After receiving a state-accredited Main Street designation in 2013, the Reading Downtown Improvement District on Friday was named as an accredited National Main Street Program.
The National Main Street Center – a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation –recognized the city for meeting commercial district revitalization performance standards. Reading DID made the list of Main Street programs that display exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization by leveraging local assets — from cultural or architectural heritage to local enterprises and community pride.
“Receiving accreditation as a National Main Street Program is a major step in elevating Reading’s Main Street Program to the next level,” said Charles Broad, manager of the Reading Main Street Program. “We are focused on making downtown Reading’s commercial district a go-to destination for employment opportunities, shopping, entertainment and dining.”
Contributing to Reading’s state and national Main Street designations are existing projects to revitalize the city’s downtown, for which the Reading DID has been a catalyst.
In November, Reading City Council chose retail mogul Al Boscov and his nonprofit group to redevelop five city owned buildings in the downtown’s prominent Penn Square at Fifth and Penn streets, which will include retail shops, middle-income housing and offices. In addition, a $55 million, 220-room DoubleTree by Hilton Convention Center Hotel is going up in the 700 block of Penn Street – directly across from the Reading Royals’ home ice at Santander Arena.
The National Main Street Center was established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 and helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Working in more than 2,200 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 34 years, the Main Street program has leveraged more than $59.6 billion in new public and private investment.
Participating communities have created 502,728 net new jobs and 115,381 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 246,158 buildings.