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Congressman Meuser hosts discussion on evolution of Tamaqua

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    Micah Gursky speaks to the crowd of local and national leaders outside of the Tamaqua train station. From left, Savas Logothetides, owner of The Wheel; Scott Turner, executive director for the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council; Curt Coccodrilli, state director of USDA World Development; Nathan Gerace, mayor of Tamaqua; Michelle Christian, Regional Administrator of Small Business Administration; and George Halcovage, Schuylkill County commissioner. For a video, head to JUSTIN CARLUCCI/TIMES NEWS

Published July 10. 2019 12:13PM

A lot is changing for the better in Tamaqua.

And many government officials and local investors were in town to take a look at that progress on Monday afternoon.

Congressman Dan Meuser hosted Scott Turner and many others for a tour of downtown, and to have a few round-table discussions about the growth and evolution of Tamaqua. Turner is the executive director for the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.

According to Meuser’s press release, the group discussed the Opportunity Zones program and economic revitalization in the 9th District with local Tamaqua investors, leaders and developers. Anyone who invests in a designated Opportunity Zone would receive incentives such as deferral of tax on prior gains as late as 2026, if the amount of the gain is invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund.

“This event was an outstanding way to show the local, state and federal government can come together and work hand-in-hand for the common goal of revitalization,” said Tamaqua Mayor Nathan Gerace. “Tamaqua has something to be very proud of and I’m glad to play a part in the process.”

Area leaders, such as Micah Gursky, led a tour of approximately 40 people around downtown. The group checked out many historic sites and also stopped in to see some potential areas of investment. The tour included some vacant buildings in town that could be renovated in the future and also others such as the Wagon Works that were recently completely restored. Wagon Works was turned into a space for members of the community to create, build and rehearse.

“It was really exciting to meet everyone to give them a taste of what’s going on in Tamaqua and to show them some of the upstarts and entrepreneurial spirit that’s going on in town,” said Kevin Smith, owner of the Wagon Works. “There are a lot of things developing, and I always enjoy giving people a sneak peek of what we’re doing here, because it’s rapidly developing and growing.”

Before the tour, the group started its day at the Lehigh Carbon Community Center for an economic and community development session.

The second session, which was hosted at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, was to discuss investors and lenders.

“I am so proud of our community and the things happening in our borough,” Gerace said. “We’re moving forward to make the town thrive through opportunity zones and our CRIZ. I’m very thankful to have had today’s visitors here and I look forward to working with them to help keep Tamaqua moving forward.

I thought evolution was only a theory. Reading these comments makes me feel that Tamaqua hasn't evolved as much as one might think.

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