Just a crazy idea, but perhaps people should tune in to this meeting, because apparently a lot of us across Southeastern PA have a similar issue, and the more people who object to these warehouses the better off, we will all be.
Location: Possum Hollow Road Review Phase: Preliminary Plan
CB Limerick LLC proposes to subdivide the 117.9 Acre tract fronting W. Lightcap Road into five lots and construct four storage facilities totaling 1 Mil SF and one 30,000 SF and one retail space with associated loading, parking and stormwater facilities. The project also proposes to construct private road connecting W. Lightcap Road (at the light at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets) to Sanatoga Road. Project will be serviced by public water and sewer.
This is being proposed by I think some people from New York. A subsidiary of the Iconic Group (whomever they are.) I will note as a related aside to Chester County residents that apparently the old Saint Gabriel’s Hall is something Audubon has their paws in.
And Limerick isn’t that far from the Chester County border and there is a lot of development being planned there. It’s pretty frightening but it’s also Montgomery County, which is where the head of Chester County Planning Commission hails from – and you know I think Brian O’Leary is a carpet bagger and too pro development.
So back to Limerick. What is so atrocious is once again a historic property is at risk because of a mega warehouse plan.
Hood Mansion located in Limerick, PA was built in 1834 by John M. Hood, an Irish immigrant. He built it as a summer home for his wife and his thirteen children.
The Hood’s son, Washington, was the 500th graduate of West Point in 1827. He then went on to become Captain of the Corps of Topographical Engineers in the US Army and mapped out most of the Oregon Territory and Northwest. After he died at the age of 32 of Yellow Fever, his father erected a monument in his honor. The monument is still located on the estate, as well as the original family crypt.
The Hood Mansion would be demolished. It would be replaced with mega warehouses. So this beautiful historic structure with ties to national, local, and cultural significance with a retaining pond would be lost forever along with more open space. Please note the Hood family also advocated and helped enslaved persons reach freedom during the Underground Railroad. So there is that too.
This is not a structure to just be bulldozed and forgotten…. this is just as horrible and egregious as what’s being proposed for Lionville Station Farm and Happy Days Farm in Chester County.
All of these pieces of land have historic import. And while we can’t save every old house, there are some we should just save. And the way Hood is being left at present to rot is just as bad as Lloyd Farm in Caln. Why can’t we ever have adaptive reuse in part with any of these proposals? It’s just demolish and build and it’s like mega warehouses have become the new apartment building plans. They’re all bad. They all suck. They’re not anything to do with our communities or the people that live there let alone our history.
In Southeastern, Pennsylvania is seems any open space with serious history that isn’t being turned into ugly ass apartment buildings and townhouse developments is being proposed for mega warehouses now.
I swear I used to think it was just Chester county where we had to band together. I think we have to band together in multiple counties.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS PUBLIC MEETING 19 SEPTEMBER 2023, 7:00 P.M. – LIMERICK TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL BUILDING
646 West Ridge Pike, Limerick, PA 19468
I don’t usually curse in my posts but this is bullsh🤬t. Just like Lionville Station Farm and Happy Days Farm.
And I have seen zero real media coverage of Hood Mansion. There was something on Patch and a rah rah on Montco Today.
From @eightyeghtkeys on Twitter. Crazy flooding in Wayne, PA (Radnor Township).
South Wayne Avenue and Runnymede Avenues. Next is a Google shot of the area when it is normal as in not a monsoon:
The water was like that here yesterday too. And we expect more rain and there have been more thunder and lightning.
We are on a flash flood watch and friends tell me that there were crazy straight line winds yesterday in Paoli:
Charging my phone up at Starbucks. Heard the chainsaw though out the night still no electricity. Not sure what happened but it was a straight swoop from Darby-Paoli to the back of the Paoili Acme. Maybe just high winds but giant trees taken out. Thank goodness no one got hurt as it happened around 5:00pm yesterday.
~ friend post this morning
Yesterday in my neighborhood the water was crazy and some of my smaller trees bent into U shapes, but fortunately did not break. A friend of mine had their tree split in half.
I really wish that municipalities, as well as Harrisburg would look at climate change in action and see how the storm events are affecting us. Because this is yet another reason why development needs to be slowed down. But hey, I’m just a mere mortal and a female.
Gosh Harriton House a place I have loved since I was 12, but now like many other beloved historic sites can you say it’s in decline and getting more run down as time goes on?
I was introduced to Harriton as a child by a neighbor who volunteered there and also knew the original executive director who made Harriton what she was, and sadly the flavor has changed, and at the helm now is a woman who seems to need multiple assistants and I am not quite sure why? And then there is the social media from today…
Madame Kerfuffle seems to have made quite the faux pas today, yes?
It started innocently enough with one of the normally silly posts now posted on their Facebook page. I say silly because well, they are. I was vastly amused by the history camp posts this week because it made me ponder how child labor laws came to be- all you saw were the kids of Main Liners doing chores and I hope the new executive director remembered to get signed releases for the purpose of posting photos of other people’s children publicly as marketing? They are kids not marketing material after all, right? (Example immediately below ⬇️)
But then I saw their patriotic post for July 4th with a historical faux pas that makes you wonder about holy proof reading Batman!
And then the comment which will help you figure out the kerfuffle of historic proportions even worse that that time in recent history when someone decided to bake bread in Harriton’s historic kitchen, right?
Well oopsies and ouchies, eh? Gosh. Now of course like magic this post was corrected and undoubtedly eventually disappear and was also corrected ….except well Facebook allows you to view revisions.
Harriton Historic House and Park has lots of “human error”….like MYSTERIOUSLY blocking me from Harriton House’s Instagram in spite of MANY, MANY years of volunteering, donations, and donations in kind. Is that “human error” too? To block me who never leaves a comment on Instagram although I do find posts where a goat is baby talking on a historic house page somewhat ludicrous?
They also never did answer my question posted on a removed post of theirs about how many trees were taken down in the past year, and if Lower Merion Township was in approval and did the tree people carry whatever license Lower Merion Township asks for I think? Also because the property is historic did the nouveau executive director actually get HARB permission to take down old fences and erect the new ones which have that penitentiary feel to them?
There’s so much going on at Harriton that people have so many questions about. And I know people that just won’t go back anymore because every time they do now they think the property looks sad and I thought that last year when I went back after an oncology appointment at Penn Medicine in Radnor. Harriton was a happy place to me for decades, and I decided to go visit while I was more or less in the area. When I went back, it just looked sad with lots of weeds, doesn’t look like the garden clubs are really there anymore, and the original white fence that stood in front of Harriton was gone. It was a time of year where there should’ve been people there even if just families with kids or somebody walking a dog because it was summer and it was empty.
And July 4th. The house was always open July 4 for tours. No more. Given what Harriton’s most famous occupant was part of, sure seems odd, right? I can’t believe it was 2021 that I wrote a July 4th post, seems like a lifetime ago.
