BB&T grant awarded to OTF

David Rolan, BB&T Bank market president, right, presents a grant of $5,000 to Our Town Foundation Executive Director Deena Kershner.

The BB&T Economic Growth Fund of Berks County Community Foundation recently awarded $5,000 to Our Town Foundation, Hamburg’s non-profit Community Revitalization organization.

The grant funds will be used to initiate economic development programs supporting existing businesses as well as initiatives encouraging new business growth.

“We organized a monthly round table discussion group enabling the downtown merchants to share their successes with other business owners and to discuss policies and programs that perhaps failed. Our organization believes one of the best teachers is your fellow business owner,” said Deena Kershner, Executive Director of Our Town Foundation.

With the opening of the 1787 Brew Pub last May, and the Hamburg Strand Theater generating record ticket sales for movies and other events this past year, the Foundation has seen a rebirth of pedestrian traffic in the downtown.

“We are hoping to continue increasing the number of visitors to town by recruiting additional new businesses that will complement the brewery,” said Kershner.

Some of the grant funds will be used to draft design plans for State Street Square, a vacant lot in the downtown that was purchased by the Foundation in 2015. Plans for the Square include erecting a facility on the lot with sufficient parking that would be used for downtown events and activities encouraging more visitors to come to town, thereby augmenting Hamburg’s economic growth.

The grant is one of 20 awarded by the BB&T Economic Growth Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation to various organizations. The total value of the 20 grants awarded is $545,000.

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