“Things are happening, and things are happening for the right reasons. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Opening words from the City of Reading’s Mayor, Eddie Moran, who held a press conference on Thursday morning, at the southeast corner of Fifth & Penn Streets, announcing the reopening of the sidewalk with a ribbon cutting.
The sidewalk had been closed for years due to deterioration. The project was bid upon three times and was finally awarded to Heim Construction Company of Orwigsburg, PA, in September 2019. The funding was split between the City and the sidewalk’s adjoining property’s insurance company.
The mayor continued by thanking those in attendance, including councilpersons Donna Reed of District 5 and Lucine Sihelnik of District 1, Director of Public Works, Charles Jones, Aaron Gantz of Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, State Senator Judy Schwank’s Chief of Staff, William Evans, and Timothy Krall of Public Works.
Construction was completed June 25, 2020, and opened to the public on July 20.
Mayor Moran continued, “I remember… seeing people having to walk on the street. I knew this was very important for… the city.”
The mayor also thanked the adjoining building’s property manager, Sean Moretti of Destination Realty, for his assistance in the revitalization.
“As minimal as this may look, it is a huge accomplishment for the downtown and the city,” continued Moran.
Council member Donna Reed commented on the historical significance of the area, citing that former Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy had visited downtown Reading during each of their presidential campaigns.
Reed continued, “with the Moran administration, with the footsteps they’ve been taking, that are really turning from strides into sprints… we now have a sidewalk.”
Council member Lucine Sihelnik stated she would like to thank Reading’s former Managing Director Osmer Deming, who “put in many, many, many long hours” in the sidewalk project.
Photos of “The Vault” under the sidewalk
Finally, Aaron Gantz of GRCA, expressed it was “thrilling… to be here” and she “can’t wait to talk a stroll down the sidewalk.”
Mayor Eddie Moran closed by stating, “This is just the start. This is part of a larger plan. This is part of the clean city initiative. My intention is to become the biggest ambassador of this city. But we have to show something for it. This is where we start.”