There are a lot of people who believe and whom are working strongly in a prosperous future for Phoenixville. I constantly promote and try to bring people to downtown, where I am one of those people frequenting one of those many treasured establishments.
I prefaced everything I said to Bill Rettew of that fact that I have always liked Phoenixville, and I requested that it be conveyed that when he publishes my quotes. The series of articles and follow up Small Talk, which I believe was a great first step, I specifically did not want it misunderstood that I myself believe anything but positive aspects about Phoenixville, nor of its fine residents, that I have truly come to respect.
The first step with dealing with an issue is recognition. I have encountered some negative attitudes over the years about Phoenixville, while showing and selling houses in the borough and school district. These attitudes are often not verbalized or if someone does say what they really mean it is usually just in private. I, as well as others, have and are about to embark on a campaign to influence those attitudes about all the great things happening in the town, and wish that others would spread the word similarly.
For instance, I evaluated the Steel site for redevelopment over ten years ago for a buyer of mine at the time. I always though the area was ripe for development, especially recently with the current pent up demand for residential housing.
Last year, when Chris DeVol, a non-resident but a similar passionate individual (about the revitalization efforts) and a member of the Phoenixville Kiwanis, was "passed off" to me after him peddling the potential opportunity of the site around for almost a year prior to that, from my over twenty years of real world real estate experience, I immediately knew what needed to be done. I worked diligently to have a well heeled builder with extensive experience, which I have worked with in the past, to just buy a portion outright and put up houses where new residents would own, instead of just revising plans for a rental units as was proposed at that time. If they could sell townhomes in Downingtown and help a similar revitalization effort there, it was my thought they could do so in Phoenixville.
Our plans found overwhelming support from everyone we worked with throughout the process. Not only did the planning commission, the entire council, the borough planner, the borough engineer, but even neighbors came out in support.
In addition, the president of Kiwanis, George Mansur, who grew up in Phoenixville, moved away, and settled back in the area, testified with his historical perspective in support of the townhomes on the Vanderslice section of the steel site. These new residents would bring new vitality and as important, new incomes which should see there way to local businesses. By encouraging ownership, these new residents would also have a vested stake in the community.
Community and community involvement, I have come to understand firsthand, is one of the hallmarks of Phoenixville. I need help finding those who will be these residents. If anyone knows of anyone who is interested in becoming a new resident, tell them about these new housing opportunities in the cosmopolitan setting of this borough. I can help them through the process by telling them of some of the great things about this wonderful area.
Being involved in such things as Kiwanis (in many ways the heart and soul of the community), the Blobfest, the duck race, the Holiday tour, and the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, I have truly experienced the rich diversity of involved and committed people that are the backbone of the community, literally too many fine individuals to mention. Similar one of the other things I like about Phoenixville, is the rich diversity of housing highlighted by this years holiday tour. The town has every generation being represented both in housing and people. It all makes the town a nice place to be.
At the Christmas tree lighting, when nearby towns canceled, we still held the event. During the snow, I could not help but think that Phoenixville is that place embodied by the movie that played at the Colonial Theatre "It's a wonderful life."
Joseph Scott McArdle
Prudential Fox Roach Realtors