Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Bridge Too Far

If you have ever traveled by train into Downingtown the station you will come into is right in our little neck of the woods in Johnsontown.  The largest of the parking lots for this venue is within what is sadly called Johnsontown Park.  For the longest time this "park" was more or less empty open space nearest the homes on Viaduct (and yes, nefarious deeds were done in the darkened areas near the Brandywine) and fields that were used for soccer during the season on the eastern side.    A few years ago a small "playground" was built and the Lions constructed a pavilion, but still the park is not used as much as it could be if the borough would put more time and money into it like they have done with other parks in the area which actually have less of a population of people around them.

Now we are being told that a bridge will be built from Boot Road and 322 into Johnsontown right through the park.  Why you might ask?  Well when one asks any local official you will hear just about the same thing, "it will be good for the borough."  Oh really? And what about the citizens of Johnsontown?  How will it impact our quality of life?  Were we even asked or considered?  Not so much.  Doing some investigation I found that the reason that the bridge has been proposed is because that area  is what is called a KOZ which means a Keystone Opportunity Zone.  These areas have generated very little state and local tax revenue and if developed are expected to attract spin off taxable activity.  If you take a good look at a map of Johnsontown you will see there is actually NO ROOM for this!
Not only is there no room for this kind of construction it will make traffic patterns a nightmare and inconvenience and generally make life a living hell for those who reside on Viaduct.  If you have ever come around this part of the neighborhood once a train has arrived at 5, 6, or 7 pm you would know from where I speak.  Trying to get into Johnsontown or out of it becomes a test in patience.  The small tunnel that exits onto Business Route 30 only travels one way at a time and becomes extremely congested at quiting time.  Viaduct Rd would also have to be widened if the proposal that has been floating around the rumor mill is true and this would mean that home owners would lose portions if not all of the front area of their property.  How would you like the road you live on to be right outside your front door?

I say if you want this area to start generating taxes, help the residents clean up the area, give our community group the funds needed to begin some projects that we would like to accomplish but can't without more substantial money than we can generate on our own.  Make the people and children of Johnsontown a priority rather than seeing us as a liability to be pushed around at your whim.  I say this will be a BRIDGE TOO FAR!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crossing The High Wire

No one can say definitively what the meaning of sneakers or shoes tossed over power wires is, but in many areas, ours included, it defines where and when drugs can be purchased.  I have looked all over the net and many sites state that it is an urban legend that this means nefarious activity;it's children playing, it's kids who are just bored and in some cases that is just what it is.  However, a friend of ours who is a recovering addict let us in on the little secret when it was mentioned that shoes were dangling from various power lines in various places in the neighborhood.  The shoes are not a permanent fixture in each location, so the fact that it's bored teens or kids does not jibe with where and when the shoes are seen.

Within our community group we have found that when we do "walk arounds" in the neighborhood that the frequency of the shoes appearing drops.  We don't ever engage those conducting business that we would rather see stopped, but when the perpetrators of these practices see that there is NOT "no one around" it makes it more diffcult for he/she to conduct business.

So if you see a pair of kicks or shoes hanging from a wire, if they are your size take em, otherwise report their presence to your local law enforcement and document everything.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pot Holes or Car Consumers?

Ever been driving along and not notice that dark patch in the road and all of a sudden your teeth are rattled out of your mouth along with the hubcap on your tire making a run for it?  I know even in Johnsontown there have been a few occasions where the potholes have caused me to cuss and swear quite loudly in the car.

The Daily Local has partnered with See, Click, Fix to report to local government if there is a pothole or a road hazard in your neighborhood.~See, Click, Fix~
So join us in helping to clear up the nastiness in the streets that can cause sometimes serious damage to cars and tires.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Look With New Eyes

I am sure that many of us have faced prejudiced in some form or another, but facing it about where you live can be really hard. I have lived in Downingtown for the last 16 years and the last 10 in Johnsontown. When people ask where I live and I say Downingtown of course they ask, “Oh really where in Downingtown?” The looks on their faces or the sound of their “Oh” when I say near the train station is one of disappointment and a bit of disgust. At times I know that Johnsontown was not “THE” place to live in the town, but there is beauty that is yet undiscovered in Johnsontown and quite a few up and comers are moving into the area along with a lot of long time residents and their families.

One of the founders of St. Anthony’s Lodge on Church Street resided on Bradford Ave while living in Johnsontown. At first St. Anthony’s was housed at 231 Church Street and then in 1929 it moved to where it is now at 259 Church Street. Every August the lodge hosts a “Frog Party” where men gather to eat frog legs and share in brotherhood.

The Johnsontown playground got a facelift not too long ago with some equipment and swings. Soccer is played during the season on the wide open fields in the park and the Downingtown Lions Club built a really nice pavilion.

The gardens flowers and trees around the neighborhood are well tended and bright with color and the churches may be small but they are powerful in their message and congregation.

On a nice spring day take a walk around Johnsontown and see the growth and see it with new eyes as the neighborhood we love.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our General Meeting

The Johnsontown Community Group had our general meeting last night at St. Anthony's Lodge.  We started the evening off with a 50/50 raffle to put some extra money into our account.  Each Executive Board Member and Committee Chairperson gave a report on what was being done and what we hoped to accomplish.

We will be doing a Membership Drive on Saturday April 24, 2010 in the afternoon to inform more of our neighbors, up our membership and get people involved.  A "Clean Up Day" has been scheduled for Saturday May 8th with a rain date of May 22nd.

A brainstorming session produced many ideas that need just a small amount of work to grow them into great opportunities.

We are hoping that you all will join us at our next meeting where we will be livestreaming the session;thanks to Andy Hachadorian~Editor.  Plans are to have our Borough Council Members as our guests.  The meeting is scheduled for May 11, 2010 at 7:30PM @St. Anthony's Lodge on Church Street.....see you there!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Tidbit

:::::Sniff sniff:::::::Smell that? That is the smell of local politics. Our community group made their first presentation to the Borough Council.

The president Nick Winkler addressed:James Bruton, Anthony Gazzerro, Mark Benner, Ann Feldman and Bob Smith and represented our group very well.

We even educated the council on some issues. One of them would be that, when you see shoes hung over the wires of town that is a "tell" for purchasing narcotics within the neighborhood. Depending on how many shoes there are and where they are placed it will determine the "buy" spot.

A conversation held with Chief McGowan afterward produced a promise to give us an idea of what we need to do as citizens to help aprehend the dealers and or those who choose to come around our area to "make a buy". We might not be able to round up every dealer, but we might be able to make it uncomfortable for them to continue to business in Johnsontown.

We will be having our monthly meeting on Tuesday April 13, 2010 at 7:30PM @St. Anthony's Banquet Hall. If you feel so inclined all are welcome to join us.....united we stand, divided we fall. Hope to see you there!!!


Communications Chairperson

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Hoppy Day

Today for most Christians it is a time to spend with family and reflect on the great gift given to us by our Higher Power. But it's also time for renewal. For me, Easter is the beginning of Spring no matter that it officially started in March. More flowers beging to emerge, animals begin having their young and the temps are climbing.

I saw some beautiful trees in the parking lot of Ashbridge Square shopping center and the medians are showing off some very pretty posies. The Post Office on Boot Road is sporting some nicely flowering trees with two perfect nests in each one. The CCIU's fauna should begin to unfold soon. So without going far one can enjoy the beauty that has been given to us.

On that note everyone have a blessed holiday and enjoy the time with family or in the sunshine!