So much about Harriton seems like a lifetime ago. Like the gardens. There were two garden clubs which used to do various beds and the sunken garden, which I actually was the first person to create a garden in. Last year the sunken garden was new weed city. Someone who was over there recently and had not been in forever messaged me to ask where the garden clubs were and I asked why and he said “weeds all over.”
I will go back to the recent history of when someone thought they could bake bread at an annual meeting was it? And it was a disaster ? When we cooked in the kitchen in the late 70s, we didn’t create any issues or set anything on fire, and that’s important at a historic site, right?
Harriton was a really special place. It could be again. But it needs a board makeover and executive director makeover. I actually found what looks like a copy of the last executive director requirements? New girl is not so new any longer so can she hack it?
You will have to click on each screenshot to read:
So it makes you wonder if Lower Merion Township is actually paying attention? After all they do own the historic house and land, correct? They have a commissioner on the board and commissioners were there in June for some sort of commissioner gathering, correct ? What did they see or is it they choose to ignore? You have to wonder because you don’t want Harriton to end up looking as sad as Ashbridge House in the park in Rosemont which kind of just looks like it’s rotting. Also, it’s interesting to note that even if you have a guide star membership you don’t see IRS form 990s past 2019 so why is that? I mean, maybe that’s just a clerical error on the part of these websites that monitor form 990s but still.
Anyway. It’s been a ramble, hasn’t it? I’m sure the heat and hate mail now will come rolling in because oh my God, I expressed an opinion. No one said you had to read it…
Honestly I can’t even with this news. I can’t even. For years the tiny shiny Glocca Morra adjacent to the Magic Kingdom of Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County has told everyone how green they were , how into open space they are….and then the bomb drops: 201 Sabine Avenue…those asshats want to sell Sabine Park??? For real? Yup- see below ⬇️
So Sabine Park has been a park for what? 100 years give or take?
What do I say (if it matters)?
OH HELL NO.
So I got an email today which inspired this post:
SAVE SABINE! SAVE SABINE! Sabine Park/property was gifted to the community over 100 years ago.
Friends, organizations across our region have been formed to save and protect public land/land held in the public trust from local government attempts to seize and develop them. Narberth is no different. Please support this organization and help to preserve Narberth parks.
On June 15, 7pm, 80 Windsor Ave Narberth(attached to library building, next to ball fields). The Sabine Coalition will hold a meeting with their Attorney Phil Rosenzweig to address community concerns over Narberth Borough government attempts to harm this park. Rosenzweig has reiterated the state laws that protect this property to Narberth Borough leadership. Council has not responded to requests to meet with the public and have ignored Rosenzweig’s request to meet as well.
www.sabinecoalition.comThis site provides background and information on this property. There is a meeting registration request on front page.
“It’s NOT about POLITICS, it’s about our PARKS”
Phil Rosenzweig doesn’t mess around and he plays to win. And Narberth Borough seems to have been ignoring him? (Oh and Narberth Borough is working with people out of Paoli called Real Estate Strategies Inc.)
Help Sabine Park STAY a PARK
Tell Narberth to go to hell with this plan. When did Narberth get so bad government AGAIN?
This headline caught my eye. Norristown. So shady and in decline it might be the Montgomery County version of Chester in Delaware County. Can we say the love of decades of issues, possibly corruption shows?
I don’t know who this guy is I never heard of him before today (I rarely follow Montgomery County politics these days, and I certainly don’t know much about Norristown, other than its downtrodden), but this is despicable. And can we say this is one hell of a nasty political stunt? And it’s also obvious that he is targeting a woman (Stephanie Sena ) who advocates for homeless people and isn’t that a little disturbing?
And above all else, this guy seems to have an enormous chip on his shoulder about the different sides of Montgomery County. Norristown and Villanova are polar opposites. And the Norristown side of Montgomery County has always historically hated Lower Merion Township. And now this hatred is taking another form and using homeless people like others are using immigrants. I can’t escape the notion that this is more about politics than the actual homeless encampments but who knows?
The homeless population is real in suburbia, and it has been for years. And Norristown is a cesspool of issues and has been for years and it’s the Montgomery County seat. But this guy is essentially talking about treating the homeless population inhumanely, and the fact that this is coming from Norristown doesn’t surprise me in the least.
I can’t decide if Norristown is better or worse under Democrat control. Because it certainly wasn’t better under Republican control. Norristown was once a thriving metropolis, now it’s a place most people want to drive through as quickly as possible. And is that the fault of the homeless people and the homeless people seem like they are like being moved around like pawns on a chessboard? Before I get to today’s article, here’s one from a few days ago:
“They’re moving us around like dirt,” said a resident of one of 20 encampments in the borough. Local, state, and national homeless advocates are gearing up for a fight with municipal officials.
by Alfred Lubrano Updated on May 28, 2023, 5:00 a.m. ET
About 20 homeless encampments in Norristown will be cleared in the coming weeks, with no plans to store people’s confiscated property, according to advocates for individuals living homeless in the borough.
Officially, borough officials have neither confirmed nor denied what advocates call a potential “sweep” of an estimated 160 people living mostly in tents in various parts of the municipality, many in public parks.
A spokesperson for Peco, however, said that individuals living in tents on 3,000 feet of land owned by the utility along the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown “will need to relocate” at an unspecified time so “hazardous waste and trash” can be removed from the site. Advocates say about 12 people live there.
Homelessness is a fraught issue in Norristown, where residents, advocates, and those experiencing homelessness exist in a tense environment. It plays out in a county of great wealth but few beds for those who sleep outside. These days, when a person who loses a home calls Montgomery County for help, there’s little more advocates can do than issue tents.
Norristown officials have said they’ll time a full-borough sweep to coincide with Peco’s clear-out, according to Stephanie Sena, a homelessness expert and anti-poverty professor at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law. She also runs a homeless shelter in Upper Darby.
Thomas Lepera, Norristown’s president/councilman at-large, was asked multiple times in an interview whether the municipality will be clearing out people living homeless within its borders. He declined to answer, repeating the phrase, “We’ll be cleaning sites of hazardous materials where people are living” in encampments. He acknowledged that the eradication of what he described as “feces, needles, and God-knows-what-else in barrels” will coincide with Peco’s efforts. No date is set.
So this Stephanie Sena spoke out in her capacity as a homeless advocate and now she is being targeted and so is her employer by the head of Norristown Borough Council?
There is an epidemic of homeless in the greater Philadelphia region. But how do you solve the issues when people like these politicians in Montgomery County are ratcheting up the drama? And based on the articles, I’m reading it’s like nobody wants to touch this hot potato and this guy is connected to a lot of interesting people, so are those people being judged by this company they are keeping? Including the newly minted, Democratic candidate for mayor for the City of Philadelphia? And everyone knows that the City of Philadelphia has quite a huge homeless population don’t they?
