Sunday, March 2, 2008

No alternatives offered to closing Second Avenue in Library expansion plan

The Library meeting started promptly at 2 p.m. in the grand edifice's Dale Carnegie room with about 25 or so members of the public and several Library Board of Directors/Trustees present. The anticipated small turnout was due to the fact that meeting notices were not mailed to the individual property owners of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Adam DeVaney took the lead in presenting a short history of the library and turned the presentation over to Tom Carnevale, architect of the project. Several renderings of the concept plan were on view and Carnevale explained the uses for the various departments in the building.

Concerns regarding the concept plan were raised including the closing of Second Avenue, the lack of parking in the area and in the concept plan, traffic pattern change, increased traffic in adjacent neighborhoods, the impact on the character of the neighborhood of Second Avenue, cost of maintenance of the new building, the need to rebuild Park Alley, as well as many other issues including the dark surprise of some extremely unsettling news for a long-time property owner.

Personally, I am disappointed and embarrassed by the fact that no public consideration has been given to alternatives to the present concept plan. Arguments against building a new library in another location ranged from the unverified rumor that the Phoenixville Area School Board could withdraw funding from the library due to the charter with the Andrew Carnegie Foundation to the quaint suggestion that this is a library to which many walk.

Today's meeting also marked the first time a neigbhor learned that "at least five feet" of her property may be seized by the borough in order to widen Park Alley.

Intercepted by a woman leaving the meeting, she offered me her view on the situation in one sentence.

"THAT", she emphasized, "is the most hair-brained idea I've ever heard."


Anonymous said...

Is there a reason they can't purchase the house to the left of them and renovate/connect?

Anonymous said...

During the meeting I asked a question regarding the property values of the homes on Second Ave if this expansion would happen, does anyone out there know?? I was not convinced with there answer. Thanks for the help..

Anonymous said...

The Library does not want to spend any money on buying property. The want the road and , apparently, some ones property given to them. The amount of land seized would be 5 feet in from the curb with the road running approximately 4 feet from the home. The area being seized would be from the corner and running the entire length of the home.
As for the question of property valve, draw an arrow and point it down. That is where the property valve will go.
The light, air, character and quality of life in the area will forever be changed.

Solofloyd said...

I walk to the library all the time and I would be very disappointed if the library were to move to another location. I understand why those who live in the neighborhood are concerned, but an expanded library would do wonders for the community.

Karen said...

From today's Phoenix newspaper:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Posted on Sun, Mar 2, 2008

Library expansion detailed


By G.E. Lawrence, Special to The Phoenix

PHOENIXVILLE — On Sunday afternoon, the Board of Directors of the Phoenixville Public Library Foundation held a special public meeting on the Library’s expansion.

Speaking for the Foundation board before more than 40 residents, Adam Deveney introduced the expansion plans as still “conceptual,” but now more specific on probable uses of interior space and on exterior design than those plans discussed at previous public meetings.

Deveney noted that current plans still preserve the original 1903 Carnegie Library, renovate spaces in the library’s 1987 addition, and extend the entire facility across Second Avenue.

“But the plan does not take the facility into Reeves Park” as first proposed, Deveney said, “It stops at the park’s property line. There was case law out there to suggest that we could do that, but we didn’t want to go there. Community input told us to leave Reeves Park the way it is.”

The concept plan was devised by Tom Carnevale, Carnevale Eustis Architects, who had also completed the facility-use analysis that stood behind it.

“We would need to double the existing space just to accommodate comfortably the current use made of it, let alone plan for future use,” Carnevale said. Deveney added, “We’re busting at the seams. There’s been a 146 percent population increase in the area in 25 years, and a 343 percent increase in visits to the library in 20.”

The proposal puts priority on “protecting and enhancing the 1903 Carnegie library building,” especially in “retaining the reading room as a real reading room,” Carnevale said; on a larger children’s library, and space for young adult readers; on new dedicated space for public meetings, for materials collection increases and computer information access, and for staff services, though, Deveney said, the proposal as it stands “would require no increase in current staff.”

Deveney granted, however, that a larger facility would entail larger utilities bills. “But the proposal also provides for renovation of some utilities, and additions of new, more efficient equipment,” he said.

The concept plan proposes a three-floor addition to the Carnegie building, new construction that will also incorporate renovation of the library’s 1987 addition. “We promise you we will get rid of the ‘Taco Bell’ look,” Carnevale said.

A new main entrance will be placed off an entry plaza at Main Street on what is now Second Avenue. Parking is proposed diagonally (“a traffic-calming device,” Carnevale said) on sections of Main Street.

With the closing of Second Avenue, traffic would remain two-way only from Starr to B Streets, run one-way west to the library at Park Alley and one-way north on Park.

