This past week I had my first opportunity to collaborate with the City of Reading and its dignitaries. I had heard that it was tough dealing with the factions that run the city but brushed the comments aside to do what I thought was a good thing. To say I got an education would be an understatement.
I turned to my friend Jack Gulati to see if he could persuade the mayor and city council in allowing me to decorate the Christmas tree at 5th and Penn Streets. Jack is a pro at dealing with circumstances that need influential attention. After all, Jack has more than proven his dedication to the City of Reading with the purchase of the Reading Royals and Stokesay Castle. If he would not have stepped in Reading may have lost the Royals. Jack loved the idea and decided to spearhead the decoration event. He thought it would be a good thing for the City of Reading, the Reading Royals and, of course, Weichert Realtors® Neighborhood One.
I would never have guessed that asking the city to decorate the Christmas tree using my bucket truck, the Reading Royals staff and money donated by local businesses would culminate in what amounted to a storm of controversy. Silly me.
After several weeks Jack and his general manager prevailed and the tree decoration event was on. One of the things some of the people on city council seem to have a problem with was that my bucket truck would be there and that would turn things into a marketing opportunity for my company. Funny thing is they did not have a problem with the Reading Royals mascot being there. Hopefully, the City of Reading and its management will not spend valuable time considering such trite matters.
In my opinion, the City of Reading should do more to work with local businesses especially when the businesses are willing to donate time and money to the effort. As it relates to the real estate industry the city fails to recognize that bad publicity (including the “Ugly Tree”) shows up on home and property searches and even national news.
When people from outside our area search for homes they use Reading, PA as the keywords on Google and other web search engines. Professionals, like doctors for example, who are considering moving here to work at one of the fine healthcare facilities consider the whole neighborhood area they are moving to. It is better for them to see positive things about Reading and Berks County as opposed to what they are reading now. They move here and it is good for the whole Berks County real estate market. They read negative things about the Reading area and we lose a valued customer to a hospital that was second on their list because the area it is located in looks better.
I would like to personally thank the following businesses and people for their assistance with decorating the tree: From Met-Ed ~ Bruce Balthaser, Dean Schlegel, Mike Wagner, Allen Link & Seth Cerra. From the City of Reading Public Works ~ Director; Ralph Johnson, Luke Schultz & Bill Palmatree. Local Businesses ~ Weikel Sportswear, Todd Weikel; Bella’s Pizzeria and Ristorante Italiano, George Skyllas; Glen-Gery Corp; Tompkins Vist Bank; Edge Abstract, Dave Wierzbicki; Merra Lee Moffitt, Good Life Financial; Meridian Bank, Keith A. Zielaskowski; Noah Brooks, Good Life Financial.
I also wish to thank City Supervisors Marsha Goodman-Hinnershitz & Jeffrey S. Waltman, Sr., you were there when I needed you. Thank you, Mayor Vaughn Spencer. I look forward to our meeting after the holidays! And, of course, Jack Gulati, Drew Bell and the staff at the Reading Royals. You guys are the best!
I am thankful that those who wanted the tree removed were unsuccessful. Because it remained it allowed the opportunity to show that if the private and public sector works together in a constructive way anything is possible. We do not live on an island but even if we did Reading would still be part of Berks County. There is no getting away from it so let’s make things better together.
Knowledge is power!