New Location For The Pottstown Cluster Of Religious Communities
The building has been renovated and is opening for business this month. This building will help the PCRC continue to “give a hand up, not a hand out”, and expand many of their services to the community.
Pictured left to right: Chamber Ambassador Hanna Hartman; Chamber Ambassador Adele Klein; Executive Director Barbara Wilhelmy; Board President George Bell; Chaplain Gary Pace; Board Member Allan Altschull; Chamber Ambassadors Tim Forester, Janet Flack and Betsy Chapman.
Several years of extensive planning and fundraising have paid off for the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, as the organization recently moved into its newly renovated North Franklin Street location.
Now, they’re ready to show the community what’s been accomplished.
Opening their door to clients Tuesday morning, Cluster officials celebrated the culmination of construction at their larger 57 N. Franklin St. location, moving out of their longtime community support site a few blocks away at 137 Walnut St.
“We are tremendously happy over the accomplishments of this milestone. This facility is large enough that our clients will no longer have to wait outside in the elements and allows us to offer them a less demeaning way to shop for the items they truly need,” Cluster Executive Director Barbara Wilhelmy said. “We are extremely thankful to all in the community that assisted us in making this possible.”
Allan N. Altschull, vice president of the board and chairman of the capital campaign, said the Cluster has been operating out of the Walnut Street location for “many years,” with the board of directors waiting to move into to a new facility approximately 15 years ago to keep up with the community’s needs and desires.
“For 15 years, the board was looking for a building that would better serve the community,” Altschull said.
Altschull explained that the former location was “small and cramped,” only able to accommodate approximately seven clients at a time in less than private conditions.
Besides the interior surroundings, Altschull added that those waiting outside were exposed to the weather elements, whether it was rain, snow or other extreme conditions.
“It was really, really overloaded,” he said. “It just wasn’t functional, it just wasn’t.”
The Cluster explored moving into a larger facility to better serve the community’s needs, and in January 2010, Altschull said the group purchased the former American Legion building, which needed substantial repairs.
“We immediately started to begin renovations,” he said.
Through a $1 million capital campaign, the Cluster was able to open the new larger building, which will better assist clients and provide more privacy, Altschull said.
But all of this would not have been possible without the assistance of the Pottstown area.
“It was because of the generosity of the community,” he said. “People have been very kind.”
The fundraising total currently stands at $930,000 and officials hope to raise the remaining $70,000 by the end of the month.
George Bell, president of the Cluster board of directors, said the opening of the building is important to the Cluster because it allows the organization to concentrate on the next portion of its strategic plan.
“Over the next two to three years, we will research and develop programs, partnerships and referral processes that will enable us to assist interested clines in becoming self-sufficient,” Bell said.