Oil City, PA is remaking itself into an Arts Community. Something that Pottstown says it would like to be. This community, which is half the size of Pottstown and in an economically challenged part of the state, is putting its money where its mouth is.
Like Pottstown, Oil City was once an industrial community that has lost much of its industry. Unlike Pottstown, it is much further away from a major city (90+ miles to Pittsburgh and 60+ miles from Erie). The median household income in Oil City is $29,060 vs. Pottstown’s $35,785. The household income for Oil City is $36,149 and Pottstown comes in at $45, 734. Despite these challenges, Oil City is determined to reinvent itself to bring life back into the downtown and attract business. Oil City offers relocation incentives to artists, and I really do mean financial incentives, to entice creative people to relocate there, start a business and buy a home.
Recently, our illustrious Zoning Board flatly denied a creative couple a variance to buy a home and operate two businesses out of said home. A retail store and a by appointment only tattoo business. Evidently we are too highfalutin to permit a by appointment only tattoo business in this “burg” so we said, “Nope, don’t want your kind in these parts.” Thereby losing property taxes, the opportunity to fill a vacant home and discouraging artists from coming to Pottstown. This couple heard Pottstown was the place to be, the bee’s knees etc…. Guess we showed them, didn’t we? Wonder what they will tell their creative friends about Pottstown now!
What would Oil City do (WWOCD)? Take a gander at their relocation incentive package and see for yourselves!
I hope somebody on Council or in Borough Hall reads this incentive plan and checks out their website. It would be time well spent!