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| Sweage Disposal | Water Supply | Schools | Hospitals | Supplementary Health Care |
Recreation | Tourism | Regionalization | Community Facilities Goals |
Community Facilities Recommendations |

In this Comprehensive Plan, the term "Community Facilities and Services" refers to the following:

  • Sewage Disposal
  • Water Supply
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Supplementary Health Care
  • Recreation
  • Tourism

Sewage Disposal

Clean potable water and the removal of both wastewater and storm water is the shared responsibility of the City of Pottsville, the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority (GPASA), and the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority.

The City of Pottsville is divided into two sewer districts. The West End Sewer District, which basically starts at 18th Street and covers the western portion of the City, drains to the West End Sewage Treatment Plant, which is located between the West Branch of the Schuylkill River and the Gordon Nagle Trail (S.R. 901). The remaining flows drain to the main plant located between the Schuylkill River and PA Route 61. The Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority (GPASA) operates both plants and is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the collection and conveyance system. Improvements to the system have been typically shared by both the City and the Sewer Authority.

West End Sewer District

The West End Treatment Plant’s current permitted capacity is 500,000 gallons per day or 0.5 MGD. Discharge is to the West Branch of the Schuylkill River. The collection system to the plant features combined storm drainage and sanitary sewer lines in a variety of sizes. At present, the plant cannot handle the peak flow of the combined system particularly during rainfall events of normal intensity and duration. Due to this problem, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) has initiated a moratorium on new connections to this portion of the system.

Main Sewer District

The Main Treatment Plant’s current permitted capacity is 4,500,000 gallons per day or 4.5 MGD. Average flows to the plant are around 3.6 MGD. The collection system to this plant also features a combined storm drainage and sanitary sewer lines in a variety of sizes. Although not to the degree of the West End Plant, the Main Sewer Plant also exceeds its capacity during peak flow rainfall events. Due to this problem, and the probable need to upgrade mechanical equipment at the plant, PA DEP has also initiated a moratorium on new connections to this portion of the system as well.

The present conditions and problems at both the Main Sewer Plant and West End Sewer Plant are causing localized flooding, street deterioration and basement flooding.

The Authority’s major repair, rehabilitation and maintenance projects have involved the older stone arch culverts running through the City, and work on these structures continues on a yearly basis. However, these projects do not alleviate the conditions and problems stated above that are associated with the combined storm/sanitary collection system.

The City has investigated the feasibility and evaluated alternatives for separating the combined storm/sanitary collection system. However, due to prohibitive costs and budget concerns, proposed projects have never fully materialized. Only some small separation projects have been completed to date, which are:

1. West Market Street, 3 blocks from 22nd Street to 25th Street

2. Water Street, in its entirety

3. Revine Street in its entirety Top of Page

Water Supply

All City inhabitants, including residential, commercial, industrial and municipal users, are provided a dependable and adequate supply of drinking water and water pressure by the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority (SCMA). The Municipal Authority began in 1834 as the Pottsville Water Company and as a legally chartered Authority in the State of Pennsylvania, it is one of the County’s oldest governmental bodies. SCMA is the largest water supplier in the County, providing metered service to approximately 34,000 customers in the City of Pottsville and surrounding communities.

Service is provided through an integrated system comprised of six (6) Authority-owned reservoirs, storage tanks, distribution mains and pump stations. In addition, if a drought situation should occur, there are three (3) emergency wells available for service. Pressure-regulating valves have also been installed in the distribution system to regulate pressure, better serve customers and provide more adequate fire protection in the service area. These valves provide an added advantage of reducing distribution main breaks by maintaining a 24-hour steady pressure within the system.

The Federal Drinking Water Act of 1976, and rules and regulations of Federal and State regulatory agencies, mandated all surface water suppliers in the State to have approved water filtration treatment facilities by 1995. The Authority complied with these mandates by 1995 and today three (3) water filtration plants have been constructed to filter and treat water from the Authority’s six (6) reservoirs for the Pottsville area system. The following table is a listing of the facilities, the source of supply, and the service area for each plant.



Basic educational institutions noted in this section are the schools, colleges, universities and other learning centers available to City residents.

