Breathing New Life into Reading’s Historic Trexler Mansion: A Half-Million Boost from the Commonwealth

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

READING, PA — Community leaders of Reading, Pennsylvania, received an impressive boon to aid the city’s rejuvenation – a $500,000 investment from the Commonwealth. This financial boost, announced yesterday, is intended for the Greater Berks Development Fund (GBDF) to assist the Shuman Development Group in their project of refurbishing the historic Trexler Mansion, an iconic structure that has been vacant for four decades.

Governor Shapiro’s aim, according to Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger, is to make strategic investments that uplift our communities and main streets, making them more desirable places to live, work, and visit. The proposed $25 million aims to create the Main Street Matters program, a new initiative that would further invigorate small businesses, downtown areas, and main streets across the state.

The Trexler Mansion is a historic 27,000-square-foot building holding a prime position on the South Fifth Street corridor and southern side of Reading’s Callowhill Historic District. Owned currently by Shuman Development Group through Reading Historic Properties, LP, the mansion project is set to restore the building to its former glory.

Senator Judy Schwank emphasized that small businesses are the pulse that drives economic growth in Reading and Berks County. Governor Shapiro’s Main Street Matters program, a progressive vision for economic development, is focused on empowering these small businesses and revitalizing main streets across Pennsylvania.

Project plans include collaboration with Alvernia University through its CollegeTowne initiative to create spaces for downtown job fairs, as well as event space for Reading Public Library literacy outreach programs. The grant, part of the Keystone Communities Program, will primarily be utilized for exterior work such as roof repairs, masonry, and window restoration. Further financial support of $300,000 each from the City of Reading and Berks County has also been committed to aid with roof structural repair costs.

Representative Manuel Guzman and Representative Johanny Cepeda-Freyitz shared their excitement over the Main Street Matters program’s potential to invigorate the local economy. Guzman hailed the proposed investment as a comprehensive approach that would certainly strengthen Reading city and the state.

Cepeda-Freyitz further emphasized that this initiative is not just about rebuilding physical structures, but about restoring hope, opportunity, and pride to the city. These investments, she said, are a testament to our commitment to the prosperity and well-being of every resident in Reading.

Mayor Eddie Moran and Lucine Sihelnik, President and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, were also present at the announcement. Moran described the project as a revitalization of Reading’s historic treasures, while Sihelnik praised it as an embodiment of the power of collaboration between private and public sector partners.

With this ambitious, strategic plan, Reading stands to gain a refurbished historic site, a more vibrant downtown, and a boost to its economy, while the residents can anticipate a brighter future as the heart of their city comes to life once again.

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