Demograhics, Border Development And Low-Income Riverfront Housing

Hopefully,  looking at these figures will help illustrate why Pottstown needs to move away from low-income and Section 8 housing if we ever want to revitalize this community.  Looking at the numbers, we are again at the bottom.  And we wonder why development happens all around us?  Not really!  Welcome to the donut hole.  You can find this information at city-data.com

Pottstown Borough 4.9 square miles  –  Estimated median household income in 2008: $45,941

Upper Pottsgrove Township 5.0 square miles –  Estimated median household income in 2008: $89,145

West Pottsgrove Township 2.4 square miles –  Estimated median household income in 2008: $54,067  

Lower Pottsgrove Township 7.9 square miles –  Estimated median household income in 2008: $65,879

Douglas Township (Montgomery County) 15.3 square miles –  Estimated median household income in 2008: $70,404

North Coventry Township 13.4 square miles –  Estimated median household income in 2008: $65,694

East Coventry Township 10.8 square miles –  Estimated median household income in 2008: $73,497

Why Does Pottstown Need To Be Concerned About Its Housing Stock?

Housing stock is a pivotal issue that will make or break Pottstown’s revitalization efforts.  A key piece regarding housing stock is rental properties.  Specifically, the conversion of single-family homes into multi-unit “house apartments”.  Our fair city has an overabundance of “house apartments”.  I speak from experience having lived in several.

I was told a number of years ago that this phenomena started during the construction of the Limerick Nuclear Generating Station.  The story goes that with the influx of Bechtel workers and the need for housing, many people turned their homes into rental properties.  I can attest that some of these “house apartments” are configured oddly, again having lived in several.

If we are to restore balance (as a Libra, I am all about balance) in the housing stock and reduce the number of “house apartments” in Pottstown, Borough Council must take steps to ensure this practice a. stops and b. provide incentives for homeowners to move into Pottstown and restore “house apartments” back to their original intent as a single-family home. 

Without a middle class, Pottstown will not be able to reverse the situation we find ourselves in.  That would be broke and surrounded by prosperity.  This all goes hand-in-hand.  One way to stop border development is to make the borough more attractive to homeowners and investors.  Attracting taxpayers and investment dollars will solve our financial woes.

Norristown Borough recently made a bold stand to end the practice of “chopping up” perfectly good single-family homes into rental units.  Several organizations in Pottstown have been desperately trying to shed light on this subject.  Code Blue comes to mind with their attendance at Council meetings, their participation in blighted property reviews, their participation at the First Suburbs meetings (here and in Lancaster) and their posts on The Pulse!

I would encourage our elected leadership, along with the Mercury, to make stopping the conversion of single-family homes into multi-unit apartments a high priority along with the new rules for landlords that the borough is working on so diligently.  This combination is important to revitalization efforts.

If Norristown can do it, why can’t we?

Sonic, America’s Drive-In Is Coming To Pottstown

This is a bitter-sweet post.  I am very glad Sonic is coming to Pottstown, however, it’s more border development.  Sonic obtained a zoning change to build on the west side of Route 100, adjacent to Upland Square. 

I am happy to see that the idea of some revenue sharing is being bantered about since Pottstown is getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop on all this development.  We all benefit from development but cash strapped Pottstown is the hub of this area and needs to see some benefit other than traffic congestion.

My response to Elwood Taylor’s (Upper Pottsgrove Commissioner) rebuttal of Steve Toroney’s letter about border development, is chill out Elwood.  Steve has a valid point.  Pottstown needs to get a piece of the development pie too.  We still lost other taxes/fees from Giant and other retailers who moved to Upland Square so it’s still less money for Pottstown, even taking into consideration borough employees will still generate Earned Income Tax.  Also border development feeds urban sprawl which is something we are supposed to be trying to control.

This needs to be a win-win for everybody.  That’s supposed to be the point of having a Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee.  Just sayin’ Elwood.