How Phoenixville was Able to Rise From the Ashes – and What Other Towns Can Learn From It

Just what is in that secret sauce, the stuff applied to revitalize our older downtowns? The right formula requires a measure of art and science. The secrets of Phoenixville’s highly successful revitalization efforts are now revealed here.

Once a downtrodden, disinvested mill town and now one of Chester County’s sparkling gems, Phoenixville has experienced an urban rebound like few other towns in the Philadelphia region. New apartments, restaurants and shops have opened, adding to the authentic vibe of this charming historic downtown.

Envious observers seeking to replicate Phoenixville’s renaissance should know that this did not happen overnight; it is the result of a decades-long campaign.  Over the years, Phoenixville’s leaders have redefined the town, to attract new life and reinvestment to the Borough.  Forward-thinking planning, persistent implementation, local entrepreneurship and public-private cooperation in the community have led to these results.

Settled in 1732, Phoenixville had once served as an important hub of industry. Phoenix Iron Works and other mills located their operations along French Creek, where it flows into the Schuylkill River.  Like many other historic towns, the mills’ closure changed everything.  After the Iron Works ended production in 1984, the local leaders had to boldly reinvent the steel town to remain economically viable.

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