I’m just kind of appalled and disturbed by this whole thing all the way around. I don’t pretend to have any answers but surely we can all do better instead of acting like we come from Texas and Greg Abbott is our BFF?
And this Hatfields and McCoys thing going on, depending on what side of Montgomery County you are from is beyond old.
I don’t have any answers here, and I certainly don’t have a dog in this fight, but I find these articles disturbing.
Thomas Lepera, the municipality’s president and councilman at-large, allegedly said he wanted to be Norristown’s version of Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott.
By Alfred Lubrano
The head of Norristown’s municipal council said he plans to bus people living homeless in the borough to the Villanova University campus.
Thomas Lepera, the municipality’s president/councilman at-large, said he’ll offer $500 gift cards to everyone who boards the bus at the end of the month. The money would come from donations, Lepera has said. Norristown has no homeless shelter.
Lepera is choosing Villanova because Stephanie Sena, an anti-homelessness advocate and anti-poverty fellow at the university’s Charles Widger School of Law, has been working on behalf of an estimated 160 people experiencing homelessness in Norristown. Sena also runs a homeless shelter in Upper Darby.
Sena said that Lepera called her an “ivory tower elitist” during a brief meeting last week to discuss encampments. The meeting included Eric Tars, legal director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Homelessness Law Center.
Sena said Lepera added, “Just so you know, I’m taking buses and shipping people to Villanova.”
Tars corroborated the account, adding, “Tom told Stephanie he’s ‘going to create a clown show on the Villanova campus by throwing needles and trash’ from Norristown encampments onto the Campus Green.”
Then Lepera ended the meeting by cursing at Sena and making an obscene gesture, both Sena and Tars said.
Asked for comment, a Villanova spokesperson said in a statement, “The work being done by Stephanie Sena is part of her personal advocacy efforts; it is not being done on behalf of, or at the direction of, Villanova University.
“Villanova University has had multiple conversations with Norristown officials to clarify Ms. Sena’s role as being independent of Villanova.”
The university didn’t directly address questions about the busing.
In a brief phone call, Lepera, who is also political director of IBEW Local 98, declined to discuss the busing plan, or how serious he is about it. He denied hurling obscenities at Sena, then he cursed at a reporter and hung up.
“When you have all the social services in one area, it draws in the homeless population. When you have a pandemic and flood [from Hurricane Ida in 2021, which destroyed low-income housing], your homeless population rises. When it rises, you have stuff called encampments.
“When Stephanie reached out as a representative of Villanova, I said, ‘How perfect is this? Because Villanova, with hundreds of millions in revenue, that prides itself on Catholic values and wants to help the poor, has a school now with empty dorm rooms. …“I couldn’t see a more perfect scenario as where to move the homeless encampments.”…
…Lepera’s Facebook page includes a large Villanova logo with the phrase, “Very Much looking forward to the Villanova/Norristown partnership. More News to come shortly.” The post had garnered 131 likes and hearts as of Friday.
It accumulated comments such as, “I hope it includes busses” from Norristown Councilmember Heather Lewis.
In a text, Lewis said, “I may not 100% agree with Mr. Lepera’s plan, but I do 100% share his frustration” about the problem of homelessness that Norristown must shoulder. “Hence,” she added, “drastic times call for drastic measures.”
Politics is a dirty business at times. Not for the faint of heart. And politicians of the Democrat persuasion all over the area are all atwitter over the bombshell Philadelphia Inquirer article yesterday. It makes you wonder a very simple thing: guilty conscience?
The fundraising invitation featured a who’s who of prominent Montgomery County Democrats.
Soliciting contributions ranging from $50 to $10,000, the March 29 event at Sunnybrook Golf Club in Plymouth Meeting offered a chance to mingle with the state House majority leader, two state senators, a county commissioner, and a former party chairman.
But one of the most influential players on the host committee doesn’t hold elected office or even live in the county — Michael P. Clarke, managing partner of municipal law firm Rudolph Clarke.
Clarke and his firm helped Kimberly Koch — the fundraiser’s beneficiary — and her fellow Democrats take over the Whitpain Township Board of Supervisors in the 2019 elections. The new board then hired Rudolph Clarke as the town’s lawyers. Now, Clarke and his allies are supporting her campaign for county commissioner.
“I’m a good Democrat. … We try to make sure that Democrats get elected because all you gotta do is look around this country and look at how out of touch the Republican Party is,” Clarke said in an interview. “So, who should elected Democrats turn to when they get elected? Why wouldn’t they turn to good Democrats? Why wouldn’t they turn to people who they trust?”
Democrats have cast themselves as reformers as they’ve gained more power in the suburbs, particularly after the election of former President Donald Trump. But emails, financial records, and campaign finance data reviewed by The Inquirer — as well as interviews with almost two dozen people involved in local politics — reveal a pay-to-play culture in which the line between business and politics is often blurred.
….The influence of the machine — and politically connected lawyers — is evident in several examples in this year’s primary races…..Tensions have ratcheted up in the months leading up to the primary, with one party official facing possible removal from the committee amid allegations that she violated bylaws by supporting multiple non-endorsed candidates in Facebook posts. Some rank-and-file Democrats say the investigation seems aimed at stifling dissent; one committee member invoked the Soviet-era KGB during an April 20 party Zoom meeting, according to people familiar with the matter….This year’s commissioners’ race comes as the county — the third biggest in the state — faces a leadership shake-up. Commissioner Val Arkoosh resigned from the three-member board in January to join Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration, and fellow Democrat Ken Lawrence Jr. decided not to seek reelection.
The Democratic Party committee tasked with recommending Arkoosh’s replacement interviewed more than 20 candidates and initially tapped Danielle Duckett, the Lower Gwynedd Township supervisor and policy director for State Rep. Chris Rabb, to serve the remainder of Arkoosh’s term.
But the party ultimately rescinded the offer. It wasn’t entirely clear why, but party officials asked Duckett about her bankruptcy filing 20 years ago when she’d been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Duckett also faced questions about the appointment of solicitor in her town, and whether she was a “team player.”
Documents obtained by The Inquirer through records requests help shed light on how the solicitor appointment unfolded.
After Democrats won control of the Lower Gwynedd Board of Supervisors in 2021, Clarke and another attorney got lunch with Duckett and her fellow supervisors.
“I said, ‘So if it’s all right with you, I’d like to make my pitch. And I made my pitch about how we’re good Democrats,” Clarke recalled.
Clarke told the supervisors about the firm’s experience advising municipalities on matters such as antidiscrimination ordinances and contracting rules favored by labor unions.
But Duckett and her fellow Democrats broke from local tradition — they reappointed solicitor Neil Stein, who had been hired in 2020 under the previous Republican majority in a bipartisan vote.
Stein offered a low rate, lived in the town, and is unaffiliated with either party….
