businessmen enrich themselves in an urban revitalization scheme, funneling well-intentioned public funds into their deep private pockets. Boscov is a leader in this tendency, but not at all the only participant. Upon reflection, unless one lacks a moral compass, I cannot say a single positive thing about this city. Stay away!
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Old 11-16-2017, 02:00 PM
Location: Philadelphia
1,159 posts, read 681,131 times
Reputation: 1249
I have not been to Reading in years so it is hard for me to assess. But in terms of future job opportunities I would maybe stick to Phoenixville. It is an absolutely lovely area, and in terms of investing, property values are only going to continue to escalate. You are also commuting distance to suburban Philadelphia job opportunities, so say 2 years down the road, you have way more options for employment.

Lancaster city is also LOVELY. It also has rising home values and definitely a stronger economy than Reading, and would not be a bad investment either. It has a younger artistic vibe, with Franklin & Marshall and Millersville University close by.

Your commute from Lancaster to Reading will probably be smoother than Phoenixville to Reading. I most definitely would highly consider those two options.
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