Ciresi: Let’s rebuild Pottstown, our region and PA the right way

Too often, we’re reactive instead of proactive when it comes to solving problems. Witness the vehicle-sized hole in the sidewalk of a residential street – a direct result of Pottstown’s aging, neglected stormwater arches. The arches garnered the attention of officials, initiated a press conference, and received initial funding for repairs. While a major crisis or news story can spur action, it doesn’t have to just be this way.

What if we thought bigger, more longer-term? The usual response is that we can’t because of insufficient funding. But right now, our state is sitting on more than $7 billion from the American Rescue Plan. We have the ability to make investments in our future, to create jobs, and to ensure a robust, broad-based recovery from this pandemic. With the PA Rescue Plan, House Democrats have proposed a vision to do just that.

Our plan would invest in infrastructure, rebuild our downtowns, improve housing and health scenarios, and help frontline and essential workers who tirelessly sacrificed to lead us through the worst of the pandemic. We’ll help the businesses and nonprofits that struggled and were the most affected by COVID-19 mitigation efforts and closures. And we’ll create better jobs to put Pennsylvanians back to work.

Now that more and more people are getting vaccinated and we’re returning to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, let’s do what’s right and take care of the people and places who need it most, and come out of this pandemic stronger than we were before. 

Locally, the PA Rescue Plan would support Pottstown’s ongoing revitalization efforts. 

It includes $200 million for infrastructure improvements, including water and sewer improvements – and fixing those aforementioned stormwater arches, a pressing infrastructure project that a borough like Pottstown can’t be expected to afford on its own, but is something that needs to be done.

It includes $475 million in job creation grants, mostly targeted to opportunity zones to areas in need of revitalization like Pottstown.

It includes $250 million in statewide business and nonprofit relief for those that were not able to remain open during the pandemic. 

And it includes investments in childcare, school remediation, public health, economic development, property tax relief, sick and family leave, hazard pay, and much more that will help the entire region and state, as part of an overall plan to drastically improve our quality of life and emerge stronger than before.

Political affiliation has nothing to do with wanting to do the right thing. We all deserve a chance to recover, a chance to rebuild and a chance to succeed. I am committed to ensuring our community serves as a prime example of how to do that the right way.