In February, the county party voted to endorse Winder’s candidacy. But committee members opposed party leadership’s recommendation to endorse veteran State Rep. Tim Briggs — who works for Kilkenny’s firm — for a second commissioner seat, opting instead to hold an “open primary” in which no candidate has official party support.
After Briggs dropped out of the race, four other candidates remained in addition to Winder……During that time, Clarke and his firm gave money and legal services to a political action committee affiliated with local Democrats, including Koch. Kilkenny and Obermayer also donated.
A few months into office, the Democratic-led board voted to hire Rudolph Clarke as solicitor after the supervisors issued a request for proposals. The township later hired Obermayer as labor attorney and the zoning board appointed by the supervisors hired Kilkenny Law as its solicitor.
Obermayer’s chairman, Nasatir, said public entities account for a “very small slice” of the firm’s work and that he’s developed a reputation as a trusted attorney. Kilkenny isn’t endorsing a candidate for the second commissioner seat and said he donates to Democrats “across the board” and not based on business interests.
Whitpain is among at least nine towns and school boards in Montgomery County that have flipped to Democrats since 2017 and later hired Rudolph Clarke, Kilkenny, or both….
Salus has been investigating whether Joyce Keller, an elected party official, violated bylaws regarding support for non-endorsed candidates. A complaint seeking her removal alleges Keller signed petitions for multiple candidates and promoted their campaigns on Facebook.
She says she’s supporting Winder and one other candidate, and that she shared Facebook posts in an effort to educate voters.
No final decision has been made.
Salus’ actions have already had a “chilling effect on getting out the vote,” committee member Joyce Pickles said during an April 20 party Zoom meeting, according to people familiar with the matter.
Welcome to politics and is this the subordination of public interests to private goals or just politics as usual?
Now I know they are all abuzz in Montgomery County. This has been building for years. It has been building since before I moved to Chester County, truthfully.
This is how it all starts: Democrats achieve victory over Republicans. Then they become the problem they fought to eradicate. Happens in reverse as well. Time in memoriam.
It’s pretty goddamn simple people. As a country we are designed as a TWO PARTY SYSTEM. You know, for fairness and balance, two words seldom heard in politics? That is the history of how we came to be as a country. Fairness and balance were supposed to do away with petty despots, dictators, a monarchy and courtiers. Nice idea. But here in modern politics, neither party ever wants to pay attention to HISTORY. And what happens kids when we ignore history? We are doomed to Eternal Groundhog Day AKA repeating the mistakes of the past.
What we have can indeed be distilled down to a simple lack of balance. Each political party plays a game of political chicken or whomever gets all of the toys wins. They even do that within their own party’s political hierarchy.
BALANCE. Politics lacks balance, so today there is no art to the art form that is politics.
We have social media, so you would think there was greater accountability in politics, right? Nope only a greater desire to literally bury the truth and even the first amendment.
Today in Chester County she who is kind of politically toothless and should be at least silent at this point reared her head with this gem:
I mean REALLY? If there wasn’t “pay to play” as she termed it, would she have even achieved her political office as a Democrat supervisor in West Whiteland? Seems to me this lame duck on the Chester County Wheel of Fortune might want to buy a clue here? Maybe she should start her own apology tour, but I digress. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, right?
Chester County Democrats do need to sit up because are they any better than the Montgomery County Democrats currently in the hot seat? And is there or is there not crossover? I have been concerned for some time that Chester County Democrats were in danger of becoming a mirror image of whom they replaced.
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Inquirer Staff Writer Published Mar 6, 2008
Rankled by pay-to-play politics, a “rambunctious bunch” of renegade Republicans revved into action in 1970, ultimately prompting reforms that would alter Chester County history.
Decades after the upstarts challenged the entrenched GOP’s balance of power, a former organizer has written a book chronicling the David and Goliath-style uprising.
Author Lawrence E. Wood, who retired from the Chester County Court bench in October 2006, said for years he and the late State Sen. Robert J. Thompson had discussed writing about their 10-year struggle to break the stranglehold of party boss Theodore S.A. Rubino, who was eventually jailed for extortion.
Wood said Thompson’s death in January 2006 kicked him into high gear. Less than two years later, Wood’s self-published
The Independent Years, which he dedicated to Thompson, is being sold online.
Written in a conversational style, the book juxtaposes Wood’s narrative with news clips and recollections from other “independent Republicans,” including Wood’s wife, Rennie; Irene Brooks, Chester County’s first female commissioner; Mickie Deery, whose late husband, Stu, bucked the party and won election as county treasurer; and Rep. Joe Pitts, a long-serving state representative who is now a member of Congress.
Central to the group’s discontent was the fact that Rubino, a Malvern contractor who owned the Knickerbocker Landfill in East Whiteland Township, was the party chair as well as the head of the county commissioners.
Republicans have controlled the county’s three-member governing body since the Civil War and Rubino’s power was virtually unbounded, a situation he encouraged.
“Ted ran the county party with a strong hand, and enforced party discipline when he thought people were stepping out of line,” Wood writes, recalling that he was reamed out by Rubino in 1967 for supporting a non-endorsed candidate.
Rubino’s subsequent refusal to allow open primaries and secret ballots – procedures that could have eroded his control – led the insurgents to run their own candidates, including Wood and Stu Deery….
He makes it clear that Rubino-bashing is not his goal. In fact, he credits the GOP titan, who died in 1989, with creating numerous social-service agencies, including the county Health Department.
“Unfortunately, our story makes sense only when considered against the background of his story,” Wood writes.
The bulk of the text focuses on the ragtag efforts of the disenchanted Republicans to get elected, a process Wood relates with suspense, awe and self-deprecating humor. Ultimately, the group made inroads, securing many of the reforms they had sought so passionately….”If you let people get too comfortable, you wind up with bad organizations and bad candidates,” he said.
Political scandal is nothing new. It happens. And keeps happening because no one pays attention to political history…or common sense. I mean people how do you think we ended up with Trump and things like Klanned Karenhood? Ignoring history. Always thinking they were the smartest people in the rooms.
Politics is an old profession, perhaps only second oldest to what? Prostitution? Gosh did I say that out loud? I think I did. (Twenty lashes with a wet noodle.)
Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, and Philadelphia county all have lots of political scandal to learn from. Bucks County too, only they operate more like a secret society over there.
Throughout this post are articles involving political scandals. All around the area. Learn from the past. I mean regular people might as well educate themselves because it seems the political parties do not. Yes, Chester County Democrats I am indeed speaking to you as well as Chester County Republicans. Y’all didn’t invent this political wheel, you are all just the latest hamsters on it.
Oakwell. 1735 County Line Road, Villanova, PA. Originally part of Stoneleigh…..
I wrote briefly about Oakwell at the beginning of this year. I wasn’t going to care. I don’t live in Lower Merion any longer, so why should I care? Then a friend sent me photos. She had gone on an impromptu tour of the grounds, and met Dr. Bennett who is the man who first was selling to Villanova, then Lower Merion School District had it’s greedy paws out.
