A Very Reading Christmas, right down to the tree!

This month, some very special preparations for the holidays in Reading are in full swing, with the usual parades and the annual tree-lighting ceremony on the agenda, but also a unique nod to last year’s “Charlie Brown Christmas tree”, which was featured on news stories worldwide.

The annual holiday parade will take place next Saturday, November 21st at 9:00 am. It will begin at the intersection of Penn Street and 11th St, and proceed down Penn until 2nd St. In the event of rain, the parade will be postponed until the 28th of November at the same time and location.

This year’s tree, a 25-foot concolor fir, is already standing tall and proud in Penn Square. Its official lighting ceremony will be held the night before the parade, Friday November 20th, at 6:30 PM. The tree itself was donated by two Berks County residents, Barb and Pat Emmett, the owners of Godfrey’s Welcome to Dogdom in Brecknock Township, and is considered by many to be a significant improvement over its predecessor.

Whatever happened to that ugly tree, anyway? The fate of the tree, which sparked a nationwide debate over whether it was too ugly to display or the perfect way to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas, was influenced by Luke Schultz, a foreman in the city public works department, and Steve Weber, a carpentry instructor at the Reading-Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center.

Both felt that last year’s tree did a great deal to bring positive publicity to Reading, and Schultz, a former student of Weber’s, thought that his teacher could help commemorate the tree in a very special way. So, with the help of the students in the carpentry program, Weber fashioned the wood from the “ugly tree” into a commemorative bench that will be featured in this year’s holiday display.

The city itself has given a nod to the 2014 viral news event by putting up a doghouse, constructed by the Public Works Department, resembling Snoopy’s own residence, as part of its holiday display. The doghouse was placed at the corner of Fifth and Penn streets, representing the Charlie Brown story of which last year’s tree became symbolic.


“Two-Tree” controversy shows there’s something for everyone in Reading

As many of you are well aware, Reading recently made its way into the national news scene again with the arrival of the city Christmas tree. The tree harvested from a city park for Reading’s annual tree-lighting ceremony was deemed by many residents to be “too ugly” to put on display, but because it was too late to do anything about it, the tree-lighting ceremony was held anyway.

In response to the protest from residents regarding the “ugly” tree, the city received a donation of a second, more “aesthetically pleasing” tree to replace the first one, only to be met with more protests from those who had gone fond of the so-called “ugly” tree. These protesters thought it would be going against the spirit of Christmas to take down a tree because it wasn’t “pretty” enough; after all, if it worked for the kids in Charlie Brown, shouldn’t it work for our city?

So, now the city of Reading has two Christmas trees. The original tree still stands in its place in Penn Square, and the more visually appealing tree stands at the entrance to the city, giving both sides a tree to meet at for their holiday festivities that suits their tastes. Though it may seem foolish to many, this situation is a perfect example of the variety of needs to which the city is capable of catering. The same can be said of the myriad of real estate opportunities available within the city limits: there’s a little something for everyone here.

Investors tend to split into a similar two groups when it comes to commercial properties: some prefer to invest in those properties which are immediately visually appealing and ready to sell, while others prefer the properties that require a little more rehabilitating before going back on the market.

Fortunately, within the city of Reading, there are plenty of both types of investment opportunities currently available. In 2014, multi-unit properties sold for as low as $12,500, with other properties of the same type selling for as much as $299,000. These multi-unit properties (housing anywhere from two to nine apartments) offer a healthy range in sizes: from 1200 to 4400 square feet. At this very moment, there are 80 multi-unit properties on the market in Reading priced between $10,000 and $100,000, and 53 between $101,000 and $1,000,000.

Whether your tastes run to properties that need a little TLC before they can go back on the market, or properties with a quick turnaround; whether you’re a fan of the Charlie Brown tree or the more attractive tree, there’s something for everyone here in the city of Reading.