Pete Lamberts of First Avenue and and Alexander Zay of Second Avenue objected to the plan’s handling of parking and traffic issues. “I don’t want the library to go away,” said Lamberts. “But I’m concerned about the flow of traffic, especially on Grover Street [between First and Second]. There’s a lot of foot traffic and bike traffic there. I have safety concerns.”

Kirsten VanVlandren of First Avenue responded to parking concerns. “Parking is a problem throughout the borough. But it is a borough. You give some things up to have other things.”

Second Avenue neighbor Karen Johns objected to the lack of notice of the meeting. Deveney said that the session had been advertised by public notice, by flyers in the library (with some delivered in the neighborhood), on the library website and in the community bulletin board [Page A2] in The Phoenix.

On the plan, Johns said that she found the closing of Second Avenue “bizarre, not what we hoped to see for our neighborhood. Why would not logic dictate that the building has outgrown its use?” and be located elsewhere, she asked. “This is a $6 million addition that’s causing ire. It’s fraught with problems. Why not abandon it? “

“Some people like it,” said Deveney.

“People who like it are not neighbors,” said Johns.

“Yes, they are!” shouted several.

The concept plan was reviewed with approval by Borough Council on July 10, with the Library Board of Directors October 19, with the Phoenixville Area School District November 15, and with the Chester County Library System February 19.

Deveney said that the Foundation will next approach the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania State Library for early reviews of the project, especially since “up to $500,000” of the anticipated $6.5 million project “could come through the state.”;jsessionid=2rm1HL1LmZy8tQQRjhvTMxhH5Ch2YLwQvPw3hsgGkmGJdnNyP00D!-1300426846?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FPVN%2FHome&r21.content=%2FPVN%2FHome%2FTopStoryList_Story_1675512

Anonymous said...

To Solofloyd: The neighbors of the Library are not suggesting to get ride of the Library but to expand it to another building somewhere else in the community. We have lived on the block for 30 years and the Library is part of our homes and our daily lives, so moving it would be the last thing we would want.

karlub said...


You know I mostly have your back and defer to your judgement regarding the impact proposed changes.

I have to say, though, it is hard for me to see how property values would do anything but increase. Houses on 2nd will have less traffic, virtually private frontage to the park, and traffic will adjust.

As for parking, if so many more people are *already* using the library, the addition of any parking at all should alleviate the problem.

I sympathize with those subject to eminant domain, but those subject to seizures are getting paid fair market value. Right?

Anonymous said...

What can we do to fight the library? Mike Handwerek and Carlos Ciruleos were at the meeting and by what Carlos and his wife said they seem to be already for it! Doesn't our council man care what we think or want? What does Handwerek think about this monster building going in the middle of homes?

Karen said...

Sorry for the delay in responding to those who asked questions.

With regards to the house next door, that would be the logical path for expansion. That particular home, I believe, is an apartment building and I'm told was up for sale several years ago. Whether it currently is for sale or not, I don't know.

Karen said...

With regards to property values, my limited time today only permitted a call to one local realtor today.

Truthfully, his initial reaction was that the building may enhance the area if certain provisions were made, i.e., a cul-de-sac.

After he learned of changing Second Avenue to a one-way street and the use of Park Alley to leave the dead end, his response was he thought there would be no change to the values.

I will be checking with other realtors soon to seek their opinion.

Karen said...

Hi, Karlub! Yes, I do know, and thank you for that comment.

Because the concept plan is so new, most people don't know the impact such a huge building in the middle of the street would have on the neighborhood.

Second Avenue would become one-way from B Street to Park Alley. Park Alley had serious problems while I was on Council, and through the auspices of State Representative Carole Rubley, a grant of $10,000 was given to the borough to basically put a bandaid on the deterioration caused by heavy trash trucks and usage. Park Alley would have to be totally rebuilt, in it's entirety, if it is made one way going north. I suspect that would be costly.

A neighbor may lose at least five foot of her property beside her home leaving her home extremely close to the roadway. So many questions come to mind regarding that possibilty including the stability of the home's foundation.

According to what I saw, the library building would extend to the edge of the existing sidewalk. Another sidewalk would be built to connect with the front of the building.

Second Avenue could potentially become a parking lot for the library. The front of the building shows parallel or diagonal parking, which I was told years ago is one of the most dangerous of parking techniques. A small number parking spaces would be obtained by using that method. I believe the existing space, which would be occupied by a new building, may hold 10 to 12 cars. In essence, the parking available by the library to the residents currently would be gone and moved to the front. The residents are often at a loss to find parking as the situation is now. Expanding the library on to the street may create even more. No additional parking in the concept plan is offered to aleviate the problem. This area would be gridlocked. Library patrons will probably seek parking in all directions thereby driving the problem into the adjacent neighborhoods.

