READING, PA (Dec. 7, 2015) – A new plan to guide development in the municipalities that make up the Governor Mifflin School District will account for the economic effects of traffic being rerouted around the area by the Route 222 bypass that opened a decade ago.

A grant of $23,500 from the Governor Mifflin Area Grantmaking Program of the Russell L. Hiller Charitable Trust Fund of Berks County Community Foundation will pay for the joint comprehensive plan for Brecknock and Cumru townships and the boroughs of Kenhorst, Mohnton and Shillington. Without the grant, drafting the plan would have been delayed.

The grant is one of six being issued as part of a $40,000 distribution from the Hiller Fund.

The Governor Mifflin area was profoundly impacted by traffic being rerouted from the heart of the area and the established business districts there, Paul G. Janssen, director of the Center for Excellence in Local Government at Albright College, wrote in his application for the grant.

While some economic rebound has occurred, new planning and zoning is required to lay the framework for revitalization, particularly along Business 222 and Route 724, Janssen wrote.

“At stake is the actual economic vitality of each community and the school district as a whole as the tax dollars for all municipalities are increasingly difficult to achieve for normal growth,” Janssen wrote.

The five other grants being issued from the Hiller Fund:

  • $6,000 to Reading Public Museum for its Feed Their Imagination program, which will bring 450 Governor Mifflin students to the museum for programs related to their school curriculum.
  • $3,500 to the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education to send six Governor Mifflin juniors to Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week in the summer of 2016 to learn about business management.
  • $2,500 to Miller-Keystone Blood Center to bring the “My Blood, Your Blood” program to Governor Mifflin students to teach them about blood biology, blood health and the importance of blood donation.
  • $2,276 to Reading Musical Foundation to provide iPads and subscriptions for the SmartMusic Program, which will allow Governor Mifflin music students to practice alone, record practices and submit playing tests and online assessments. The iPads will be purchased for students who would otherwise be left out of this innovative program because their families can’t afford them.
  • $1,767 to Mifflin Community Library for material to teach how computers work and introduce patrons to computer programming.

The Hiller Fund was established in 2003 by bequest of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Russell L. Hiller. Hiller, a 60-year resident of Shillington, passed away in May 2003 at the age of 97. He spent 26 years as a federal bankruptcy judge in Reading.

Throughout his years in Shillington, he often walked to the Shillington Borough park and relaxed on a bench overlooking the Governor Mifflin schools. The pursuit of education was Hiller’s lifelong love. His fund supports scholarships for Mifflin students, the Shillington park and pool, the Mifflin Community Library, Albright College and other organizations in the Mifflin area.

The economy of Shillington and other parts of the Governor Mifflin School District has suffered since the Route 222 bypass opened a decade ago.

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing charitable funds aimed at improving the quality of life in Berks County. More information is available at www.bccf.org.