Support revitalization, park project

Published: Thursday, July 15, 2010

Much has been written about the opposition to the propsed mixed-use development on the reclaimed Kardon Park site in Downingtown. However, a vocal minority does not represent the views of us or many other Downingtown residents.

While we understand the fate of most of this project lies in the hands of the Orphans Court judge, we feel it's important to express our support for this vital development, as well as for the other revitalization projects pending in the Borough of Downingtown.

Downingtown residents might remember the strong opposition to the Main Street Village project back in the late 1990s. Yet, 10 years later, it's clear that this community project has brought countless benefits to our town ... not the least of which are the new residents whose vibrant ideas, talent and volunteer time have enriched our community.

In addition, their patronage of local businesses has enhanced our local economy and spawned new restaurants and bars including places such as Amani's, Firecreek, the Station Taproom and more! Inviting new residents into our borough is the best way to keep it a thriving urban environment and to hold down local taxes.

Recently, Philadelphia Magazine named Downingtown one of the region's "10 Awesome Neighborhoods to Call Home." The magazine cited, among other attributes, the budding restaurants, the great proximity to transportation and the charming houses. But it also stated that Downingtown "is still somewhat worn at the elbows but totally ready to bloom." It can only really bloom if the revitalization projects on the drawing boards ... like the Kardon Park development ... come to fruition. Don't we want to keep this momentum going?

And what better win-win for Downingtown than to have an attractive, tasteful new development that brings a cross-section of new residents to our community while still preserving ... indeed expanding ... the public park? A park that will now be cleaned up from contamination to DEP standards for our peace of mind, while at the same time increasing the parking and trails for the public.

Best of all, the new residents can walk only a couple of blocks to our own town center and the R-5 train, promoting our local businesses and restaurants as well as the use of public transportation. What could be better than that?

We hope Judge Platt's decision on the pending lawsuit will be favorable to the borough and its residents.

In the meantime, we urge our political and governmental leaders in Harrisburg and Chester County to support the approvals process for the rest of this development (the first phase in East Caln is outside of the pending litigation) and to do what is right for the Borough of Downingtown and our future.