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Swing Kat from Pottstown PA

Moving Swing Kat from Pottstown PA

Moving Swing Kat from Pottstown PA to Spring City is proving to be a knock down drag out fight.  However it is a fight we will endure to its end.  I had a  big meeting this week with the Spring City Borough Manager, their Engineer, their Codes Enforcer, their Lawyer, my Lawyer and my Architect.  As you can imagine, it is costly to bring a group like this together and Swing Kat is paying the bill.  Needless to say moving Swing Kat from Pottstown PA to Spring City is getting more expensive by the day.  At this meeting I learned that the cost for a yes or no answer on whether or not we can proceed with our plans is now going to cost between $10 & $15k.  I also learned about a number of more obstacles that are standing in our way.  This thousand dollar meeting has left me with more questions than I had before we had the meeting.  However, we are getting closer to the answers.

I know it has been awhile since my last update on moving Swing Kat from Pottstown PA.  The reason is that it took nearly a month to put together this meeting which finally happened yesterday.  As I said we now know about more obstacles that stand in our way.  Each one of these obstacles unfortunately has the power to stop our move of Swing Kat from Pottstown PA.   However for the first time I feel like we have clear direction on how to proceed from here.

Here are the obstacles that currently stand in our way…

1.  Because it has been 100 years since this building was last sold, the buildings zoning is listed as Un-Certified.  What we were told this could mean is that even the slightest change in Use could cause us to have to comply with much greater code issue such as elevators & sprinkler systems.

2.  Spring City has an unofficial moratorium on EDU’s right now from the Department of Environmental  Protection.  This is due to their sewer system needing to be upgraded.  They have begun this process however it will not be complete for a few years which doesn’t help us.  If the DEP requires us to have more than 1 EDU for our building it will end our ability to move forward.

3.  Because we will need parking and have plans to put in a parking lot, we need to find out if the Planning Commission will require us to submit formal plans or not.  If they do require this, the cost of preparing these plans, fees related to the process and time this process takes will all end this process for us.  The only way around this would be for us not to put in a parking lot.  However that would hurt us in our bid to get over the final obstacle.

4.  Lastly, we need to get through a variance hearing as even with our new parking lot, we won’t have the required amount of parking.  We will have roughly half the parking required by the codes book.  This is no small matter and will be a tough road.  There are more issues than just the number of parking spots.  There is also the fact we can’t provide a driveway wide enough to meet the code.  As well as the fact we can’t afford to pave the lot which is also required along with other issues.

At this point we have spent over $4,000 of the $5,077  we raised for our move this past summer.  So, I am now starting to pull money out of my own pockets, the money we were going to use to take care of the codes issues and parking lot once the borough gave us the go ahead.  So, we need to continue raising money through 50/50’s, tea shirt sales and whatever else we can think of.

Here is one more important note.  Spring City is in favor of us moving Swing Kat from Pottstown PA into their borough.  I have received nothing but kindness and well wishing from the community, the borough employees and borough council.  Many have asked how they can help and others have already helped.  Hopefully the obstacles don’t stop us.

I will continue to follow this lead to it’s end (rule #2 in partner dancing) and see where it goes.

Swing Dance Classes in Allentown

Swing Dance Classes in Allentown

Our swing dance classes in Allentown are moving.  After 3 class sessions we have found that running dance lessons in Emmaus is not going to work for us.  From the start we knew that these dance lessons should have been right in Allentown and not out in  a suburb of Allentown.  However having a good contact up in that region in Lynn Kettenburg and wanting to work with her led us outside of Allentown PA.  Unfortunately being outside of Allentown is making it difficult to increase our standing in search engines leading to low class turnouts.  Emmaus is also closer to Pottstown than we really wanted to be as more students will pick between the 2 dance studio locations.  We have also found that we need to partner with an organization that has a large following.  This is why we have partnered with the Allentown YMCA & YWCA to put of our swing dance classes in Allentown.

So now we are truly holding swing dance classes in Allentown PA as the Allentown Y is in the city of Allentown.  Though we have had trouble in running our lessons series, we have been getting nearly enough students to run our classes.  As our standing in search engines increases over the next number of months our ability to run these dance classes will be greater.  Add this to the fact we are joining with the YMCA, we should not have to cancel classes anymore!

This move is about making sure we can deliver on putting swing dance classes in Allentown.  When you sign up for class, we want you to be confident that your class will indeed run.  Our move to the Allentown YMCA will do just that.

