Berks County Democrat remembered for urban renewal efforts

    Friends and colleagues are remembering Pennsylvania Senate Minority Whip Mike O’Pake, who died this week at the age of 70, as a legislator who was passionate about urban renewal.Berks County native Al Boscov says O’Pake worked hard secure the financial resources to redevelop downtown Reading.”Mike was a wonderful dreamer,” says Boscov. “It was sort of fun for us to dream together on what might bring back downtown. On what might make life better for the community.” Reading Mayor Tom McMahon says conversations he had with O’Pake made it clear the lawmaker was concerned about turning around urban areas across Pennsylvania.McMahon says O’Pake “was willing to help wherever he could. That was very dear to my heart.”Construction on a 60-unit apartment building in downtown Reading is set to begin in January.Boscov says he’ll work to make sure the facility is named after the lawmaker who represented Berks County at the Capitol for 41 years.O’Pake served as Democratic Whip for the last ten years of his career. He ran for Attorney General in 1980.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.