But then down the rabbit hole I went because a friend was there this weekend and sent me photos.
It started with the tea house. Such a folly. I had seen photos of them in Victorian estates. And then I saw the life size terra cotta warrior. A Chinese warrior. I find the Chinese terra cotta warriors fascinating. I have a small replica of one. (Check out the Smithsonian article HERE on them.) I have only seen life size ones in this area one other time: a few years ago for sale at Resellers Consignment Gallery in Frazer.
Then I read some fun history the Save Oakwell folks have dug up:
In 1919, William Bodine was making preparations to build his new house on a portion of his father’s Stoneleigh estate, a property that came to be known as Oakwell in 1922. The famed Olmsted Brothers firm had been Stoneleigh’s landscape architects since 1908, and there are hundreds of pages of their records for both properties accessible in the Library of Congress and the National Park System’s Olmsted Archives showing the level of expertise and thought that went into the stewardship of this place through the 1950s.
What was Olmsted Brothers’ main concern when it came to placement of the new house and driveway along County Line Road? Almost 103 years ago to this day, this telegram to their client William Bodine, along with other correspondence, shows that their main concern was situating these structures in order to “save trees.”
~ Erin Vintinner Betley “Save Oakwell” Facebook Group
Friday May 23, 1919 was a busy day for Stoneleigh’s Eleanor Gray Warden Bodine.
Bryn Mawr College was hosting the 5th Annual Conference of the Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association. As an association member, Mrs. Bodine listened to talks on topics ranging from War Gardens to Community Gardens to the Woman’s Land Army.
Two years later, an article in House & Garden titled “Consider the Gardener” again shone a public spotlight on this program for training of young women, “offered by Mrs. Samuel T. Bodine of Villa Nova, Pa whose extensive estate and eminent superintendent-gardener, Mr. Alexander MacLeod, have formed an exceptional combination.”
After the program, the conference attendees toured 4 nearby farms & gardens, with Stoneleigh the last stop of the day. Eleanor Bodine would have welcomed attendees to view Stoneleigh’s magnificent gardens at the front of the property but given the interests of the membership, the back of the property likely would have been center stage. For this is where Mrs. Bodine and her superintendent Alexander MacLeod hosted an innovative gardening and horticultural training program for women, centered on a greenhouse complex and Superintendent’s Cottage designed by noted architect Frank Miles Day sometime before 1903 (both structures became part of her son William Bodine’s Oakwell after 1922). The women in the program lived in a dormitory they named “Squirrel Inn,” built specifically for them by the Bodine family, near the sprawling fruit and vegetable gardens where they spent their days (these were Victory gardens during WWI).
The article focused on the need to foster the interest of more young people in gardening and horticulture, with these lines that resonate 101 years later: “nature study classes and school gardens are awakening special powers of observation and emphasizing the practical value of patience and diligent perseverance…. public and private enterprise must combine to throw searchlights on the path to be chosen, revealing the mysteries of science related to horticulture [because] even soil… teems with history, science, poetry and religion.”
~ Erin Vintinner Betley “Save Oakwell” Facebook Group
So Oakwell. Was (again) literally once part of Stoneleigh. Stoneleigh as in the house was built in 1877 by Edmund Smith, a Pennsylvania Railroad executive. Pennsylvania Railroad money built a lot of the Main Line of a certain period, didn’t it? When the Bodines acquired the estate, in the early part of the 20th century, what is now Oakwell and Oakwell land was gifted to William Bodine. William Bodine’s house “Oakwell” was built in 1922. In 1932, it was subdivided off of Stoneleigh.
So Stoneleigh survived, was donated by the Haas family to Natural Lands, yet Oakwell, which is a place that should be part of a similar preservation and conservation conversation is at risk. It is fascinating that there has not been more noise about this. Maybe people are just tired of Lower Merion School District taking properties or causing reassessments and increases in taxes. The Lower Merion School District is a greedy behemoth and I don’t think those in the administration have ever cared about other that what can be gotten in the name of the school district.
Next up: trying to make preservation conversations fun. Another rabbit hole I went down were old newspaper clippings. Enjoy:
Now here are a couple of society clippings discussing Oakwell and more recent era parties which I remember hearing of:
Ok yes, a lot of this is memories of days gone by, but properties like Oakwell? Legendary. Why shouldn’t a place like Oakwell live on with an adaptive reuse? The gardens although a wreck, are all still there! The tree are amazing. There is literally a small oak forest. And all of this is supposed to be flattened for TURF fields? For MIDDLE SCHOOLERS, no less? Is this an actual need, or a want?
Hidden City Philadelphia wrote an amazing article a couple of days ago. The talk about Oakwell being a historical resource. I will remind people this is Lower Merion Township and I watched Addison Mizner’s La Ronda get demolished. Being a historic asset may buy some time, but we live in a private property rights state, so it can sadly only delay the inevitable. And Lower Merion needs to pay more mind to demolition by neglect, in my humble opinion.
Here is an excerpt:
….The Oakwell estate’s current resident, Dr. John Bennett, founder and CEO of Devon Medical Products, has lived there for 25 years. He intended to sell the sprawling estate to Villanova University to be used as a retreat. However, in December 2018 the school district elbowed out Villanova and voted in favor of condemning Bennett’s property.
This is not how the school district sees it. “After a long search, the school district paid more than $12.9 million for the contiguous properties, which had both been offered for sale by their owners, for use as playing fields for Black Rock Middle School,” said Amy Buckman, director of school and community relations for Lower Merion School District.
Bennett disagrees. “I had the property under agreement with Villanova and, just prior to closing, the school district took it by eminent domain,” he said. “I didn’t want to see it go to baseball fields, destroying the ecological setting we have here. I went to court to fight them and lost. It’s a travesty.” The school district paid Bennett $9.95 million for the property.
“I offered to remain on the property to care for the house, but they want me gone so they can claim that it is abandoned, allow it to deteriorate, and tear it down.” Bennett has kept the entirety of the estate well maintained and still lives there with his daughter and grandchild.
The day that LMSD condemned 1835 County Line Road allowing it to be taken by Eminent Domain, the property was effectively titled to the LMSD. The only option available to the owners to get their property back is to fight a legal battle in court.
Lower Merion Township, PA — Fraud, collusion, and bad faith are alleged in court documents filed on February 7, 2018, by attorney Michael F. Faherty on behalf of his clients, township residents John A. Bennett, M.D. and Nance Di Rocco who are in a legal battle over the taking of their property by the Lower Merion School District.
In the documents, Bennett and Di Rocco are referred to as the “condemnees.”
Who allegedly did these wrongdoings? According to the documents it was the Lower Merion School District.
Using a tool afforded only to governments, the LMSD unleashed the force of “eminent domain” on Bennett and Di Rocco. That Force is the power to condemn and take a private citizen’s home, land or property by a government for the betterment of society.
