Home Page Tax Office  ||  Public Works  ||  Public Affairs  ||  Code Enforcement  ||  Snow Emergency  ||  Police  ||  Fire
Garbage & Recycling
City Council  ||  City Administration  ||  Mayor's Office  ||  City Clerk
City Code
Comprehensive Plan
Area Schools
Area Attractions
Contact Us



| Existing Land Use in the Central Business District |
The Pottsville AreaDevelopment Corporation | The Main Street Marketing Assessment |
Central Business District Revitalization Goals | Central Business District Revitalization Recommendations |

The Pottsville Central Business District (CBD) is the focus of this section of the Comprehensive Plan. Current land use patterns in the CBD are described, the activities of the Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO) are profiled, and goals and recommendations are included for continuing and enhancing downtown revitalization.

The Pottsville CBD is the government and business hub of Schuylkill County. It is an active and successful downtown with excellent investment opportunities. The downtown is also an employment center and important source of property tax revenues for the City, County and School District. At the same time, Pottsville’s CBD suffers from the disinvestment and physical decline that plague urban areas throughout the country. The shopping malls, business parks and highway commercial strips that have changed our landscape continue to work against growth in downtown Pottsville. In response to these trends, a combination of public, private and non-profit entities are working to strengthen the CBD by recruiting new investment, revitalizing old properties and improving the downtown’s physical infrastructure. Important progress is evident in the CBD despite setbacks and ongoing challenges.

Existing Land Use In the Central Business District

Business uses in the Pottsville CBD are a combination of retail establishments, services and office space (including government offices). The largest retail uses in the downtown area are a supermarket and a lumber dealer, both of which have access off Route 61. On Centre Street— the heart of the downtown— the retail mix is a wide range of more specialized retailers. Video rentals, a candy store, a deli and a flower shop are examples of the small retailers that complement the pharmacy, restaurants, clothing shops and other retailers located in the CBD. Services uses include the banks, a travel agent and various hair cutting establishments, among other business and personal service providers.

Offices in the downtown are occupied by both the public and private sectors. The Pottsville City Hall, the Schuylkill Courthouse and a State office building are the predominant public users. Public entities such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Development Center and related government agencies are also found in the CBD. Privately occupied offices in the downtown include both large multi-story structures and small first floor offices.

Besides these offices, an "office row" pattern of doctors’ and lawyers’ quarters exists on Market Street between Fourth and Sixth streets. This attractive area on historic Garfield Square consists mainly of old homes that have been renovated and are being reused as professional office space. Because the Garfield Square area is not within Pottsville’s official historic district, alterations to the buildings there are not governed by the City’s Historic Architectural Review Board. Nonetheless, they are historic buildings whose adaptive reuse has occurred without compromising the area’s historic integrity. Recommendations on establishing special zoning regulations to protect the Garfield Square vicinity are included in the Future Land Use section of this Comprehensive Plan.

Major land uses in the CBD not fitting in either the retail, service or office categories include the Post Office, the Quality Hotel, the Necho Allen Apartments and three public parking areas. The Post Office is a large structure located at the eastern end of the CBD opposite the City Hall parking area. The Quality Hotel is a major attraction in the downtown that includes dining facilities and a large parking lot on Progress Avenue. The Necho Allen is an elderly housing complex at Centre and Mahantongo streets. Public parking areas in the downtown include the Capitol Deck at Centre and Arch streets, the Mahantongo Street Deck at Mahantongo and Second streets, and the Arch Street parking lot at Center and Arch streets.




The Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO)

The Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO) was founded in accordance with a 1984 recommendation by the American Cities Corporation that Pottsville needed a development corporation to oversee revitalization of the central business district. PADCO stated in 1987 with a $50,000 State Enterprise Zone grant. Since that time PADCO’s revolving loan fund has assisted in financing approximately 70 facade renovations and other physical improvements for existing and start up businesses. The 27-member PADCO Board, which consists of both public and private sector representatives, currently oversees a loan portfolio of over $1.8 million.

In partnership with the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce and others, PADCO provides site selection services, design assistance and related business development aid. With an emphasis on job creation, PADCO’s low-interest loans help fund business expansion, equipment, start-up costs, physical renovations and other business needs.

PADCO is now administering the City’s Main Street program and has grown into a major provider of management services for various public and non-profit entities. PADCO manages the City’s two public parking garages on behalf of the Pottsville Parking Authority and provides management services for the Pottsville Businessmens Association. PADCO is slated to manage the new Technology Incubator. The agency also administers the Pottsville Commission on Tourism and the Majestic Theater Corporation.

The Majestic Theater Corporation is a non-profit organization created to establish a performing Arts Center in downtown Pottsville by renovating the former Majestic Theatre on 209 North Center Street. This historic building was a movie theater from 1910 until 1930 and later served as a farmers market until it closed in 1995. PADCO holds a lease on the building at $1 per year with an option to buy after 20 years. PADCO funds, donations and grants from a variety of sources are being used to refurbish the structure to its early 20th century appearance. When reopened, the performing arts center will create an exciting cultural attraction in downtown Pottsville. The project should benefit the local arts scene, increase regional tourism and create spinoff business for downtown merchants. Top of Page

The Main Street Marketing Assessment

PADCO’s first major effort under the City’s new Main Street program was to undertake a survey of downtown shoppers, residents and local business owners. The results of this effort will help the City design an effective Main Street program that targets the CBD’s weaknesses and attempts to build on its strengths. While the market assessment and related analysis are not yet complete, the following are some important highlights of the preliminary findings to date.

