Skulduggery and Suffering on Main Street/Main Line.
It's almost Thanksgiving and all of you out there want to be with your families, but please, allow the indulgence of pointing things out for consideration:
Everyone assumes that the Main Line is some magical Shangrila/Promised Land full of mansions, rolls royces, and Paris Hilton wannabes. Now of course, that is the spin that some would like perpetuated, but the reality is the economy is hurting this area...for the McMansion dwellers it might mean economizing on mani-pedis and botox for now, but for the real, working stiffs, well take a look at them.
The villages of Ardmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr have quietly been losing businesses. Jack Kellmer in Haverford, Leisure and Fitness in Ardmore (a small chain, actually), and Stiletto in Bryn Mawr. Rumors abound of legendary stores like Medley Music are closing (have not been by their store to see personally), and others are struggling...if you are a small merchant, you are hurting as badly, if not worse then the big box and chains - yet the ONLY coverage we see as consumers on TV is of big boxes, chains and malls.
Our local communities are not about Mall Zombies. We have REAL people with REAL stories of hardship.
Get out of the mall and hit Main Street. On Friday, December 5th, 2008 use First Friday Main Line as your excuse to hit main street and see how merchants and residents alike feel in communities like Ardmore and Bryn Mawr.
See how the other half lives. See how we can still come together as a community to welcome the season, and try to support our local merchants who are our friends and neighbors. See how the community will give back to groups like Variety Club and Eldernet even now - and the people you will see giving may not be those who can really afford to give, yet like an O. Henry story come to life, they will.
Also to be considered? In this economy how can Kimco, the current owners of Suburban Square even consider going forward with a rezoning petition to supersize what locals know as the "Ruby's Lot"? How can they justify road widenings on property the don't own to accommodate their project? What does THAT concept smack of again in Ardmore? And this is a private developer, right? So if there was ever a taking or threat of one by PennDot, would it be TRULY "public purpose"?
And 200+ living units wrapped in retail project? How can they justify going forward as being neighborly to Main Street Ardmore finally starting to gel with a redevelopment plan? Have any of you looked into this "neighborlyness" and wonder if Ardmore will become their new Harlem (as in NYC do some googling)?
And the final thing to consider? The rezoning project underway by Lower Merion School District. This project is rife with controversy and class warfare, and well, maybe some other ugly things we don't want to even whisper out loud?
Kids who have always walked to Lower Merion High School will now be shuffled by bus to Harriton? So the School District will now have to pay (using our tax dollars) to bus kids to Harriton at added financial expense to the district, which in turn will be environmentally unfriendly and expensive due the transport and costs of fuel? Where is the fair treatment of Ardmore residents who are bused for elementary and middle schools and at least could catch a break and walk to high school?
Is it true the whispers of some dirty dealings? How can we say we want to live in walkable communities and realize that preventing walkability in Ardmore undermines the core of the community as well as the Ardmore business district ? Community input is critical in government decision making, well, how doe this all work? Is it fair? Should the state step in and take over our problematic spending frenzied school district? Maybe clean house and play fair?
And what of other developments which were approved and have yet to begin? What about those? What do all these stalled and often unwanted developments do to the fabric of a community?
Think about it...and get out of the mall and the city and explore suburbia. We have issues too...
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from a concerned resident on Main Street who still believes in the First Amendment....