The Pottsville Area School District

The City belongs to the Pottsville Area School District, which provides public education to students from kindergarten through grade 12. The District is comprised of three main complexes, recreational/sport facilities and auxiliary buildings.

Students in kindergarten through 4th grade attend the John S. Clarke Elementary Center. This facility provides elementary education for the District with 52 classrooms along with a library, gymnasium, music rooms, and a combined auditorium/cafeteria. An outdoor playground allows children to enjoy "recess" outside when weather permits. The District’s bus garage is also located at this facility.

Grades 5 through 8 are accommodated at the D.H.H. Lengel Middle School complex. This facility’s three-story building has 40 classrooms, a library, cafeteria and a 600 seat auditorium. This complex also includes Martz Hall, containing a large basketball gymnasium and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The facilities accommodate high school basketball and swimming competitions, respectively.

An impressive four-story building sitting high on a hill, the Pottsville High School has been a landmark in the City since 1933. Housing grades 9 through 12, this facility contains 100 classrooms, a library, boys and girls gymnasiums, a 100-seat theater, a 1,200-seat auditorium, a planetarium and observatory. The District’s football stadium is also here, located adjacent to the High School building.

The District provides students with a wide range of educational courses and opportunities. Children begin instruction in computer skills at the elementary level. Standard curriculums at all levels are structured around basic science, math, language, literature, social studies, and music and art courses.

In addition, emphasis is placed on recognizing and developing individual student needs, interests, and skills. Combined with required courses, high school students are offered comprehensive curriculum programs geared to their individual goals and desires after graduation. Examples of these curriculums include, but are not limited to, college preparatory, business, and technology programs.

To promote balanced development of each student, the District provides an extensive variety of sports programs, special interest clubs, and extra-curricular activities accommodating students of almost any age interest, ability, or athletic interest and ability.

The District continually monitors and evaluates area population trends with respect to its current student enrollment and to anticipate future enrollment. Existing facilities are routinely improved and upgraded, and accommodate their current student bodies. Fluctuations in student population have been addressed by restructuring classroom size, however, expansion of existing facilities would be investigated if a large rise in enrollment is predicted for the District.

Parochial Schools

There are two Catholic Schools located in the City that are part of the parochial education system operated by the Diocese of Allentown.

All Saints Catholic School provides elementary education. Open to students of all religious faiths, this facility offers an integration of spiritual and academic development to students from kindergarten through 8th grade. The School also operates a pre-school program at this facility.

Nativity BVM High School accommodates students from grades 9 through 12, and is also open to students of all religious faiths. Located high on a hill overlooking the City, Nativity’s four-story building was designed to accommodate up to 1,300 students. This modernized facility currently utilizes 30 classrooms, a library, and a large combined auditorium/gymnasium.

Student enrollment is diverse. Derived from the City and surrounding communities, the student body is comprised of individuals from various religious and socio-economic backgrounds. In keeping with the standards of the parochial education system, Nativity offers its students an integration of spiritual, academic, social and athletic development. The School encourages recognition of individual student needs and abilities and provides comprehensive curriculums taught on four levels: General, Regular, Advanced and Advanced Placement. The student/teacher ratio is approximately 12 to 1.

Nativity students can participate in a wide variety of sports and the School is proud of the achievements of its students athletes. Most recently, the girls basketball team won back to back State Championships. Many extra-curricular activities and special interest clubs are also available. One notable activity is a student volunteer program that reaches out to elderly persons in area hospitals and nursing homes.

Statistics have shown Nativity students score higher on the SAT than local, state and national averages. A high percentage of its student body is accepted to institutions of high learning, with many offered scholarships, awards and grants.

The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit #29

The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit #29 operates the North and South Area Vocational Technical Schools (AVTS). North AVTS is located in Frackville and South AVTS in Mar Lin. These schools provide training to high school students wishing to pursue vocational careers. The Intermediate Unit coordinates the AVTS programs and consulting services for all public school districts in Schuylkill County. Courses are offered in the Building, Technical, Industrial, and Service Trades. Students attend academic classes at their home schools and are transported to one of the AVTS centers for their vocational training courses.

