For those who don’t know, petitions will be due in a month, setting the stage for the 2013 Lansdale election. Five council seats will be contested in the election, in addition to the mayor’s seat.
As I had mentioned in my first entry in this blog, my purpose in writing has been to get the public more involved and aware of the governing process. At the time of this writing, I am unsure whether or not I will run again for the position of mayor. Regardless, I will offer my vision for Lansdale, including a few observations I have made in the past four-and-a-half years, with a sprinkling of criticism and a peppering of praise.
In order to make reading this a little easier, I will break these observations up into “microblogs” that I will publish once a week or so. For my microblog number one, The Borough Prior to 2010 is the theme.
The Borough Prior to 2010
A common tactic for incoming elected officials is to demonize their predecessors. This is only natural, since an election is a competition — like sport — where there is a winner and a loser. However, in sport there is also an ethic of sportsmanship. In fact, it is the American way.
While this council and administration have done some very good things — which I will eventually come to — there has also been a collective amnesia regarding some of the accomplishments that actually occurred in the few short years prior to 2010.
When my wife, Szilvia, and I moved back into the borough in 2003 after a long absence, Lansdale was looking a little rough. There was the dilapidated Turbo Building at the intersection of West Main Street and Valley Forge Road and the empty Drug Emporium building at the entrance to Lansdale on South Broad Street where the two biggest eyesores — among many others — in town were in desperate need of rehabilitation.
Fast forward to 2008: there was redevelopment of the West End Gateway to town including the Turbo Lofts and Walgreens (we even have a Starbucks now!); the redevelopment of the Pavilion Shopping Center; and the entirely new Station Square complex and the Homewood Suites Hotel, to name a few other big projects.
There was also the re-purposing of the Santerian's building into very nice apartments called the Silk Factory. There was also the transformation of the softball fields on East Hancock Street into that lovely Stony Creek Park that many enjoy.
And to top it all off, there was the completion of the White’s Road Rotary Centennial Bandshell in 2005. Not bad for five years!
I also know that Lansdale certainly appreciates its new sidewalks and street trees along Main and Broad Streets which were part of a federal grant given by Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz to council in 2004.
What I would like to remind the public and our council and administration is that not once was the previous council or administration thanked or acknowledged publicly during the dedication of the Streetscape Project that cold morning back in January 2011. These have been important steps in the revitalization of Lansdale, which have served as a catalyst to where we are today (Hell, I didn’t even have a hand in those!). To dismiss these achievements is irresponsible. (And like I said, there will also be praise for this Council and administration.)
My advice for the future: give praise when appropriate; it makes for a more harmonious community.