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Brownfields funds to help two Berks revitalization projects

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The development of a bar and restaurant near the Santander Arena in Reading and more parking for the downtown Fleetwood business district are two projects on the receiving end of grants from the state to help with the cleanup of former industrial sites.

The Berks County Convention Center Authority, which oversees the operations of the Santander Arena, has received a $138,750 grant for environmental remediation costs at the Pearle Building site through the Pa. Industrial Sites Reuse Program.

BCCCA plans to remediate the contaminated building at eighth and Penn Streets and “construct a multi-level bar/restaurant totaling 33,000 square feet.”

In Fleetwood, Councilman Chris Young said the $285,443 grant will help with the purchase and cleanup of a vacant lot at Locust and Franklin streets. The lot will be converted to parking spaces.

He said the now vacant lot was previously the site of Garden State Tannery.

“That burned down years ago and ever since it’s been in flux,” Young said.

He noted that the borough will also be putting about $100,000 towards the project, which will take up a full city block.

He said the borough’s engineers are currently working on the design of the parking lot and have not determined the total number of spaces that will be created.

He said, however, parking is very hard to come by in that area and it will be a welcomed resource for the business community in the borough.

The state gave out grants to a total of 11 projects the program, which is coordinated thorough the state Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Community and Economic Development.

“Revitalizing brownfields and restoring them to productive use is critical to having strong vibrant communities,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We’re pleased to collaborate with DCED on these brownfield redevelopment projects, and thousands more statewide.”

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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