The Intermediate Unit offers many additional services and programs benefiting the Schuylkill County community, including but not limited to:

  • The Schuylkill Training and Technology Center and Schuylkill Career and Technology Center, offering adults a variety of short-term certificate programs.
  • Special Education Programs for all age groups including a Pre-School and Early Intervention Program and Secondary Special Education Program.
  • Credit and non-credit Adult Education Courses and Special Interest Courses available during day and evening hours.

Higher and Continuing Education

In addition to the programs featured by the Schuylkill County Intermediate Unit #29, there are many educational opportunities available to City and County residents wishing to further their education.

Penn State Schuylkill, the Capitol College, a branch campus of the Pennsylvania State University, is located in Schuylkill Haven. The Schuylkill Campus offers both Bachelor and Associate degree programs in many fields of study. This facility allows area residents to remain local and pursue a college degree through a major university.

Other local educational facilities are the Schuylkill Institute of Business and Technology, the McCann School of Business, the Alvernia College Schuylkill Center, the Franklin Academy, and the Empire Beauty School. All have locations in the City of Pottsville and offer certification or a two-year Associate degree in many programs.

Also, a Business/Education Partnership and Team Pennsylvania Careerlink program have been developed to assist in meeting job skills training for local workforce demands. This partnership also focuses on career awareness, school drop out factors and other social and educational concerns of the Schuylkill County Community.*

* Quoted from Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce publication "Schuylkill County Pennsylvania, Charting our Course for a New Century", 2000. Top of Page


Hospitals and supplementary health care facilities are identified as they typically provide for the medical needs and physical well being of City residents as well as residents of the greater Schuylkill County area.

The Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic

A community hospital founded in 1895, the Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic has been providing health care to City and County residents for over a century.

The Hospital has evolved into a modern, full-service general acute health care facility accommodating over 230 beds, a 200-member medical staff, and 800 skilled employees. An extensive range of inpatient and outpatient services are provided including Ambulance Service; a 24-hour Physician staffed Emergency Unit; Coronary and Intensive Care Units; General and Same Day Surgery; Maternity and Pediatric Care; Radiology and Laboratory Services; a Physical Rehabilitation Unit; and Pharmaceutical Services. Specialty services and programs have also been added including an Occupational Medicine Program; an Injury Care Program; Hospital-based Home Health and Certified Hospice; Inpatient and Adolescent Psychiatric Units; and even a Sleep Disorder Center.

The Hospital also continues to operate the Pottsville Hospital School of Nursing. Still located across the street adjacent to the Hospital, the School now has direct access to the main hospital building by way of an overhead enclosed walkway.

The Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center

The Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center is an acute care Catholic health care facility affiliated with the Daughters of Charity National Health System.

Located in Pottsville since 1920, Good Samaritan has also grown and expanded, offering a staff of over 200 physicians in 34 specialties and over 800 associates providing modern, comprehensive health care services and programs to area residents. Services and programs include Ambulatory Services; a 24-hour Emergency Department; Surgical Services; Physical Therapy; Maternity Services; Pediatrics; Dialysis; and an MRI Center.

In addition, there is a Miners Clinic and Lung Rehabilitation Program, a Center for Drug and Alcohol Counseling and on-going programs in diabetes, cancer , smoking, CPR, weight control and stress management.

These are just a sampling of the programs and services offered by the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. This institution plans to continue to grow and stay current with healthcare advancements to better service the community. Top of Page

Supplementary Health Care

In addition to the services provided by area hospitals and medical centers, Pottsville and Schuylkill County residents also have other health care facilities available.

Out patient rehabilitation is offered by the Schuylkill Rehabilitation Center, an accredited facility, and the American Rehab Center. Both have locations in Pottsville and offer Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy along with specialty programs in Aquatic Therapy, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine, Psychology and Prosthetics. Each center provides comprehensive programs designed for individual patient needs.

The Schuylkill County Human Services Department coordinates a number of County- sponsored programs with the private sector. Providing for the community, these programs include:

  • The Schuylkill County Area Agency on Aging. Considered a model program in Pennsylvania, this agency provides extensive services for elderly county residents.
  • The Schuylkill County Mental Health and Retardation Program. Also considered a model program in Pennsylvania, this program helps individuals of all ages with temporary or chronic mental and emotional problems.
  • The Schuylkill County Drug and Alcohol Commission. This commission aims to prevent drug and alcohol abuse through many educational awareness programs but also provides help to individuals currently suffering from these conditions. Programs include "high risk" youth identification, intervention, detoxification, and outpatient treatment and rehabilitation centers.
  • Additional Programs coordinated by the Department are centered on spousal abuse, children and youth services, a Woman’s Rape Crisis Center, and the County Commission for Women.

Concluding supplementary health care, elderly and retired residents have many public and private health care facilities available that provide for senior citizens special needs. Whether temporary or permanent rehabilitation or medical needs must be accommodated, or residents simply desire a nice place to retire locally, there are facilities to meet their needs. Options include nursing/rehabilitation homes, personal care facilities, assisted living facilities and retirement homes and communities. Some facilities offer combined levels of care at one location. Whatever the level of service or care required, City and County residents have Quality Care facilities to accommodate them in their senior years. Top of Page


During the drafting of the 1988 Comprehensive plan, an inventory of existing recreation facilities was conducted. Those facilities included tot-lots, playgrounds, multi-purpose areas, and public as well as private pools. Deficiencies were identified on many of those sites relating to safety hazards and underutilization. Since 1988 the City has diligently worked toward the repair and maintenance of the most heavily used facilities and the closing of underutilized facilities.

The following is a revised, up-to-date list of recreation facilities currently utilized by City residents.


In addition to the above list, there are several privately-owned facilities within City limits. This category includes school facilities. The City’s "flagship" recreational facility is the J. F. K. Memorial Pool. The City has recently obtained a $400,000 State grant to continue upgrades, install a new slide, and baby pool.



Tourism offers Pottsville the potential to increase recreation opportunities for local residents and contribute to economic development, particularly if it is approached in a regional manner. A major initiative now underway involves Pottsville and Tamaqua Borough, who have jointly acquired a $397,000 PennDOT Transportation Enhancement grant for three primary activities:

1. Moving the Pottsville terminus of the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad excursion line closer to downtown Pottsville.

2. Development of a rail to trail project between Pottsville and Tamaqua.

3. Streetscape improvements, primarily in Tamaqua.

The Pottsville terminus of the Pottsville/Tamaqua excursion rail line is currently located on the west side of Route 61 behind a medical office building south of Mauch Chunk Street. An existing rail siding will be used to extend the rail northward to a new terminus that will be established at the City’s Union Street Parking Lot. The new end point for the excursion will place passengers in much more convenient walking distance to the Pottsville central business district. Hopefully, this will lead to increased business for downtown merchants and encourage people to explore Pottsville’s other tourist attractions, such as the Yuengling Brewery, the John O’Hara house, and the soon to be ready Majestic Theater.

The 17-mile rail trail between Pottsville and Tamaqua Borough is an other exciting development for recreation and tourism in Pottsville. Tamaqua is adjacent to Carbondale, which has completed a Heritage Plan designed to help the Borough capitalize on its historic attractions. Tamaqua is only a short distance from Jim Thorpe, which is a already a major tourist destination. Completing an attractive physical link from Pottsville to these heavily visited areas will connect Pottsville to a new tourist market. The rail trail would be part of the John Bartram Trail, which is within the Northern Reach of the Schuylkill River Heritage corridor that extends from Philadelphia to Schuylkill County.

The rail trail is being developed in two sections. The Tamaqua to Middleport section is an existing PennDOT right-of-way that the State acquired and graded but never used. The Transportation Enhancement grant will fund a new trail surface, drainage improvements and signs for this leg of the trail, which is already in use informally. Trail planners are still evaluating the best route for the Middleport to Pottsville section of the trail. The three options now being considered are:

1. Along the shoulder of PA Route 209,

2. Sharing the right-of-way with the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad, and

3. Sharing the right-of-way for a sewer line that would be constructed along the Schuylkill River after the proposed Schuylkill Valley Sewer Authority is formed.

The initiatives being funded by the Pottsville/Tamaqua Transportation Enhancement grant are part of a growing awareness in Pottsville and elsewhere in Schuylkill County about the potential for increased tourism. Another related project is the proposed Molly Maguires Auto Tour, a 3 to 4-hour self-guided trip between Jim Thorpe and Pottsville. A cassette is currently in production that would describe highlights along a designated route. The courthouses at Jim Thorpe in Carbon County and Pottsville in Schuylkill County each played a significant role in the legal trials associated with the Molly Maguires story.

