Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's My Town, Too

It's My Town, Too

I'm afraid Pottstown is caught up in the classic American attitude of superficiality by pegging the emphasis of borough revitalization to glitzing up a few blocks of High Street. Though unique, purple lights on High Street's tree trunks don't seem to have drawn shoppers downtown. Somehow shoppers need stores to shop in before they'll flock there. Lighted tree trunks no matter the color are sort of like Christmas lights, seeing them once is like seeing them enough. 

I compliment The Borough for utilizing the transit fund to plant with beautiful flowers the baskets hanging on our light poles and placing the planted flower pots in The Town Center Park, at Borough Hall's entrance, and along the length of the new transit waiting area. Flowers create an atmosphere of vibrant life which is continually growing in size and vitality those attributes our town sorely needs.

High Street may be the face of the town but it's not the heart nor the pocket book of our community. The heart of the borough is to be found in its people who continue to plow ahead in spite of the visible deterioration taking place around them. Boarded up and overgrown properties, once very few, are now commonplace crying for attention. Businesses, where activity was once taken for granted, are now cold, quiet, and dark while loudly shouting out for action. 

A tax base drawn from home owners, landlords, commercial property owners, and industries is declining. With this decline, tax income to pay for the Town's operation and the operation of the school system becomes less sufficient each year so taxes must be raised. Is it any wonder we don't attract upwardly mobile young families here, or businesses for High Street, or light industries ? Attract we do : Section 8 housing, and non-profits servicing their wards, and Churches doing their thing, and the homeless living off their wits, so to say.

I'm sure we're not alone in those perils I describe. I, after 76 years of living in Pottstown, haven't seen a decline in our town so dire ever before. My memory vividly goes back to WW2 and the years after for three decades when industry hummed and everyone had a job, a house, a club, and finally an automobile. School was fun and anyone who wanted could go off to college knowing there was always a job back home if they needed one. 

I anxiously await the task force that was put together and is aggressively at work to stem the Town's decline. They'll need all the support that each of us can give them, in fact, I believe they'll need something closer to Devine intervention so, to everyone, pray for them too.

Ronald C. Downie

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