Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ironic Debt

I'll have to admit that tonight's Borough Council meeting gave me a bit of a headache and it wasn't just all the wrangling that went on. The big issue that had everyone squirming was the bond ordinance that was brought before council. I have to say that I am not savvy in the ways of municipal bonds and the reasons behind them and all the technicalities that go along with it, but I did understand why this had been brought before council and why it is a necessary evil. First of all to be honest I was really peeved that Council had long ago made an agreement with anyone for any project that would cost any amount of money before any currency was in hand. That does not mean that I have reversed my stance on Kardon Park or on the Millrace property, but even I know that you do not make a bet if you can't cover the spread. With that said I understand why it is now necessary for the borough to go out on a limb and acquire a bond to pay for the things that were promised, I don't like it but it is what it is. What made me a bit angry and uncomfortable were the questions that were raised and the attitudes that were taken. Ms. Feldman and I while we have been cordial and I will work with her for the betterment of our community will never be friends. I have however, gone to bat for her when I thought she was right and when I thought that the attitudes and comments made by various people were beyond the pale and were unprofessional. I never thought that she would make me eat those words. Tonight on several occasions she was a bit rude to the president of council Mr. Bruton whom was trying valiantly not to call the questions she was asking exactly what they were....IRONIC. I am not fond of Ms. Feldman's predilection of nit picking, but there have been times that it has been necessary, however tonight I wonder if she even saw the irony of her questions. She did not see the validity of the bond when it will encourage more debt in years down the road if it does not become the "wash" that most council members feel it will, which I agree with, however her lawsuit and the blocking of development of "Kardon Park" is exactly why Council now needs to take this measure. Ms. Feldman has claimed numerous times that she is just trying to work for and be the voice of the community at large, yet here we are in this quagmire because of her and the Friends of Kardon Park. So no Ms. Feldman, on this issue you needed to just listen and vote and put your nitpicker away.

The other issue brought before council was a new train station. The present one exists in Johnsontown and by all appearances seems to be the forgotten station, yet it is a busy area come quitting time in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Traffic can become a hairy situation especially if the light goes out at the tunnel that leads to Business 30 which happened just this Tuesday at 6PM. The gentleman that was there from PennDot appeared to have all his ducks in a row and it seems that the situation will be approached with community involvement, but my question is why not focus more on the residents of Johnsontown rather than the borough at large since we will be the ones most impacted. Regardless if the station stays in J'town or moves across 322, we will still be left with the remnants of what is, in my opinion, one of the biggest eyesores of a train station on the whole R5 line. Time will tell but Johnsontown is now seriously on council's radar as it should be.

The dog days of summer in the borough are promising to be interesting to say the least....tune in next time.


  1. You think our train station is an eye sore, check out Coatesville's Amtrak station...yikes.

    On a side note, I think Ann did a good job at wanting clarification on a few matters but again I think most of the discussion should have been done with Borough staff ahead of time. I think I like the fact, although I agree to disagree, that she sticks to her guns and is not swayed by the powers that be. She's consistent with what SHE believes is RIGHT and is fighting hard to fulfill her agenda which is obviously curbing spending keeping taxes low. But at the same time, investment in your greatest assets to the betterment of the community is the smartest thing you can do and with the current market rates, you'd look back 15 years from now and shoot yourself if you didn't take the deal we would be getting.

    The station, if moved, will spur economic development. The current station has limited pedestrian access, handicap access that is below federal standards, traffic circulation concerns, parking issues, etc. The interesting part of this whole thing is that the Sonoco site sits at the very center of the possible relocation. It's a blank slate for a better vision of what that site COULD become. It's a very interesting time and change is coming...and an even better time to make sure your opinions and thoughts are heard by those who will be making decisions in the future!

  2. Sean I don't go into Coatesville unless I have to....the Thorndale station is as far as I will go lol.

    I have gotten used to Ann's nit picking and in some instances she has been right, but last night was, as I said, ironic. She was nit picking the reasons for having to bring a bond issue to bare when she is the very reason for it. I have been peeved at council for counting their chickens before they hatched for a long time now, but the fact is that what is done is done and now we have to pay the piper. One big reason to have new blood on council.

    Trust me Sean, I know exactly what the station looks like presently, I live in J'town. I see it every day, I have to plan my driving according to the train schedule. Personally, I think it should be built where the brown field now exists instead of moving it any further. I am not against a relocation at all what I am concerned with is what will be done with the present station once the new one is built. Johnsontown has been consistantly a forgotten part of town and we have been expected to just go along....not anymore.

  3. The only problem with the current brownfield site is that it doesn't solve the traffic issue that's occurring on Bradford and Viaduct that you made mention to. Also if moved further west down the line there is about 20 feet of space between the westbound lines and Route 30 which would make for an interesting platform.

    I agree that the current station site, if moved, be the center of attention for redevelopment in Johnsontown. I think the majority of the land is zoned Industrial and should be changed. Maybe a mixed-used feel with residential over commercial uses to mimic that of 30 north on Viaduct. This still doesn't help the circulation with traffic and will only make it worse. That's where the Boot Road extension comes into play, but that's a whole other can of worms. If redevelopment is to be successful, Viaduct can't be the main way to get into Johnsontown.

  4. Like you said the Boot Road extension is a whole other kettle of fish. However, Viaduct is not the main way to get into Johnsontown just the closest right near the center of the borough. The big problem is that J'town can only be gotten into from Business 30 by roads that have serious height restrictions. To avoid those you come in off of 322 or the long way from Marshallton/Thorndale.

    No the traffic issue would still be there, but you are then restricting the residents that moved here specifically because they could walk to the train station. Also it is not directly on a busy street and no new bike ways and walkways would have to be built so that would cut down on cost. We are used to the traffic over here.

    Our bigger worry is not the congestion it's the kids in the streets and the speeders along with the police being not so swift to come to the aid of drivers when the light at the Viaduct tunnel goes out.

  5. I think the shame in this whole thing is the council made such a LARGE purchase on the property without money in the bank to cover it. The fear I have is down the line if the economy worsens .. employee attrition is not going to cover the ...payment needed. So there will be no alternative but to raise taxes. Sure might not have to do it right away but years from now ??? I see it comming. I think there is a real need for equipment upgrades and a fire house. But the way it is being handeled has not been in the best interest of the people.See More