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Citizens for Pottstown’s Revitalization – Take 2

April 24, 2010

So I went to the CPR meeting last Friday night at the PAL building because the speaker was Dave Garner, former Borough Councilman, and the topic was the Urban Land Institute’s advisory report that was released in January (Pottstown, Pennsylvania: Transformation Strategies.) I’m a nerd when it comes to just about any kind of planning report, more so if it’s from ULI.

Garner made clear that the views presented were his own. He mainly encouraged broad participation in the redevelopment efforts, by citizens and groups well beyond the official partnership that has formed among the Borough, the School District, the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority and Pottstown Area Industrial Development Corporation, Inc. (PAID). He spoke of the need to establish a process by which decisions are made and to rigorously follow that process. Everyone should be challenged to do their homework, to know what’s going on, every step of the way. Then, when it comes time to actually make a decision, everyone should already be on board. Still, there must be a full & public discussion of the rationale behind anyone’s vote, for the record. But if the broader community has been doing their homework up until that point, they should already see/know/understand the direction that’s being taken.

There were some questions regarding where things stand now. A Memorandum of Understanding among the four principal partners was now with the School District. Some seemed impatient to not lose momentum while this agreement is ironed out and PAID hires a new executive director. Several comments were made to the effect that citizens can/should continue paying attention to, and participating in, various aspects of the revitalization efforts, yet it’s unclear what specific role could be played. Still a lot of “ironing out” to be done. I realize this post doesn’t get at the heart of the ULI report’s contents, but I’ll get to that in another post before too long — it’s all interesting, good stuff! And, bottom line, it’s not rocket science, i.e., its all quite do-able.

CPR reiterated its offer of Neighborhood Watch signs for anyone, anywhere in town, who wants to step up to be a Block Captain – a contact point for people in the neighborhood when issues arise. For that and to get on CPR’s email list, send an email to vivapottstown@hotmail.com.

There was a very good turnout for this meeting – maybe 30 people? – and they were from all areas of town. All Pottstown residents are invited and encouraged to attend CPR’s next meeting on Friday, May 21 at 7 pm at 146 King Street. The speaker will be Tom Carroll, president of Preservation Pottstown, an organization with a 6-pronged approach to its community development efforts.

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