Learn about the development possibilities in our downtown commercial district. See what is possible - what's been accomplished on the upper floors of the Flat Iron Building - you will be amazed.
Tamaqua's Main Street Program - Downtown Tamaqua A message from the Main Street Manager
Someone once told me that a main street was the heart and soul of the community.
That statement defines the importance of each and every downtown in the country.And it explains why anyone involved in the revitalization of a downtown main street is so passionate about it.
After many years of decline, it seemed as if there was no hope for downtown Tamaqua.Empty storefronts, absentee owners not maintaining their downtown properties, a declining population, increasing amounts of traffic just passing through our business district - all very strong arguments for pulling up the sidewalks and crying “uncle”.BUT, WE DIDN’T.
In 1994, several community leaders and business owners decided it was time to take action and make a commitment to revitalize our downtown.A community visioning process gave us a goal and the Main Street Program gave us the opportunity to put our plans into action.
In 1998, with the cooperation of the borough and assistance from DCED, the first full-time main street manager was hired in Tamaqua.As we enter our 12th year of the program, our goals are very visible, but the work is far from completed..
Our successful facade improvement program has resulted ininvestments being made in our downtown to the tune of about $5.0 million dollars in just 10 short years, including the $l million Salvation Army Center that now occupies a once empty lot on Broad Street and the $1.5 million Tamaqua Train station restoration.We have already completed over 72 facade projects and continuously have a waiting list for funding.
We have a very active Marketing Committee, comprised of media representatives, business owners and private citizens that create and manage many promotions for its members.A Downtown Tamaqua gift certificate program was established and continues to be a success.We participate in the three major festivals in town during the year and have sponsored the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop.We coordinate the annual Sidewalk/Yard Sale for downtown and throughout the borough.
Our Economic Restructuring team is working to fill vacant buildings with new businesses.Our current commercial vacancy rate downtown is below 5%. The Business Recruitment Team continues working, spreading the word about Downtown Tamaqua’s business district.Investors and entrepreneurs are once again looking for commercial properties to develop on Broad Street.
At the center of town, at the Five Points, used to be a large gas station.When the Hess Corporation decided to vacate the property, we negotiated with the family and eventually the large piece of ground was turned over to the Borough.We received a TEA 21 grant to develop what will be known as Depot Square Park.This prime location is now a community garden thanks to the assistance and cooperation of the many public/private partnerships we have established, including our Borough Council. The park includes a $25,000 fountain, Victorian lampposts and benches and will compliment the Tamaqua Train Station restoration that is currently underway.
Tamaqua’s program has been successful for many reasons - the assistance and cooperation that we get from the borough, the dedicated volunteers that we have, the desire of our downtown business and property owners to move forward and the support that we get from organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the Tamaqua Area 2004 Partnership, DCED, and the many partnerships that we have established in the past few years.We are turning skeptics into believers.
The Main Street program is currently managed by the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce's Executive Director, Linda Yulanavage, and her assistant, Eileen Barron. The main street program continues to bring new life to downtown Tamaqua with its efforts and projects.
Recent projects include the exploration of development of the second story space within our commercial district for both residential and commercial use. A survey of this space has been completed and a marketing video has been produced. The video can be found on this website. The next step is the creation of a comprehensive marketing plan to attract developers for those available spaces.
Revitalization is not a project that has an end, it is an ongoing process. Through the continued assistance, cooperation and partnerships that the Chamber and Downtown Tamaqua have nurtured over the past 12 years, the revitalization of the entire Tamaqua area continues to provide real economic development for the area, its residents and businesses.
Downtown Tamaqua is alive and well! Stop by and visit often!
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