Thursday, July 2, 2015

Do Tax Payers Count ?

Every 4th of July Pottstown has a parade followed up at Memorial Park with traditional holiday events culminating with "Fireworks". The public use of the park for these events has gone on for countless years. Refurbished some years ago, the park was wired conveniently so venders could set up on either side of a promenade which allowed the public to flow freely. 

This year is a problem ! Volleyball Rumble one week before the 4th used this same area for vendors no matter the condition of the ground from the rains. Now that area is what some call, as I do, a quagmire. Our tax payer park is now in question for use by its owners, we taxpayers, because the Recreation Department chose the Rumble, theoretically a "for profit" generator, over it's civic responsibility. 

Yes, I will be vilified for accusing this from those living elsewhere, who sweep into Pottstown, take from our largest, and leave for another year. We're left with a costly cleanup and care this year made enormous by the circumstance of rain. 

If a Rumble is ingrained in Pottstown's culture have it scheduled a month earlier or, better yet, a couple weeks after the 4th of July. Have the Rumble post a performance bond that would guaranty the park be brought back to its original condition. 

Borough Council, I understand, is the ultimate determiner of park use while leaving day to day operations to the director who answers to the Borough Manager with advice from a recreation board. But, who does Borough Council work for ? You got it, the the tax paying voting residents of Pottstown. 

When everything runs smoothly none of these blips are seen by the public, but government is in place to correct problems that arise and make long range plans so problems don't come up. You, the voting public, have to hold to the fire the feet of public officials so they don't shirk from their jobs. Yours, a seemingly unimportant job, is so vitally necessary in the ultimate smooth running of a town, like Pottstown.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What Happened

A sickening feeling came across me when coming from the Doctor we drove up King Street and saw the mud infested Memorial Park premier baseball fields. So much effort, time, and tax money went into these fields but, for just a few days of grass volleyball, the fields look like a pig sty shambles. The same goes for the surrounding grass areas which must of been parked on when extremely wet and many vehicles must of become stuck.

I'm not too sure the cost/benefit equation works well for this event. Really, does Borough Council request an accounting for such events ?
These sports field were designed originally for use by the youth of our Borough and serviced them most during the summer months.

The unceremonious debauchery imposed on these fields by predominately non Pottstown residents should be looked at by an independent agent of the Borough to determine the cost to tax payers and what the long term harm to the fields are.

I've stated my views therefore I would appreciate yours.

Ronald C. Downing



Fair Grounds

Back, way back, maybe during the Golden Years of Pottstown in the early years of the 1900's before the Great Recession Pottstown was home to a Fair Grounds. In fact, many towns of that time had such grounds for their citizens to break away from their daily work and have a place to congregate for fun and reflection. Ours, I understand, had a race track within its bounds which became notable throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. Local and countywide fairs were popular attractions for predominantly an agrarian populous who utilized these Fair Grounds.

Because of the very visible debacle that happened to our baseball fields due to their excessive use during heavy rain events, I am suggesting it's time to reinstitute a Fair Grounds in Pottstown. "What comes around goes around" is also an ancient statement as is Fair Grounds. No longer a heavy industry community we have matriculated into a higher learning town and with it comes a need for new energized thinking.

Out along Jackson Street, The Hill School last year showed some economic muscle by building a super athletic complex in an area we old timers called The Far Fields. Down along the river MCCC continues to invest in bricks and mortar to expand their presence there. Also along the river the SRGA continues pressing its trails and accompaniments up and down the waterway at an ever aggressive rate.

These three entities don't produce a tangible product people can handle and both buy and sell; but, each produces a product valued far beyond a manufactured piece. Their commodity of highly valued human beings is the new paradigm. Pottstown's desire to invest in progress should, in my mind, appreciate the new dynamic and think through what could enhance the culture of people being here. Fair Grounds worked well in agrarian times, lost emphasis during the industrial revolution, and now post industrialization - in an educational era - its time may be just right again.

Please, don't let the proverbial box contain you. Get out of it and think anew. Planning is the first step.f

Ronald C. Downie



A Follow Up

I am unhappy with myself, unhappy because when I take issue with some problem in town, I usually try to offer an alternative that could remedy the problem at a future date. Monday I was extremely distraught over the conditions Memorial Park ball fields were left in after a weekend of heavy play of volleyball on rain saturated fields. Even though volleyball organizers pledged to fix the problems they caused, common sense should require specific rules be stated when fields may be used in accordance with weather and ground conditions.

That said, my remedy, long term, would be what I wrote about yesterday, a Fair Grounds. In the interim, Pottstown should, in my opinion, secure ownership of land adjacent to the Park fields just to the south across King Street between King and and High Streets. Now occupied by a gas station and a equipment rental business. Years ago in a grand plan for Memorial Park and its surrounding properties, these parcels were included in the final draft to become park land. Pottstown should pull those dusty plans out, engage Montgomery County planners to review, and initiate the process for a new plan to be developed for grant application.

Maybe this King St. site would not be adequate for a full blown Fair Grounds but it certainly would help with fully utilizing the Memorial Park we do have now. It would accommodate small circuses and carnivals, overflow Park events especially parking, and parking for the Colebrookdale Rail Line, the Carousel, and Miniature Golf.

Of course, none of this is feasible if Manatawny Creek floods the area. Silt buildup before, after, and under the King St. Bridge has created islands which impedes the free flow of creek water under the finite opening under the roadway. Eventually, without correction, this condition will grab us badly and cause flooding in the area. Please notify someone in Borough Hall to this impending problem. Everything has a cause and affect.