Eminent domain are two words that can strike fear into anyone owning property that a school district or government wants to own or acquire.
Township residents John A. Bennett, M.D. and Nance Di Rocco of 1835 County Line Road, Villanova, PA have had their property condemned and taken by the Lower Merion School District. That is a fact, but the rest is very murky.
The court documents filed against LMSD allege a pattern of collusion and interference in a private business transaction where Bennett and Di Rocco say that LMSD officials and surrogates worked to scuttle an agreement with Villanova University to buy their property for almost $12 million.
The documents further charge the Lower Merion School District took the property illegally, and that school district officials or their delegates used fraud, collusion and bad faith tactics leading to an arbitrary action by the LMSD…..Villanova University’s President, Father Peter Donohue verbally offered to buy the property for $12 Million and agreed to have the paperwork drawn up.
The documents allege that Superintendent Robert L. Copeland, reached out to Father Donohue, after hearing about Villanova’s interest in the property. The document states that Copeland Donahue that $12 Million was too much for the property. Copeland allegedly told Donohue that the LMSD was interested in buying the property and that LMSD valued the property at $8 Million.
Donahue relayed to Bennett and Di Rocco that the University would delay their offer letter and that they didn’t want to appear hostile or look like they were attempting to block LMSD, “especially with all of the flair up over Stoneleigh.”
At the same meeting, a discussion occurred about both the condemned property on County Line Road and the Spring Mill Road property. The key question being: were both properties needed?
According to Faherty’s filing Dessner stated that “LMSD could sell it to Villanova University.”
Bennett also informed Dessner and Copeland that the University would pull out of their agreement of sale if the condemnees’ were able to reach an agreement with the LMSD.
Bennett provided a copy of the agreement of sale with the understanding that it would remain confidential.
Three days later on December 21, 2018. The school board convened a special meeting and passed a resolution to condemn the property at 1835 County Line Rd, and a press release was issued.
How was Stoneleigh able to block the school district, while the historic landscaping, Acorn Cottage, and horticultural structures of the Oakwell estate, originally part of Stoneleigh, at risk? “When the historic resource inventory survey was conducted in the late 1990s, the greenhouse buildings were overlooked. However, this parcel is historically associated with the Stoneleigh estate and warrants similar protections,” said Kathleen Abplanalp. director of historic preservation at the Lower Merion Conservancy.
“From the very beginning, the entire 13-acre property has fit into our mission goals for historic preservation, open space preservation, the health of the local watershed, and sustainability,” Abplanalp said. “We are vehemently opposed to the current plan and hope the school district will compromise some of their programmatic needs.”
Erin Betley, a conservation biologist who lives in Lower Merion, views the pending destruction of the estate’s landscaping and historically significant structures like the greenhouse complex as lost opportunity. “Oakwell’s intact landscape provides a hands-on educational opportunity for our children, and our community, to learn about ecology, conservation, environmental science, gardening, sustainability, history, natural history, historical preservation, and more,” she said. “Historical records reveal that Stoneleigh’s greenhouse complex and fruit and vegetable gardens were educational spaces for young women during and after WWI, where they gained practical training in gardening while also feeding the community. I hope this can be viewed as a chance for this valuable place to come full circle and used in a way that takes inspiration from our collective past to inform our collective future”…A single mature oak tree can consume more than 40,000 gallons of water a year. Where will all that water go when the Oakwell estate’s trees are gone?
Doug Tallamy, a conservationist, author, and professor of agriculture and entomology at the University of Delaware, agrees. “If you replace a forest with a lawn, you are generating run off,” he said. Tallamy was involved with preserving Stoneleigh. His message to the school district? “Find another place without cutting down hundreds of trees.”
I am a huge fan of Doug Tallamy, own his books, have heard him lecture a few times now. I also live with a woods full of oak trees. I love them. I am attached to my woods and the creatures and plants in them, much like the folks who live around Oakwell.
This property would be better suited as a retreat, which is I think what I heard Villanova wanted to do with the property.
And not to skip around but is all of this crap being done by Lower Merion School District going to cost Lower Merion Township big time when it comes to public works, police, fire, EMTs? So when will they have to put in another firehouse and where exactly?
Here are some links which I saw on Save Oakwell which some of you might find of interest:
What do I think? I am not sure as on one hand, this is such a complex tale that I do not know if we will ever know the whole story. BUT on the other hand I am so tired of major properties being demolished and I am definitely of the school of thought that Lower Merion School District need to be stopped. After all, #thisplacematters and has anyone gone to the National Trust for Historic Preservation yet?
And let’s talk about the trees. 500 as in FIVE HUNDRED. Yes, that is the destruction number. That makes me want to throw up.
Isn’t it time to curb the rabid dog of destruction that is Lower Merion School District? From the historic preservation aspects to land and environmental preservation aspects, sadly Oakwell has it all going on. Yet people are being too damn quiet about this. Natural Lands needs to speak up. Hell, they know what it is to have to fight Lower Merion School District over eminent domain and also, the eco system that is their Stoneleigh will be threatened and altered and affected irrevocably if the mass destruction of Oakwell succeeds. Natural Lands speaking up now is very important, and I don’t quite get their silence, do you?
Oakwell need a reprieve. But more people need to care. Not enough people seem to care or are willing to stick their necks out. I really wish that someone would sit down at Oakwell with people who had lived there, or whose family has lived there and film an oral history. Well that should have happened before I think. And where are elected officials on this? Not just statements of Lower Merion Commissioner, but State Reps, State Senators, Congressional representatives, etc? County Commissioners? State environmentalists?
Where. Is. The. Really. LOUD. Public. Outcry?? And more media or do they only cover bad politicians and crime in Philadelphia?
People. We need to save the region’s history. That includes gardens too. Trees. Houses. Tea Houses. I don’t have the answers. God I wish I did. But if we allow this to happen, in the end we will all be sorry. And I have to ask, is Radnor Township asleep here? Their township is quite literally across County Line Road. Radnor residents will be affected too. One would think the Radnor CONservancy might feign an interest, but that would mean getting out of their bubble, right?
Oakwell needs some big hitter angels, do any exist for this property? Why is it in other areas of the country, properties like this are revered and preserved?
A lot of times I ignore the posts which appear on the social media app NextDoor. But recently one kind of stopped me in my tracks because it was talking about a growing homeless encampment along the Schuylkill Valley Trail which so many people in our area use.
This post was from someone who am I guessing is a cyclist or a runner who uses the Schuylkill Valley Trail. And then I wondered where did this encampment come from? I have been aware of the ones that come and go in the Pottstown area along the river.
So I called up a friend of mine who runs a food bank in Montgomery County and asked her what was going on. And she said things have gotten so bad that even her food bank on the Main Line has waiting lists to take new people. Between average every day Americans having the ability to get decent jobs and landlords who jack the rents whenever possible and then just evict people, she said there’s a growing crisis for the unhoused everywhere. And in Montgomery County it’s a real crisis and it’s pretty damn big.