Lansdale Swing Dance Classes

Lansdale Swing Dance Classes

Lansdale Swing Dance Classes are coming to North Penn YMCA’s Lansdale Area Family YMCA this fall!  For many years the Y in Lansdale has hosted ballroom style dance lessons through the Ballroom, Latin & Swing Dance Center run by Vivian Beiswenger.  Vivian a long time associate and friend of mine called me this past spring to let me know she was letting the program go.  This would mean that many ballroom dancers would be left without an outlet for learning dance in the Lansdale area.  She didn’t want this and thought that if anyone could pull off holding the program together it would be me.

Like I said the Y in Lansdale has been the home of ballroom style dance lessons.  So having Lansdale swing dance classes will be something new added to the mix.  In the ballroom styles of dance you have East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing, however these are not the styles we handle in Vintage swing dancing.  Our styles include Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Balboa, Charleston and Collegiate Shag.  So Lansdale swing dance classes will be something totally new for the dancers of the Lansdale area.  Our Lansdale swing dance classes will take place on Tuesday evenings.  Be sure to keep your eyes open as we start to post these classes and give details!

We have the ballroom style dance lessons covered as well through Lynn Kettenburg of Victory Fitness & Dance Center Inc. in Emmaus PA.    Lynn has agreed to run Monday evening ballroom dance lessons for the Lansdale Area Family YMCA.  This is great news as the dancers that currently support the Y’s dance lessons are ballroom dancers.  This should help us get Lynn’s lessons off the ground quickly!

So, are you ready for Lansdale swing dance classes?  Click here for more information on our Lansdale Dance Studio.  Also be watching our Classes Page for the first scheduled classes!

Allentown Area Swing Dance Classes

Allentown Area Swing Dance Classes

Allentown Area Swing Dance Classes are back!   Time to get on board and have fun like never before.  Our Allentown area Swing Dance Classes are run in Emmaus PA at the Victory Fitness & Dance Center.  This Allentown area dance studio is the perfect size for our small group dance class.  Plus there are is a large mirror so that you can see how you are doing!  To view and sign up for our Allentown area Swing Dance Classes simply click this link… Click Here!

For more information on our Allentown area Swing Dance Classes studio and instructor, Click Here!

We started our satellite location for  Allentown area Swing Dance Classes back in May of 2014.  It takes time to get a new studio off the ground.  However our vary first class series was nearly packed to capacity!   We are looking to keep these classes at capacity so that you will have more fun and meet new people in our Allentown dance studio.  Join us for the time of your life!

Mechanics Hall 123 Hall St Spring City PA 19475

Mechanics Hall 123 Hall St Spring City PA 19475

Mechanics Hall 123 Hall St Spring City PA 19475 currently the home of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon is to become our new home!  This is where Swing Kat Entertainment will reside around the new year.  After months of waiting, 2 weeks ago we finally signed the paper work.  This is closer than we have ever gotten to securing a place that can be our permanent home.  At this point the only things that can stop us from realizing this dream are a parking variance hearing & the cost of code improvements that will have to be made.  Both of these issues could stop us however I believe we should get past both and realize our dream!

In the process of securing Mechanics Hall 123 Hall St Spring City PA 19475 I have learned that the cost of just simply getting the answers as to whether or not we will even be allowed to consider purchasing/moving to Mechanics Hall is going to be more costly than first imagined.  It looks like we are now looking at $8-$10K just to find out if we will be allowed to proceed as planned.  This is an awful price to pay, but to hold our dance community together I am moving forward.  There is no other option that will work for our complete calendar of events.  If we were just doing swing dances and classes, I would be able to find a place to make that happen.  However we do swing, ballroom, salsa, milonga, and more.  We need a place we can have all month long.  More importantly, we need a place that is affordable & sized correctly for the small crowds we normally get each night.  Mechanics Hall will hold roughly 125 people for swing dancing on it’s main ballroom floor.  The Ballroom On High would hold 25o.  With our highest average for DJ dance nights being around 55 for swing/ballroom dances and 85 for our monthly salsa dance, there is no need for a building the size of the Ballroom On High.

Be looking for more information on our future move to Mechanics Hall 123 Hall St Spring City PA 19475.  I will have information at our dance events starting this weekend.  However for now you can take a look at pictures of Mechanics Hall by following this link… Click Here!

Return to the Ballroom On High

The Ballroom On High makes a come back!

