Building a Better Boyertown has received $1 million in grants from BB&T, bringing momentum to downtown planning and the town’s goal to become a tourist spot.
The donation comes from the BB&T Economic Growth Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation and will support Building a Better Boyertown’s downtown revitalization project as well as the restoration of the rail yard. The funds are being allocated through the Boyertown Vision and Action Plan.
The construction of a tourism office, a tourism website, brochures, signs and destination consultant expertise, additional staff support, the development of a business recruitment package and materials, and initial membership in regional convention and visitor bureaus are among the items the grants will be used for.
“If you don’t lead by example, things don’t occur,” said BB&T Community Banking Group Executive Scott V. Fainor, adding how many people helped to make this happen and it was truly a team effort. “BB&T has a long history of supporting our communities and is especially pleased to continue our support of Boyertown, a community on the rise.”
“All I can say is ‘wow,’” said Mayor Marianne Deery, commenting on the room full of smiling faces. “They’ve worked hard and you’ve help make them work hard. Who thought that, within a year, this could be accomplished? If it wasn’t Boyertown, it probably wouldn’t have happened within a year.”
In addition to the $1 million donated, BB&T offered an additional $500,000 in matching grants. If reached, those funds would support a trail feasibility study, the re-launch of the Farmers Market, and the purchase of a trolley.
“This funding is going to be transformational for Boyertown,” said Adrianne Blank, Main Street Manager at Building a Better Boyertown. “Because of the community engagement process of the Town Vision project, the realization that tourism is Boyertown’s key economic driver was unveiled. Our progress toward being a top tourism destination in Pennsylvania is going to leap forward simply because of these grants from BB&T.”
Nathaniel Guest, executive director of the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, echoed Blank’s comments, adding how the railyard project would greatly impact Boyertown’s economy. “Tourism is already a driving force in Boyertown, and the ability to upgrade our facility will only draw in more people,” Guest said. “We are grateful to BB&T, and the Community Foundation, and look forward to putting their investment to work.”
“It’s been our pleasure to administer these funds to the Boyertown area as we’ve watched the relationship between that community and BB&T continue,” said Kevin K. Murphy, president of Berks County Community Foundation. “This funding is truly going to strengthen the economy of the Boyertown area.”
The grant announcement was made Friday, Dec. 11, at the office of Building a Better Boyertown.