The Pottsville Commission on Tourism has produced a colorful and informative brochure describing 20 points of interest and 16 murals that can be viewed along a walking tour of Pottsville. The Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce has retained a consultant from Milwaukee to evaluate the County and pinpoint attractions around which sightseeing tours, golfing and other activities could be packaged with the cooperation of the local hospitality industry. These and other efforts, such as the proposed development of Sharp Mountain for hiking, environmental education and related forms of recreation, are aimed at developing Schuylkill County as a travel and recreation center, with the City of Pottsville as a key component. Top of Page


Regionalization refers to the growing number of municipalities that are cooperating to plan and deliver municipal services. Municipalities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are recognizing the benefits of working together to address common objectives. Participants have used a variety of techniques ranging from informal agreements and regional planning bodies to formal mergers. Areas of cooperation most frequently include joint purchasing, equipment sharing, regional police, shared recreation services and land use planning. In addition to saving money through economies of scale, regionalization promotes more efficient municipal management. In summary, working together is a common sense approach to problems and issues that do not stop at municipal borders.

Pottsville has a history of regional cooperation, especially in the area of economic development, where the City has long recognized the need for a countywide approach to modernizing the area’s economic base. Recently, the City agreed to be part of a study to assess the feasibility of regional police in Pottsville, Mechanicsburg, Mount Carbon, Norwegian and Palo Alto (the Pottsville Area School District). With assistance from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, Pottsville completed an agreement to contract police service to adjacent Mechanicsburg Borough beginning in January, 2001. Top of Page

Community Facilities Goals

  • Ensure that the best quality and quantity of potable water is available to City residents.
  • Provide for safe conveyance and treatment of wastewater.
  • Provide the best in education and health care for City residents.
  • Continue providing safe and enjoyable recreational facilities.
  • Expand Pottsville’s efforts at attracting more tourists and other visitors.
  • Continue looking for opportunities to share planning and delivery of municipal services with neighboring municipalities. Top of Page

Community Facilities Recommendations

  • The City of Pottsville and the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority have worked well together in the past. One example of these efforts has been City Street reconstruction projects and Authority water line repair or replacement projects being conducted simultaneously, saving time and money. With open communications and planning, the Authority should continue to work together with the City of Pottsville for the mutual benefit of both agencies.
  • Continue towards completion of the City of Pottsville Official Act 537-Sewage Facilities Plan, which is being prepared for submission to the PA DEP by the end of the year 2000. The Act 537 Plan will identify sewage system problems and recommend corrective measures needed to bring both sewer plants into compliance. Proposed implementation and financing methods will also be addressed in the Act 537 Plan.
  • The City’s Sewer Authority has recently entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Schuylkill Valley Sewer Authority. This agreement will significantly increase the customer base and sewage flows into the main sewage treatment plant. This increased "new" customer base will help with the much-needed improvements to that facility.
  • The City and Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority (GPASA) are awaiting the Act 537 Plan recommendations and, when received, the City should work together with GPASA and pool resources to correct identified problems, especially storm/sanitary collection system separation.
  • Both the City and GPASA should work toward completing the required improvements to the sewage collection and treatment system so that PA DEP will lift its moratoriums, permitting new connections to both sewer plants, and allowing for the continued growth of the City.
  • The City needs to continue working on upgrades to its recreational facilities and work together with the Schuylkill County Municipal Water Authority, the various schools and health care providers to provide for the safety and educational needs of the community.
  • Continue cooperating with Tamaqua, Schuylkill County and local non-profit tourist and historic entities to complete activities being funded under the Pottsville/ Tamaqua Transportation Enhancement grant.
  • Apply to the PA Department of Conservation for a 50/50 matching grant to develop a Master Site Plan for Sharp Mountain that will examine the area’s potential for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, environment education, scenic overlooks and related activities.
  • Continue monitoring the progress of the regional police study and the effectiveness of the Pottsville / Mechanicsburg police service agreement. 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 |