  • Return of two-way traffic to Centre Street, building renovations and business recruitment efforts have improved the downtown in recent years.

  • The spirit of partnership that exists between business owners and the City is one of downtown Pottsville’s major strengths.

  • Empty storefronts, perceptions about a parking problem and a feeling among some people that nothing has really changed are still significant concerns.

  • The following are perceived as assets in the downtown area:

    • Public safety and crime prevention efforts

    • Relations between business and local financial institutions

    • Quality of Government services

    • Pedestrian and traffic circulation

    • Historic preservation

  • The following are perceived as weaknesses in the downtown area:

    • The City’s Business Privilege Tax

    • The need for more enhancement of public spaces

    • Empty buildings and vacant storefronts

    • Lack of attractions that appeal to various age groups

    • Availability of convenient parking

  • Residents’s views on what type of stores are needed most in the downtown:

    • Discount variety retailer

    • Clothing store, particularly women’s and children’s apparel

    • Movie theater

    • Restaurant

  • Respondents’ suggestions:

    • An in-house restaurant at Yuengling Brewery

    • More guided tours

    • A combined "Ethnic Day" celebration

    • A walking tour map

    • Area postcards

    • Fix up the Moose Building

    • More shopping and tourist attractions

    • A concert hall

    • Bus tours of the area Top of Page

 Central Business District Revitalization Goals

  • Continue recruiting new business investment in the CBD that can capitalize on available properties and the CBD’s competitive assets.

  • Focus on making cultural attractions the next strength of the downtown to complement the downtown’s current roles as a government center and a commercial center.

  • Continue the strong cooperation that exists between the City and the non-profit agencies that currently work directly or indirectly for downtown revitalization.

  • Ensure that financial incentives available for downtown revitalization assistance are promoted and used to the fullest extent possible. Top of Page

Central Business District Revitalization Recommendations

 Physical Recommendations

  • Focus first on redevelopment of the Keystone Opportunity Zone sites in or near the downtown:

  • Majestic Theater: Continue and enhance City financial support for this very important project, which is key to positioning Pottsville as a cultural center.

  • Former Garfield School and Former Yuengling Creamery: Continue working with the property owners to determine the best future use of these sites.

  • Moose Building: Acquire and demolish this building so that the City can have a clear site to market at this major downtown entranceway.

  • Mehlman’s Building: Continue working with the property owners in their efforts to renovate this building for expansion of their existing business next door.

  • Continue the City’s successful facade renovation program with special additional incentives for adapting downtown buildings for in-town residential uses.

  • Proceed with plans to extend streetscape improvements southward on Centre Street and consider similar improvements in the future for the west side of intersecting streets such as Laurel, Arch, Market, etc.

  • Consider banners, welcome signs, lighting improvements, landscape enhancements and other ways to beautify the entrance to the downtown along South Centre Street.

  • Amend the sign regulations in the City’s zoning ordinance to help ensure business signs in the downtown are more compatible with the area’s historic status.

  • Work with a local architect to prepare a design guidelines brochure that illustrates the proper ways to complete exterior historic rehabilitation.

  • Use highly visible vacant storefront windows as places to showcase the works of local artists.

  • Encourage demolition of non-historic buildings not suitable for rehabilitation to create space for new buildings and additional parking.

 Organizational Recommendations

  • Work closely with PADCO to refine the roles and responsibilities of the new Main Street Manager, who is also assuming the role of PADCO Executive Director.

  • Conduct periodic updates to ensure that the Main Street Manager’s inventory of available space for new business in the downtown is kept current.

  • Limit the addition of new management service responsibilities for the Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO).

Promotional Recommendations

  • Prepare a self-guided walking tour map that highlights points of interest in and around the downtown area.

  • Encourage downtown merchants to have periodic extended common hours, such as on certain Friday nights and during special events.

  • Promote joint marketing and complementary merchandising opportunities among downtown merchants.

  • Increase the potential for retail sales downtown by encouraging more downtown businesses to expand their lunch hours from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

  • Promote downtown Pottsville through shopping bags, calendars, T-shirts, coffee mugs and other items that use a colorful common logo.

  • Develop a pamphlet (with a map) that lists the names, phone numbers, business hours and location of retailers and service providers in the downtown.

  • Expand the use of community-oriented special events to create more of an entertainment atmosphere that will attract people to the downtown.

Marketing Recommendations

  • Use the results of the recent marketing assessment to help refine realistic targets for the Main Street Manager’s future business recruitment efforts.

  • Steer future downtown business recruitment towards : a) specialty niche retailers, b) business and personal service providers, and c) discount variety stores, such as Dollar Store—businesses that generally do not try to compete with large retailers found at local malls and along highway commercial strips.

  • Investigate options for revising the City’s business privilege tax to facilitate business start-ups and other business investment. Top of Page

| Introduction | Population | Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization |
| Citywide Land Use Plan | Economic Development | Central Business District Revitalization |
| Transportation | Community Facilities and Services | Action Program | Tables |