This post and the one that will follow today are ostensibly the last in the planning series I started on August 5th. Outside of the blogosphere, though, in real life, these posts are calls to action. Not an end, but a beginning.
Because last night’s Council meeting is in the news and on everyone’s minds, I feel I have to weigh in. I am not going to comment on the particulars of the housing development and the rental ordinance, which are no small matters. Instead, I will point you to a previous blog post about process in the public sphere. Any public body is well-served by doing the bulk of its work in the public eye and with adequate and clear time – in advance – for input from any interested party.
What I would like to do now is highlight what I have heard/read about last night’s meeting that shows positive initiative being taken on several fronts:
– If the process continues as planned, the economic development director position for the Pottstown Partnership could be advertised in November.
– As a result of the First Suburbs initiative Pottstown, Norristown and Coatesville are talking about Section 8 housing issues such as vouchers and inspections with HUD.
– On October 20th, Norristown and Pottstown will have a joint council meeting in Pottstown to discuss joint issues.
– There is a cooperative effort between the School District and the Borough to rehabilitate 22 E. Second Street, now owned by the Borough, with students doing some of the work.
– The motion to authorize the submission of the Pottstown Skyline Lighting Project to the Montco Community Revitalization Board was approved and the project was made the #1 priority as part of the vote.
– There will be a store front decorating contest downtown for Christmas.
– Jason is trying to organize a joint meeting between Council and PDIDA to work with existing downtown business owners.
– Council chose to paint the Mrs. Smith Foil building and pocket an additional $45K for now.
– Motion to approve the submission of an EPA grant for Brownfield cleanup at Bethlehem Steel aka the Pottstown Industrial Complex was approved.
– Construction has begun on the Norfolk Southern bulk transfer station on South Keim St., which should result in an upgrade to the railroad crossing.
DO NOT DISCOUNT ANY ONE OF THESE! Some – like the lighting project – might be “flashier” than others, but they are all signs of positive, forward movement.
I would also like to direct you to an editorial in yesterday’s Mercury: Riverfest shines in town’s trifecta of outstanding events.
DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE CHANGING TIDE THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY INITIATED! This editorial apparently did not inspire people to write in to acknowledge the collective success that you, as a community, have already shared. The whole town should take pride in that success… and not forget to thank each other and acknowledge each other’s roles in it.
For the most part, you ARE headed in the right direction. There will always be a decision that anyone from any side of a given issue will consider a setback. No one has to give up on their principles or their freedom of speech, as long as there is a fundamental agreement to come to the next issue in a cooperative spirit of doing what’s best for the town as a whole.
But what is “best for the town as a whole?” That has yet to be decided or even discussed or even scheduled for discussion. This is the heart and soul of community planning, and I’m relieved and psyched to have gotten this far in laying out what I hope has been an understandable framework for how to talk about and plan and envision the future. To be continued…