Editor’s note: On Sept. 30, The Hill School journalism class held a press conference with Pottstown Councilor Ryan Procsal on local community life and the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. All articles are in one document. They are from the same press conference and cover different topics.
Pottstown Council Member Ryan Procsal portrays Pottstown improvements
By Joey Asterino ‘23, Cole Bilotta ‘23, and Jesse Corser-James ‘23
Pottstown Councilor Ryan Procsal is focused on making improvements to his borough by addressing various problems such as the economy, quality of life, and safety, which proves his statement that “logistically Pottstown is where you want to be.”
Councilor Procsal said, “While walking through Pottstown, I see things that need to be improved upon: part of improving Pottstown was improving the downtown district.”
The economy of Pottstown was one of the first topics he covered. He said that “little shops and stores have been popping up all over downtown. ” These stores helped “improve the image of Pottstown.” According to Procsal, “Pottstown is on the rise” and the influx of new stores and shops he mentioned are helping this cause.
Councilor Procsal also explained some of the solutions Pottstown had in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that restaurants got “hit hard” by the pandemic and that the “solution to the jab they got from COVID was implementing takeout options.”
These takeout options offered ways local restaurants could keep their business running even when no one could eat at their restaurants. Procsal also said that restaurants “used social media a lot more.”
Crime and violence within Pottstown has been an improvement Councilor Procsal has been looking at. One of the major things that has been helping with these improvements is the town’s “near perfect police chief,” Procsal said. He continued by saying that it’s important to “have a police chief that understands the community.”
These are just some of the solutions Councilor Procsal mentioned for the overall improvement of Pottstown. He has continued to fulfill his promises and works to continue the growth of Pottstown.
Procsal mentioned some other minor problems about the community such as “music being played too loudly” and how “using block captains to watch out for crimes” would help the community stay safer.
According to Procsal, the purpose of a block captain would be to act as a check on a smaller portion of the community. The designated captain would report back to the Borough Council on properties that could possibly bring issues.
Procsal wants to see the future of Pottstown continue to flourish. In his time serving the community, he has made progress with violence, enhancing the quality of life, and housing. Procsal emphasized the improvements of the city being led and fixed by the people themselves.
Ryan Procsal talks about Pottstown’s future
By Peter Galindez ’23, Augie Gerhart ’23 and Luke Rasmussen ’23
Pottstown Councilor Ryan Procsal said that in the next five years Pottstown should see progress such as more restaurants, increased architecture, more shops, and polishing the aesthetics.
Procsal said raising the standards for housing was one of the main goals in the next five years. Some buildings on High Street are outdated which can cause “people to kind of shy away from them sometimes — for developers it’s always a project for them,” Procsal said.
Procsal said that the 400 block needs a good amount of work. This includes revamping the housing in this area by making it affordable and also making more accessible apartments for all people, Procsal touched on.
Pottstown is right off of Highway 422, which makes it a central location to a lot of popular places, Procsal said. He also mentioned bringing in a passenger rail to help transportation was an opportunity, but called it a “herculean task.”
To reduce the crime rate, Procsal said that technology will help tremendously. “Technology is really catching up with some of the defenders; you’re hearing sound with cameras,” Procsal said.
Procsal said he wanted the crime rate to decrease in the coming years. He said, “I guess the crime issue, listen to me, that’s my main concern.” He said the numbers are getting better, but that it is still his No. 1 priority.
Procsal said Pottstown is being refreshed to make it a more popular destination. While technology advancements will definitely help, overall “Pottstown is where everyone wants to be,” Procsal said.
Pottstown Councilor Ryan Procsal shares what Pottstown has to offer
By Emilie Kirschner ’23 and Katie Newkirk ’22
Pottstown Councilor Ryan Procsal joined local government so that he could contribute more to what he termed a “fantastic community.”
“There were a few things I was concerned about,” Procsal shared. “If you really want to figure out what goes on in town, you join it.”
Procsal, who is at the end of his second term as a Pottstown borough councilor and is planning on running for re-election, visited The Hill School on Sept. 30 to talk about the borough with local students. Throughout the interview, he explained his love for the town and everything the community has to offer.
Although Pottstown has a relatively low crime index, Procsal continued to note how the town is getting safer. “I feel perfectly safe walking my streets at any point of the day or night.”
He attributes the peaceful and friendly neighborhood to the growth of technology, especially surveillance.
“Technology is really catching up with some of the defenders; we can hear sound with the cameras. It’s a good 38 megapixel camera system with sound, and that is worth its weight in gold,” Procsal said.
He also joked that, “It’s to the point where if somebody throws a bag of Doritos on the ground, I could read if it was Cool Ranch or Nacho.”
He also praised the local police chief, Michael Markovich, for his service. “The police chief here, he’s tough on crime, but he’s compassionate and he understands the community as well.”
Procsal moved around quite a bit as a child and described his childhood home as a rural setting and confined. He thought of Pottstown as a very convenient living environment. “Here, everything is so close, really, and then there’s other things, more and more becomes available to me and it becomes even better,” Procsal said.
In addition, another large factor in why Procsal picked Pottstown was his passion for woodworking and aesthetics. “I came here because I appreciate old architecture, and some of the details and some of the homes are really difficult to replicate now.”
Procsal believes that there are certain things in the community that need to be improved and worked on; however, he said that the town is clearly heading in the right direction. “It’s, in my opinion, one of the best places to live in the world,” the borough councilor shared. “I think I’ll be here for the rest of my life.”
COVID-19 impacts the Borough of Pottstown
By Kade Davidheiser ’23 and Caden Olenczak ’23
Pottstown Councilor Ryan Procsal was one of the leaders in the borough when COVID-19 struck the nation. With his own experiences, Procsal talked about some of the impacts the pandemic has brought on Pottstown.
Procsal explained that restrictions in Pennsylvania limited the capacity of inside spaces. Thus, local restaurants, malls, and other indoor businesses were severely impacted.
“Places where you have to physically have to go to places to eat, or shop, or whatever, were hindered,” Procsal said in a press conference at The Hill School on Sept. 30. He added that there was limited long-term damage caused in Pottstown from the shutdown, as many businesses were able to stay open after the initial quarantine due to outside seating.
The pandemic effectively shut down indoor businesses and wore out people’s patience, Procsal explained. The streets of Pottstown saw an increase of trash, especially in residential areas, so more money was invested to clean the community, he continued.
“The amount of money to be able to spent for trash collecting went up considerably,” Procsal said. Many Pottstown citizens were forced to work from home, and this led to the transition of the majority of waste from industries to homes, he explained.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many regions of Pottstown’s residential area. Restaurants and food companies got hit the hardest with many not being able to open back up.
Restaurants were forced to close and could not open back up, and many did not survive the constant rent with no income. Procsal said the downtown restaurants “probably suffered the most.”
Within the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some positives as many businesses did not shut down even though they were hit very hard. He is hoping that the businesses on the 200 and 300 blocks of High Street move down to block 400 to make downtown more inviting.