The Ballroom On High LLC (the business) closed on December 31st 2013.  However the place we called the Ballroom On High (310 E. High St.) still exists.  After a moving process that started in April of 2013 & after a 6 month absence, we will be returning to the Ballroom On High on July 16th 2014.  I know this must seem crazy, but here is what you need to know…

When we were given notice to leave the Sunnybrook Ballroom we were given 6 months to do so.  This was a very kind gesture to us from the Sunnybrook Foundation.  This 6 month notice ends near the end of September.  As you know we are trying to buy a building in Spring City.  However we will not be able to enter this building until about the new year.  This would leave us stranded for 3 months.  So, we can’t move from Sunnybrook to Spring City which means more work for yours truly lol!  So, with very few options I hunted for a place for us to do our dance classes and live bands.  I couldn’t come up with a place to do our classes after a few months of trying.  So, I only had one option and that was to rent a place for more than just our classes.  Knowing this and knowing that our old landlord had been having some troubles of his own in finding something to work at the Ballroom On High, I gave him a call.  After some respectful counter offers, we agreed to help each other out of a tight spot.

Our move back to the Ballroom On High is indeed temporary.  At anytime the owner of the Ballroom On High could ask us to leave.  If that happens before the new year we could have a few months without a place to dance.  Though possible, this is unlikely.  Our next move should be our last.  But for now, the Ballroom On High makes a come back!  I for one will love to see the old girl again 🙂

Spring City Dance Community to become a Reality?

Spring City Dance Community

As we take each step forward in the process of trying to find our new home, a Spring City dance community is looking more and more like a reality!  Since my last update everything has been moving very slowly.  Mainly we have been waiting on important information from codes officials.  However after our long wait for answers we are no more sure of where we stand in regards to code issues than we were a few weeks ago.  Will there be a Spring City dance community?  It is a good question.

Here is what we do know.  We are now one step closer to a Spring City dance community being a reality.  In the past few days we and the sellers have reached agreement on the price and terms of the sale.  Furthermore financing has also been arranged and is no longer a hurdle!  With that said, though financing has been arranged, we still have to come up with the moneys needed to close the deal. On top of this we will need the money to deal with the code issues that will arise.  Now, this is where things get a bit hazy.  Like I said earlier, we have not been able to get answers on what code issues we are facing here.  If the building is zoned A-3 (which we can’t even get an answer on) our code issues will be few requiring $25,000 or less to close and get into this property.  However if this building is not A-3 or if they will not grandfather it as such, the costs could be $50,000 or more.

In either case here is where we stand.  By this weekend it is likely that our deal with the sellers will be signed and in writing.  This is a great step forward!  Our next step has to be applying for a parking variance hearing, submitting architectural drawings and paying for the review of those drawings.  We will also need to hire a lawyer for the variance hearing. In the end we are probably looking at $5,000. just to get an answer as to whether or not the building is A-3, will be grandfathered in as A-3, if they will allow A-3 at all or what they will require of us to get it there.

As I have shown over the past 8 years, I am dedicated to our Pottstown dance community not just surviving, but thriving.  This past year has been very hard me as we have faced disappointments and trials I never could have imagined.  However, I am dedicated to see this through.  It just so happens that $5,077. is what we have left from the moneys we raised last summer for our moving process.  I will use this money to get our answers now since this is what is required.  Hopefully at the end a Spring City dance community will be our reality!

Dance Spring City PA? Maybe Just Maybe!

dance spring city pa

Dance Spring City PA?!?!  What is this about dancing in Spring City?  Where is Spring City?  These are all good questions.

Dance Spring City Pa

Well, as I have been saying we have set our sights on a building just south of Pottstown PA.  If you go to the intersection of rt100 & rt724 and head towards Phoenixville you will be in Spring City in just 10 short minutes.  Spring City is where we would like to make our new home out of an old building.  As the picture suggests, we are hoping to make our home in Spring City PA!

This Wednesday, we met an architect at the building.  He looked through the building and talked with us some.  Again, right now the biggest hurdle we are facing is a variance hearing to change what is required of us in regards to parking.  This hurdle is sizable and is big enough to throw a wrench in the monkey works.  However, we learned more this Wednesday with the architect.  For people to dance Spring City PA, we learned that the Use of this building has to currently be Assembly.  If it is, this parking issue will likely be our biggest issue.  However, if the current Use of the building is not Assembly with the state of Pennsylvania we will be in for more than we can handle.  A change of Use would cause us to have to do many things to this building that we simply cannot do.  The good news is that though we do not yet have an answer as to what this buildings Use has been for the past 100 plus years, it is likely Assembly.  On top of this bit of good news is that if it is not categorized as Assembly, it is likely that we can make an argument to prove that Assembly is indeed what it was used for over these many years.

