Downtown Marketing and Development

Insights and observations on the redevelopment and revitalization of post-industrial towns on the Route 422 Corridor in Southeastern Pennsylvania.


It is All Like That

Many people, some whom I don't even really know, have asked me for help dealing with the recovery programs during the COVID-19 crisis — So much so I posted the rules of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on my website and sent them to the site, so they did not have to write everything down. In most cases, it was a single form with a bunch of attachments that would be done by their accountant.

Phoenixville Train Project Continues to Move Forward

The inter-city rail connection from Phoenixville continues to move forward. For purposes of moving the project forward, the Phoenixville School District voted to endorse the effort. The remaining entity to approve is Chester County. All relevant data has been sent to the county and awaits their endorsement to move the project forward.

Spatial Separation as a Way of Maintaining Housing Value — Part 1

In recent weeks I have devoted a little more time to addressing issues relating to gentrification in Coatesville. It appeared to me to be where somehow many of the black people in Chester County ended up in one place. There is a spatial separation of minorities in Chester County. Minorities are not evenly distributed throughout the county. 

Movement CDC Update, My Project in Coatesville

I recently was asked to help the Movement Community Development Corporation in Coatesville, and I thought year-end I would update the progress they are making in the revitalization.

Coatesville has been an area that has drawn a lot of interest in subsidized housing over the years. The City is designated Racial/Ethnic Concentrated Area of Poverty (RECAP), which is not a real good designation to have bestowed. The housing in the area has vacant and underutilized properties and many tangled title properties. There are many rentals in the City, and the homeownership rate is low.

Phoenixville Today — An Interview with Manny DeMutis

Manny DeMutis is a Phoenixville native who attended Phoenixville School District along with his two sisters Dodi and Ann.  They currently comprise the 3D Group, which was responsible for the revitalization of Phoenixville.  Manny is married to Kate and they have three daughters Hope, Paige and Ava.

The ultimate family man, he currently spends time traveling to Paige’s Field Hockey events in East Carolina or visiting Hope at Penn State.  Because of the nature of his work, Manny spends most of his summers doing business in his beach chair at Cape May.

Federal Opportunity Zones and the Disenfranchised

How do you breathe life into a dying town or a census district that has a lot of poverty and disinvestment? It is pretty tricky when you come to the realization that no one has invested in these areas or properties for a good amount of time. Stores are vacant and the housing becomes the refuge of the low-income population. 

Revitalizing Downtowns with Downtown Infill

When most traditional downtowns were planned, normally there was a residential component to maximize the income of the buildings, and for practical purposes, enable additional rentable space for the owner.  Now, with the movement of people back to smaller towns, the modern-day adaption is not quite like it was in the days when these downtowns were originally designed.

The Culture of the Individual and Aesthetic Considerations

While in Rome last week I had an opportunity to visit the Coliseum which was kind of an adventure to me.  After standing in line for 45 minutes we got to see the artifacts and some of the narratives that went along with the impressive ruins.  There was one part of the tour that stuck in my mind. 

Phoenixville Train Project Changes Tracks

The Borough of Phoenixville's access to passenger rail to Philadelphia ended through the dissolution of CONRAIL. The Mayor's Task Force for the Restoration of Passenger Rail Service to Phoenixville is spearheading the effort to restore service on the same rail line, now owned by Norfolk Southern.

Impact of Opportunity Zones

Recently I have been asked to help a community group in Coatesville. The group of residents got together and formed a CDC, with a primary focus on the resident. They are separate from the current effort to revitalize Coatesville. They are what some call, an ancillary group — A group of people wanting to do good.

Change in Transportation along the 422 Corridor

Recently I returned to Philadelphia after being in Pittsburgh the better part of the last three years looking after my father. Any of you that have elderly parents will soon find out choices in your life will sometimes take a back seat to what you have to do as a responsible family member. Although Pittsburgh, to me, is like being in social Siberia, I would not change a moment of sharing my father’s last days. 

DeMutis Group Funds Study of Options for Rail Service to Phoenixville

Phoenixville Developer Manny DeMutis took time to address the reasons why he is funding a study for the Borough to assess the possibility of options for Rail Service to Phoenixville. His proposal was presented to the borough Infrastructure Committee where it met with approval. It will be forwarded to Borough Council for a vote, where DeMutis expects an affirmative vote to proceed.

Opinion — Change in Freedom

From liberal to libelous, from “Bonzo” to Birch idol, born again. Civil rights, women's rights, gay rights… it's all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it, first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

Nostalgia, that's what we want… The good ol' days when we gave 'em hell? When the buck stopped somewhere, and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white – and so was everything else. Gil Scott Heron – Lyrics from the song, “B – Movie”

Internet and Change

I have previously written about the internet bringing people closer together than ever.  Social media lets us know people’s every move. It is now possible to let Google know your location, have amazon send all your needs through prime membership, or put your address phone number and birthdate on Facebook so all your “friends” know.  We have become reliant on our electronic information stream and to form our social networks.

Walking Around Money and Earmarks

I have been advocating for a loosening of the system statewide to bring back Walking Around Money (WAM). There was a time before the single application when the money was awarded without an application, but it was then refined to the Community Revitalization Program (CRP), which at least had a paper trail on how the money would be used.

Change and Loops in Time

As I finish up with my career I am being a little more selective concerning what I work on and try to stay closer to home. Personal circumstances have dictated that I work in Pittsburgh. My father was ill and being “himself” I was drafted to look after his final days. Living in Pittsburgh part time was a little bit different and I remembered why I left every morning when I awoke. So, I decided it would be good to center most of my work back in the Philadelphia area after he passed away and I settled the estate.

Change and Cultural Positioning

Since the onset of civilization, there has been the practice of religion. Belief in God. I say belief because there is no proof one way or the other that there is a god. That is why people talk about their faith, as they have faith that god exists.  I am not here to debate the existence of god, but in the changing political and social climate, the practice of religion has come under attack. 

Change in the Small Town

As we are moving to the ¼ mark of the new century, some of the downtown real estate has taken on a new dimension.  In many cases, the return to the small town has been an “in” thing to do. Some towns have embraced the efforts to become the renewed center of commerce, while some towns have not been able to make that transition. The difference in towns affects the real estate values in the political subdivision, and in turn the income from taxes.

Opinion — Globalization and Change

There has been an effort on behalf of some to initiate a global agenda in the United States. After all, we are part of the world, and we are all brothers and sisters. Global barriers are breaking down, and there is an effort for people to consider themselves citizens of the world, rather than a particular nation.  

Change is in your Mind

I always try to broaden my horizons. I did not care too much for school when I was young. I also did not do well. Most of my attention was not geared toward academic achievement.  Most of the kids in my New Jersey High School were hovering around 97 – 99 percent on whatever that test was that measured our intelligence, while others like me did not score as well.

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