when non-profits become bad neighbors

  

Your eyes do not deceive you. This is  indeed a photo taken Monday of a parking lot resembling an obstacle course. This parking lot is not in Chester County thank goodness, the  location is Ardmore, Pennsylvania. In Lower Merion Township where West Chester’s former borough manager Ernie McNeely is now the Township Manager. 

The Junior League of Philadelphia is doing a huge renovation project at the thrift shop and headquarters in Ardmore. I applaud them for all the good works they have done for decades, but they are being astoundingly dad neighbors now.

Ardmore is a town that suffers from parking issues chronically. So if you add a construction project where construction vehicles park every which way and dumpsters get put and left in thru lanes for very tight parking lots,  it creates a driving hazard and an impediment to small businesses.  Believe it or not, close to that dumpster out of the sight line of the photo is an outdoor dining space for a small café. I can’t imagine they have much business with a giant dumpster RIGHT there.

One of my closest friends owns a store that you literally cannot get to through this parking lot a lot of the time right now because of these construction vehicles. So if customers and suppliers can’t reach the stores and store owners and employees are having a hard time, how are small businesses coping? The answer is not really well and it’s just not fair.  (I also have to note that many of these buildings have apartments and office suites above them and all of those people are having a hard time too)

Why can’t the Junior League find other parking close by for the construction vehicles?  Why does it seem like they are getting preferential treatment and everyone is letting them get away with murder in the parking lot? Other businesses can’t stop being in business because the Junior League is renovating their building.  

Don’t misunderstand me, the building they (The Junior League) are in has been long in need of renovation, it’s kind of a pit, but they should be more considerate of their neighbors and they aren’t. If there are projects which have to block portions of the parking lot at times during this project (which keeps occurring), why not start it a little earlier in the morning before businesses open or why not provide neighboring businesses advance notice that the parking lot will be blocked on certain dates for certain amounts of time?

I used to be a big fan of the Junior League of Philadelphia, and hopefully someday I will be able to be once again. But right now they are simply a nonprofit behaving badly. Think of this post as #dogshaming of a charitable organization. Somehow I don’t think when Mary Harriman founded the Junior League in 1901 being a bad neighbor was part of her plan.

This is yet another reason why I am glad I no longer live on the Main Line. I would however love to be able to navigate this parking lot safely so I can patronize my friend’s business. I  used to donate to the Junior League for their shop once in a while and I never will again after this. 

  

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One thought on “when non-profits become bad neighbors

  1. And, very likely, they are receiving public services without paying taxes. One thing to track down on non-profits is whether their business operations are considered to be related to their mission. If not, they should be paying taxes like everyone else.

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