I should have an answer by next Tuesday on what the current Use of this building is.  Pray for Assembly 🙂  Here is hoping that next week I give you good news on the Use of this building.  So, dance Spring City PA?  I want to dance Spring City PA, do you?!  Stay tuned!


Owen J Roberts & Pottstown High School Jazz Band!

It is not often that I can say I have had an unusually good time at a dance event.  I always have a good time but that is not what I am talking about here.  I have been dancing so long and have heard live bands so frequently that I lose that special feeling that most of you have at every event.  However, this past Saturday night when the Owen J Roberts & Pottstown High School Jazz Band played the North End Fire Company for Swing Kat, I had one of those rare experiences!  It is no stretch of the imagination to say these young people from these two high schools play better than most big bands I have heard.  There is nothing worse than going to a dance and dancing to a band that has neither talent nor energy.  In my opinion a band must have one or the other and both is a rare thing indeed.  These two bands had both!

What an event!  There were 185 people present for an experience unlike anything I have even seen before.  I have never seen 40 people on one stage at one time playing for swing dancers and that was a fact until Saturday night.  I had the time of my life but I was very sad that as I looked around the room I found very few of our regulars were able to make the event.  I know many had mother’s day plans and couldn’t make it.  I know some don’t feel comfortable in a crowd of kids.  However may I say, don’t miss this next year!  For you missed the event that I would have to say is going to be the highlight of my entire year!  I just can’t say enough, this swing dance was an absolute blast!

Full Swing Ahead!

Yes! It is Full Swing Ahead or maybe Fool Steam Ahead lol… There are many things happening all around Swing Kat right now.  I just learned yesterday that our old Ballroom On High will not be sold to Jamey’s House of Music as was our old landlord’s plan.  He called me and asked if we might be interested in returning.  At this point I am not sure if we can or if that is even a good idea.  But I will remain open to all ideas to make sure dancing has  a future in our region.

This past Saturday I received word from the Codes Official concerning the property we are looking to purchase.  The word was that we were denied the USE we were seeking on the building.  We were denied based on the fact that the building currently has NO parking and by code would require 80 parking spots.  Interestingly enough, this property has been used for Entertainment/Recreation for the past 150 years.  We are not seeking to change the USE of the building, we are looking to use it the same way it has been used since it was built.  However, when it comes to the issue of parking our USE has not been grandfathered in.  This may seem like a big problem however we were expecting to have this problem before applying for the permitted USE.  So now we steam ahead.

So, the next step for us is to have a variance hearing on this matter of parking so that we may get past it and have the USE this building was truly built for.  Now code requires 80 parking spots.  I have measured out the property and have found that we can put in 22 to 30 spots behind the building.  Though the street has plentiful parking within a block of this location, we must have 80 spots off-street according to code.  Now at a hearing we may be able to get permitted USE by just simply providing 22-30 spots on our property because that is what a variance hearing is all about.  It is about not meeting the requirements but making an argument as to why you should be allowed to have your desired USE.  However, we may have another ace in the hole.  There is a church very close by that may be willing to give us use of their parking lots of over 60 spaces.  So, this parking variance hearing is feeling pretty good to me.  It is full swing ahead if this is our biggest hurdle!  However, there could be more issues.

Monday we hired on an architect to walk through the building and study the code for us.  He should see the building the middle of this coming week.  He will then be able to tell us what other hurdles may be in our path.  If you remember last summer, the building we were looking at in Pottstown 2 blocks from our old location got to this same point.  I called on an architect and learnt that we would need a $100T sprinkler system.  Unfortunately that could also be a possibility here though it would cost much less in this building.  However other possibilities loom such as Handicap access & baths, the addition of more baths for crowd size and then the possibility of the street sewer hook-up not being sufficient to handle these extra baths.  I know this sounds like a lot, it is but don’t lose hope! If the hurdles are something we can overcome, we will continue not fool steam ahead but FULL SWING AHEAD!

Stay Tuned for more!

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Main Location: Ballroom On High 310 East High St Pottstown PA 19464, 610.348.6727