My friend told me a story of a homeless person at a Main Line train station. He actually had a job, but he was trying to save enough money so he could find a permanent place to live and insure his car. Thanks to my friend finding out about this guy from another mutual friend, a very nice pastor from a church nearby was able to give this man a hand up and get him off the street.
But that’s just one person helped. And in areas like densely populated urban areas, homelessness is at such a crisis point that it’s overflowing into everyone’s communities. And then in our suburban communities, including Chester County to a degree, homelessness exists and food banks and food pantries are being stretched unbelievably hard. There are a lot of people in need right now. My own personal belief is people were barely getting by before Covid hit, and Covid has quite simply decimated so many peoples’ lives in some way or another.
Back to this encampment on the Schuylkill Valley Trail on the Montgomery County side. It has been caused by the city of Norristown and Montgomery County.
An activist named Bill England said in June:
With the closing of the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center – CHOC – Montgomery County no longer has a year-round shelter for single adults. A new facility could take up to 2 years until opening. A temporary shelter needs to be opened now to provide a safe place for those in need of housing.
The Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center was on the grounds of Norristown State Hospital. Their lease there ended at the end of July.
A land transfer agreement for the 68 acres was initially reached back in 2017, according to Norristown Municipal Administrator Crandall Jones. An agreement of sale was unanimously approved by council members five years later during a work session in February.
While the land is slated to be conveyed to the municipality, the actual agreement was listed between the state and Montgomery County‘s Redevelopment Authority.
So this is quite literally Montgomery County and Norristown‘s fault. So where is Val Arkoosh the great bungler of things COVID in Montgomery County and Chair of the Montgomery County Commissioners?
Where is Congresswoman Madeline Dean who has a district office in Norristown at 101 E. Main Street? The Congresswoman literally has a rather large homeless population that’s outside her office within a stones throw pretty much all the time now. And I know for a fact that people have gone to that office trying to ask them would they please do something to help the homeless that are right in front of them. It’s kind of political crickets all the way around.
And then there is this other thing that literally happened a couple of days ago. Norristown as in the borough of (because it’s a city but it’s actually a borough) passed some ordinance keeping people out of borough parks and other places from Dusk until Dawn. This means they’re further abdicating responsibility for their homeless population, and basically pushing them out to other communities and even the Schuylkill Valley Trail because they have no housing, and they seek no solutions. Norristown probably won’t like that opinion but I’m entitled to have it.
Very few media outlets talk about this homeless crisis in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. And there’s not only Norristown, there’s the Montgomery County side of Pottstown. There have been homeless encampments along the river off and on for years.
WHYY is one media outlet which put out a rather in depth article recently:
Each time Tony Morano and Anne Douglass find a new place to pitch their tents, they face the threat of being forced to pack up their homes — and leave.
Recently, they say, a borough officer told them to get out of Riverfront Park, in Norristown, Montgomery County. When they moved to a spot along the Norristown bike path in late July, a park ranger ordered them to vacate.
Without vehicles, each removal — which they say feels like an eviction — means hauling their belongings by foot, and if they don’t, they risk getting their things thrown out.
Now, Norristown Borough, one of the poorest municipalities in Montgomery County, is considering a new “dawn-to-dusk” ordinance, which would make it officially illegal to sleep overnight in the borough’s parks. The ordinance comes during an affordable housing crisis in the county, and homelessness is 118% higher in Norristown than this time last year.
“I’m tired of us feeling like we’re at the bottom of the food chain, that we don’t exist and we don’t have feelings,” said Morano, who has been in Norristown for 10 years. He has a disability and has struggled to find stable, affordable housing. Douglass has lived in Norristown for two years with her daughter, who has a job in the area that she commutes to via public transportation…..When asked about the lack of shelter in Norristown for unhoused people, Lepera said, “There’s 53 municipalities, townships, and boroughs in Montgomery County. Why does it have to be in Norristown?”
“There is no place to be…They’re going to be outside for the foreseeable future. That’s the reality in Montgomery County,” said Boorse.
And unhoused people tend to “stay close to their roots,” Boorse and other housing advocates said. Many people have been in Norristown long enough to have a network of support that they rely on, are connected to necessary services, and basic needs like transportation.
My research has indicated that most assistance to these homeless people is coming from churches and other bon-government organizations. My research also indicates that most elected officials are just literally looking the other way. Especially in Montgomery County.
Why am I writing a post? Because when I saw the thing about a homeless encampment on the Schuylkill Valley Trail I just wondered where this all came from. And now that I know I figure I’ll put a post out there because PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro is running for governor and he’s from Montgomery County and he is a former Montgomery County Commissioner. He needs to give a damn about this and now not at some vague point in the future. He and Leslie Richards used Montgomery County as a steppingstone to State careers and other opportunities. She went from PennDOT to SEPTA. He became Attorney General and is running for governor.
The homeless population within the City of Philadelphia is off the hook too, but I can’t even begin to cover that because the City of Philadelphia is so corrupt that nothing is going to happen there anyway unless there is some sort of crisis Jim Kenny can’t wiggle his way out of before he lame ducks his way out of office.
I remember years ago they would bus homeless people from the city out to Bryn Mawr and they would let them off right by the A+ gas station across from Ludington Library in Lower Merion. I am told it still happens? I don’t know if it’s by bus or by train but it still happens as per my sources.
But now, suburbia has its own homeless crisis. And at present Montgomery County is abdicating its responsibility for its homeless crisis and sooner or later they’re going to start moving into other counties as well. We are seeing that as the homeless start to move into the Schuylkill Valley Trail.
I am not saying any of this to be some NIMBY person, but we’ve had issues in Chester County and I remember when I first moved to Chester County there was a shell of an old restaurant on route 30 in East Whiteland that was eventually demolished that used to have homeless people that would break into it and live there. These people need a place to go. These people need some sort of government assistance no matter how you feel about that.
If you look at this in other ways, there’s also not very much affordable housing in a lot of places. You can count Chester County among those places. There’s lots of development, however. But that development pushes up real estate prices and rental prices and it pushes people out of their communities, sometimes making them homeless.
And then there is just the lovely economy. Superbly painful amounts of inflation, and a global pandemic have put us in a pickle. And nobody wants to say recession but as it may be worse than a recession at this point? And this did not start with the current administration, either. It is simply a big, nasty can kicked down the road.
I don’t have the answers, I wish I did. But friends in Montgomery County when I spoke to them about this asked me if I would write a post because Montgomery County and the various municipalities like Norristown dealing with homelessness are very petty towards people who speak out. And apparently Congresswoman Madeline Dean doesn’t want to deal with it either although her office literally looks at the Norristown homeless/unhoused pretty much every day? Nice job, Madeline.
So here I am, just putting out a curtain raiser. I really wish the rest of the media would look at this and I thank WHYY for looking at this. And Josh Shapiro? Tag you are it, you really shouldn’t ignore this.
