The Hamburg area of Pennsylvania was first settled in 1752. Hamburg has played an important part in the history of Berks County. However, the area suffers from a range of serious problems. These problems have developed over time due to inadequate planning of street and lot layout, building design and arrangement. Poor planning, changing community needs, economic factors and ordinary neighborhood evolution have contributed to the current problem of economically and socially undesirable land uses. In addition these factors have led to unsafe, unsanitary, inadequate conditions in the Borough of Hamburg.
Under the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Law, a planning commission can certify an area as blighted and in need of redevelopment. In 2005, the Hamburg Planning Commission began working with the Berks County Redevelopment Authority to establish a redevelopment area in accordance with the Urban Redevelopment Law of 1945, as amended. The process was completed in May of 2007 with a formal approval of the Second Street Redevelopment Area by the Borough Council.
The Hamburg Redevelopment Area contains commercial, industrial and residential buildings and structures served by a patchwork of streets and alleys. The area is bordered by State Route 61 and the Schuylkill River to the west, Island Street to the north along Peach Alley to the east, and along the property of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society to the South.
The Second Street Redevelopment Area was created to thoughtfully address the identified problems. This will be done by completing the following goals.
Goals & Progress
1. Establish a pedestrian promenade along the railroad right of way between State Street and Grand Street. Provide a public parking area adjacent to the promenade.
- Properties for the promenade are being appraised
- Olsen Design Group working on draft design of promenade
- Discussions held concerning possible Pennsylvania Department of Community and Natural Resources funding for the promenade
- Surveying of proposed promenade to begin
- Purchased lot at 3rd and Grand Streets
2. Create a Site for a professional office building.
- Sites for an office building have been discussed.
3. Extend Grand Street to Route 61 to allow commercial development along the corridor.
Phase 1A Extension of Grand Street to SR 61
Bids for Phase 1A opened May 28, 2009
Contract awarded to LSR June 11, 2009 for $376,452.00
The majority of funding for the project came from $250,000 in CDBG dollars and $550,000 in Federal Stimulus Funds
Grand Street Phase 1A completed 12/2009 with final cost of $582,679.67.
Phase 1B Connection of Grand Street to State Route 61 (SR 61)
Penn DOT provides conditional approval to connect Emergency Access to SSR61 with Northbound acceleration and deceleration lanes. Borough does not receive approval for bridge crossing of Mill Creek.
Phase 1-B Bids opened 2/24/10
Contact awarded to Schlouch, Inc. on 4/15/2010 for $1,227,596.77. Funding comes from state IDP Grant
Work completed on Northbound acceleration and deceleration lanes November 2010
Phase 1B completed
Phase II - Southbound Lanes
2008 $1.8 million in federal highway funds approved by Reading Area Transportation Authority Study (RATS).
Engineering for Phase 2 began September 2010
All property needed for project acquired
Bids received and contract awarded to J.D. Eckman, Inc., for $1,817,600.
Work completed and street opened.
4. Renovate and improve housing stock.
Hamburg Housing Rehabilitation Program currently being implemented
Rehabilitation Program now open in Second Street, Main Street and Elm Street Areas.
Two property rehabilitations have been completed and four properties are underway.
Two Properties have been acquired
5. Provide assistance to Reading Company Technical & Historical Society with renovations to former PA Steel Foundry to hasten opening of Railroad Museum.
Olsen Design Group has completed survey of structures on railroad museum site
Railroad Museum has opened for business
The Authority is working with the museum to connect future visitors center via proposed promenade to the railroad museum.
6. Create Sites for development along Front Street
7. Lower hump in State Street.
8. Establish a parking area between State Street and Schuylkill Avenue near the State Street Bridge. Provide for the establishment of visitors center in the same area.
For more information, call Kathy Miller at 610-478-6325, Ext. 6337.