On the move, Pottstown, A College Town, is poised as it begins its Renaissance.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pink Flamingo

Thinking back to a lost opportunity, a time when I was unable to sway my friends to adopt " a plastic pink flamingo" as Pottstown's iconic symbol. The Churchill's Kitchen Cabinet back then turned my suggestion down cold. "You dummy", they chided me, "who in the World would put a plastic pink flamingo in their yard except some oldsters in Florida?"

We could have been on the show, Sunday Morning, today when they did a segment about, you got it, The Pink Flamingo. Their popularity, instead of fading away, is growing each year in all parts of the country. 

But for me, another grand idea down the toilet along with many others, I too, have forgotten. Our morning group had days, if not weeks, laughing at each other until the idea faded away. Sadly, after Sunday Morning aired, maybe we did miss an opportunity to put Pottstown on the map. Your turn !

Ronald C.Downie 
Sandy Burton, Golfer

Sandy, in thinking about our exchange of emails, I've tried to understand where the differences between us comes from. I thought about our youth: both of Scottish descent and each approached golf early. I started caddying at the age of nine at our local Country Club
while, I surmised, you began playing golf much earlier at a local Country Club. Seemingly such a little difference is much greater when analyzed.  

Young caddies of my era were never allowed to enter the Clubhouse, maybe the locker room to pick up a golf bag, but so rarely. Caddies, me included, felt second class like a serf to the gentry. We were always cordoned away from the elite Country Club set when special events were organized for them. Yes, caddies thought themselves an inferior race in this time period just post WW2. 

I imagine you have a different perspective of your early years. When stratification begins early it intensifies over the years. I've carried over into the latter years of my life a sense of denied equality that must be overcome. I chose Public Service as my method to right these ills. I look at those who have little or nothing as victims not takers. I look at the Country Club elites as takers from the public trough displacing many truly needy. Superior elites spend their time shuttling between golf courses ultimately seeking one which suites their game always trying to be superior, being King of the Hill.

Poor Franklin Graham gets tripped up on history. His white Christian males found hordes of reddish Native Americans to murder in their European clammer to declare themselves conquerers of this new land. Many thousands of years earlier Native Americans had already explored this continent and all this time lived in concert with nature. Today, from their seats of financial power situated in Country Clubs, when the strenuous day of golf is over, financiers get their heads together to concoct new ways of lowering their taxes but paying for it by raising taxes on those least able to afford it. 

I am an unabashed proponent of equality among humans, even though, most listed by Franklin are in need of real help. And I understand the majority of those he called takers would never make it to the first hole let alone ever find par. No matter how life affects us we are all subject to death. I doubt a White Supremacist like Franklin Graham or people who support his edicts will have an any easier way beyond this life than I expect for myself. How in the World can these people be not only bigoted but be believers in miss information while they openly pray to a benevolent God. Wrapping oneself in the flag when on bended knee praying to the personal image of their God does not grant one a path to the hereafter. Jesus, it is said, prayed especially for the least of us. I am one of them and many of my friends are similar. 

Only you can determine where you are positioned on the rung of life.

Respectfully, Ronald C. Downie




What Happened

A sickening feeling came across me when coming from the Doctor we drove up King Street and saw the mud infested Memorial Park premier baseball fields. So much effort, time, and tax money went into these fields but, for just a few days of grass volleyball, the fields look like a pig sty shambles. The same goes for the surrounding grass areas which must of been parked on when extremely wet and many vehicles must of become stuck.

I'm not too sure the cost/benefit equation works well for this event. Really, does Borough Council request an accounting for such events ?
These sports field were designed originally for use by the youth of our Borough and serviced them most during the summer months. 

The unceremonious debauchery imposed on these fields by predominately non Pottstown residents should be looked at by an independent agent of the Borough to determine the cost to tax payers and what the long term harm to the fields are. 

I've stated my views therefore I would appreciate yours.

Ronald C. Downie
Fair Grounds

Back, way back, maybe during the Golden Years of Pottstown in the early years of the 1900's before the Great Recession Pottstown was home to a Fair Grounds. In fact, many towns of that time had such grounds for their citizens to break away from their daily work and have a place to congregate for fun and reflection. Ours, I understand, had a race track within its bounds which became notable throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. Local and countywide fairs were popular attractions for predominantly an agrarian  populous who utilized these Fair Grounds. 

Because of the very visible debacle that happened to our baseball fields due to their excessive use during heavy rain events, I am suggesting it's time to reinstitute a Fair Grounds in Pottstown. "What comes around goes around" is also an ancient statement as is Fair Grounds. No longer a heavy industry community we have matriculated into a higher learning town and with it comes a need for new energized thinking. 

Out along Jackson Street, The Hill School last year showed some economic muscle by building a super  athletic complex in an area we old timers called The Far Fields. Down along the river MCCC continues to invest in bricks and mortar to expand their presence there. Also along the river the SRGA continues pressing its trails and accompaniments up and down the waterway at an ever aggressive rate. 

These three entities don't produce a tangible product people can handle and both buy and sell; but, each produces a product valued far beyond a manufactured piece. Their commodity of highly valued human beings is the new paradigm. Pottstown's desire to invest in progress should, in my mind, appreciate the new dynamic and think through what could enhance the culture of people being here. Fair Grounds worked well in agrarian times, lost emphasis during the industrial revolution, and now post industrialization - in an educational era - its time may be just right again.

Please, don't let the proverbial box contain you. Get out of it and think anew. Planning is the first step.f

Ronald C. Downie