And one last thing. Republicans and Democrats alike like to espouse they look after all of their constituents, only they don’t seem to see certain sectors of the population. Montgomery County and Norristown with their burgeoning in homeless/unhoused issue are a glaring example of this. Also the Pottstown area, where there are also significant homeless issues, and there is social media chatter about the Borough of Pottstown (Montgomery County) fining churches etc for feeding the homeless? And the borough council won’t allow discussion at meetings?
To readers of this post if you have photos of the Schuylkill Valley Trail unhoused encampment or the various ones that pop up around Pottstown, please message them through the blog’s Facebook page. I will publish them and you will have to tell me if you want any kind of attribution. Otherwise I will just say “submitted photo.”
Montgomery County, it’s time for you to stop abdicating responsibility.
Please consider a donation to your local food bank or similar organization.
Now I had heard billboards wanted to come to Upper Merion (township in Montgomery County adjacent to places like Lower Merion and Radnor Township in spots best known for the King of Prussia sprawl of malls) as in those giant things they call “monuments” that are on 202 in Chester County, Quakertown, attempted on Route 100 with a “farmer’s market”, and disposition unknown in East Whiteland on Route 30, and other places.
What I didn’t know in the Upper Merion situation until this morning when somebody pointed it out is that these billboards put a park at risk. Bob White Park to be precise. Who knew?
Apparently no one reads the papers because there was an article in Main Line Media News a while back:
📌📝UPPER MERION — Some call them signs, some call them digital billboards.
Catalyst Experiential, the company that creates mergers of “art, architecture and advertising” calls them monuments that integrate “visual communication technology with local landmarks, infrastructure, and community experience, which encompasses the display as well as the ambient light sensor and other technology.”📌📝
Whether or not Upper Merion Township will welcome the monuments in parks and underutilized parcels will not be decided until Nov. 12 when Upper Merion supervisors will again consider the concept after tabling the matter at Tuesday’s meeting….📝📌
The company was proposing installations at four locations, including Bob White Park, Betzwood Bridge, 795 W. DeKalb Pike and 216 Allendale Road.📌🎂
The proposed amendment to zoning ordinances to amend the Township’s Zoning Ordinance would permit and “encourage the innovative commercial use of certain lands within the Township” while establishing a township-wide communication platform.📝📌
The monument lease agreements would allow, among other things, a “proposed 30-year lease agreement with Croton Road Upper Merion Land Holdings, LLC for the lease of a portion of the property known as Bob White Park for the exclusive right to construct and maintain an off-premises advertising display subject to the terms and conditions outlined in said lease.”📝📌
Following a detailed presentation by Thaddeus Bartkowski, CEO of Catalyst Experiential, several residents voiced their concern about not having been informed about the hearing.📌📝
“All of these changes at Bob White Park are being made without any input from the residents,” said one resident. “None of us really knew until tonight what was going on. There’s lots of places to let us know … there’s social media. You could have shared the presentations with us. The workshop meetings used to be televised but they are no longer.📌📝
Interesting name cropped up if you click on article link and read the whole thing. Upper Merion has the same solicitor as East Whiteland Township, Chester County—Joe McGrory.
So again, I think the billboards are hideous and most locations in Upper Merion being proposed are locations already kind of hideous, but this whole plan for Bob White Park? Why has it gotten this far? Have Upper Merion officials lost their tiny minds?
So if I have this straight, billboard company wants to lease a portion of this park to erect a “monument” in a heavily wooded portion of park that faces the expressway? As in the Schyulkill Expressway? So maybe houses near the park wouldn’t have full on sign blast of light, merely an unhealthy glow potentially but that is not the real problem with this location is it? Isn’t the real horror of this location the potential RE-ZONING of park land to COMMERCIAL?
So OMG let me understand this: if Upper Merion re-zoned a public park to commercial land zoning wouldn’t that mean a park might not have legal protection if Jim Bob Shiny Bright Developer showed up down the road and tried to do something? Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ that is a dumb ass plan isn’t it?.
And apparently in return Upper Merion would get “park improvements”? Talk about sell your souls to the devil right?
So look, not my county, not my people, not my township. But fascinating in its proposed vulgarity, none the less. Upper Merion residents, I feel for you. No one likes these billboards, well except for the company who likes to build them.
Back to billboards. Happy Holidays affected residents, the issue that never seems to go away is back again.
May, 2009. That was the first billboard hearing about billboards in Haverford Township.
This includes the two ginormous billboards proposed for Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr across from the Bryn Mawr ACME and Our Mother of Good Counsel Church. Two ginormous billboards that would cast a ginormous shadow on lovely small neighborhoods in the vicinity.
Now mind you this was only one site proposed for Haverford Township, there were multiple sites. All in the shadow of churches, schools, small businesses, neighborhoods. And don’t forget the issue at five points in Bryn Mawr, which while technically in Lower Merion, also affects Radnor and Haverford Townships as this is the literal point where two counties and three townships meet. (To see articles about this topic, go to Main Line Media News and search “billboards, Bryn Mawr“.)
Well here we are at the end of 2019 and billboards are back as you can see above. This letter was sent out by Haverford Township 5th Ward commissioner Andy Lewis￼￼.
📌As per the attached letter, the hearing on the application of the Bartkowski Investment Group to install billboards in four locations in Haverford Township, including two along Lancaster Avenue at Old Lancaster and Penn Street, is scheduled to commence on Tuesday, January 21st and continue for three days. Please save the dates📌
I never know what the media is going to cover or not cover, and they have been quite devoted over the years to the residents potentially affected by these billboards. However, I have a lot of friends that still live near these billboards sites so I am posting this because how could I not? Back in the day I went to every billboard hearing until I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2011￼.
I saved lots of photos from these old Haverford Township hearings and I’m posting a few of￼ them here. I want people to see things like when the firetruck shot their ladder up in Haverford Township above houses to show how tall the billboards would be￼. Or when residents in Haverford Township made a mock-up using big blue tarps of the actual size of a billboard screen being proposed.￼ and photos of residents taking to the streets over this issue.
I no longer live in or near the areas of Haverford Township being threatened, nor do I live close by to the proposed site in Tredyffrin in Paoli. But as a citizen of this country until they revoke it, I still have my First Amendment Rights… which interestingly enough has always seem to be one of the arguments for why these billboards should be allowed and I’ve never understood that and can you understand that?
#NoBillboardsInTheBurbs pass it on. Please support the residents of Haverford Township, Lower Merion Township, Tredyffrin Township, and any other township who objects to these monstrosities in their communities.
I will also note that four states—Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine—have prohibited billboards. Yes, they banned them. So why can’t we say no?
I wonder would the folks from the billboard company want BIG digital billboards on their front lawns? Probably not and I doubt their neighbors would either, right? So why shouldn’t these communities be able to say “no thank you”?