BOYERTOWN PA – Construction is expected to start by 2024 on a new event space and market area proposed for downtown Boyertown by the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, thanks to a $2.25 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant announced Thursday (Jan. 12, 2023). The amount will be matched by federal, county, and local investments, the state Budget Office added.
Promoters said the project will further enhance the borough as “one of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s most historic downtowns.”
Improvements will include a market building, stage and flagpole plaza, restrooms, and event support space, landscaping, and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to serve the market and connect it to the rest of downtown. The space intends to recreate “a significant Berks County building designed by noted Philadelphia Victorian architect Frank Furness,” according to trust Executive Director Nathaniel Guest.
Over several years, the trust has developed the Colebrookdale Railroad and its “Secret Valley Line” as a regional tourist attraction that benefits both Boyertown and Pottstown (at top), while also providing rail freight services under a subsidiary, the Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad.
Its latest project “requires a huge lift, much like all of the rest of the Colebrookdale’s work, and it is only possible through the work of many hands,” Guest said. A bi-partisan coalition of current and former elected legislators, including Sen. Tracy Pennycuick and Rep. Joe Ciresi, collaborated across party lines to obtain the funding.
“We are grateful beyond words” for their efforts, Pennycuick said. Ciresi praised “the willingness of my colleagues to work across the aisle,” and said it would result in “a regional draw for all of Pennsylvania.”
Guest thanked the legislators too, and also noted contributions by Berks County commissioners, the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Forge Convention and Tourism Board, the Pennsylvania Americana Region, the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation, the Berks County Community Foundation, and Building a Better Boyertown.
Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program provides money to acquire and build regional economic, recreational and historical improvement projects.
Top photo by The Post; rail biking photo provided by the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust