It was 1926 when 1-year-old Joseph Mattioli was rocked to sleep by his mother on a veranda at the Penn-Stroud Hotel in downtown Stroudsburg, PA. More than 80 years later‚ it is now Mattioli himself who has rocked Stroud sburg with news that he and his wife‚ Rose‚ have contributed $1 million to the borough’s beautification fund. The money will go toward enhancing the downtown district along Main Street between Fifth and Ninth‚ and along Seventh Street between Main and Courthouse Square.
“Back in the 1920s‚ my father was a prize fighter who trained in the Poconos while my mother and I would stay at the old Penn-Stroud Hotel‚” Joseph Mattioli says. “Years later‚ my mother told me about how she would rock me to sleep on the hotel veranda‚ and I always got a kick out of the story. It instilled in me a lifetime affection for Stroudsburg.”
Since those days‚ the Mattiolis lived in different parts of the country until 1960 when they returned to the Pocono Moun tains region. Today‚ their family business holdings include the Pocono Raceway.
“When I revisited Stroudsburg in the early 1960s‚ the downtown district was the tourism place to go in the Poconos‚” Mattioli says. “I loved the little town and the people‚ and I always wanted to do something for Stroudsburg if I ever became successful. Now I can.”
The $1 million donation has been labeled the Mattioli Main Street Project‚ a nonprofit entity that has an advisory committee of various government and civic leaders who will oversee expenditure of the funds.
“Mr. Mattioli made the $1 million contribution in March 2007 and the first advisory committee meeting took place April 19‚ 2007‚” says Ralph Matergia‚ attorney for the Mattioli Main Street Project. “Our first order of business has been to solicit proposals for a professional design consultant who will develop a beautification plan.”
Matergia says two initial beautification initiatives that have already been passed are the addition of flowers in planters throughout downtown‚ plus the implementation of a sidewalk cleaning maintenance program. There are also plans to spruce up the 90 Victorian lantern electric fixtures that light the streets of downtown Stroudsburg.
“Main Street is already a quaint thoroughfare in downtown Stroudsburg‚ but the $1 million will go toward enhancing and beautifying the district even more‚” Matergia says. “This is not a redevelopment project by any stretch. It is a way to make the downtown district look and feel attractive at all times.”
Joseph Mattioli says the whole idea for choosing a beautification project came to him during a recent visit to Saratoga‚ N.Y.
“I drove through Saratoga on business and immediately noticed that its Main Street was more enchanting than any others that I’ve seen in all my travels throughout America‚” he says. “Communities that take pride in their appearance have always intrigued me. Yes‚ it was the splendor of Saratoga that inspired me to choose this specific project for the lovely borough of Stroudsburg.”