Every single application for development to the borough requires a plan for parking. Is the library any different from any other entity which brings forth a proposal? If we hold other developers to this requirement so should the library be held to the same standards.

The traffic on Second Avenue will eventually adjust to a new pattern, true, but the problems associated with additional traffic will then be borne by Washington, Third, Fourth, etc., for those trying to reach the middle and western sections of town. Driving more traffic on Third Avenue is particularly problematic in that Holy Family School is one block up from the intersection with Main Street, Barkley is just another block from there. With very active after school programs, school children and others will be put at a greater risk.

In addition, Karlub, the asthetics of the building cause my neighbors and I concern.

Questions were asked about the design for the back of the building. While the front has graceful, arched windows, no plans exist for the back. Bothersome. Buying a home is based on many different criteria, and the last thing anyone would want to see is a virtual Berlin Wall where once we saw the magnificent Byrne mansion and colorful sunsets.

I invite everyone to stop on Second Avenue, face west, and look for the highest peak on the library. Using that mark, look to the utility pole to the building's left. A small metal box is several feet from the top. Using that box as a guide for your line of sight, look to the end of the sidewalk at Reeves Park. You'll see the Byrne Mansion would be completely covered by the proposed massive building.

With regards to the borough taking property, Karlub, I can't answer your question. This is the first time in my memory that a facility will request closing off, permanently, a borough street and requesting the use of the borough's right of way on a private home. Personally, I'm horrified for the property owner.

This concept plan, if implemented, has the potential to change the character of the neighborhood forever.

Karen said...

Anonymous 2:54 p.m., go to the meetings when the library presents it's plans to the Planning Commission, the Zoning Hearing Board, and Borough Council.

When I learn that the library is to appear before any borough board, I will post it to this blog.

Call your council representatives and let them know your thoughts on this concept plan. The two wards which would be affected are the Middle Ward and the East Ward.

Contact information for Council Members:

Middle Ward

Henry Wagner
137 First Avenue

Michael Handwerk
348 Washington Avenue, Apt. #1


Carlos Ciruelos
142 First Avenue

Michael Speck
413 Nutt Road

At this very early, preliminary stage, I have to question whether any Council member has enough information on this proposal to reach a conclusion.

Solofloyd said...

anonymous March 3, 2008 10:40:00 AM,

so you are suggesting that the library expansion should occur in a different building in another part of town but they should keep the current location open as a branch? that sounds ok except it would be a lot more expensive.

Anonymous said...

I sympathize with the people in the neighborhood, but from experience I would not plan on gettng anywhere with the Planing Commission or the Borough Council. When the borough approved the plan for the new Friendship Firehouse, they did not require a traffic study, or any other impact study. Apparently when the development in question is considered a "public service" such as the library or a firehouse, it's okay if a few neighbors get screwed in the name of the greater good.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I'm all for expanding the library in a way that will NOT block off 2nd Avenue or take any part of Reeves Park.

How about tearing down the awful extension that was build a while back?

Dig a hole there and enlarge from the basement upwards. Lots of room to put 3 or even four floors.

I'll even go along with plans to expand to the north by buying or obtaining one or two
properties by eminent domain.

But I am completely against both the original and the modified plans presented by the library and Tom Carnevale!

Ed Naratil

Karen said...

I received a return telephone call from another local realtor today regarding the impact on property values due to the library concept plan.

I was told the closing of the street should have no impact but the loss of the southwestern view and the sight of the "ugly" back of a huge building would definitely cause a negative impact on our property values.


Anonymous said...

Let me ask this simply. Do any of you even use the library? I have children and I'm all for the change. I use the library and I don't want it to move. They would lose funding. Yes, I am a neighbor and I live in town on Washington Ave. We are careful when we cross the street and yes we walk to the library. We live in a town not a country road.
I think you are afraid of change. If you live in town and walk there is no issues on parking. I realize the difficulty for those that live on that street and understand your concerns but I think the children will lose such a wonderful resource and moving it to another part of town is just throwing away such a gem.

Anonymous said...

I just read the article from the newspaper on the library meeting and could not believe that some of the neighbors were in favor of this monstrosity.

Karen, who are those neighbors who said they were in favor of it?

Karen said...

Anonymous 1:29, with all due respect, there will always be those who choose up a "side" on an issue before they have all the facts or information.

What I personally find deplorable is the act of taking a stand prior to knowing all the ramifications of situation, be it this particular case or any other controversial subject.

That being said, I can only tell you my personal observations with regards to your question.

When I made the statement that most of the neighbors were not in favor of the concept plan, I was speaking about those neighbors directly affected, those on Second Avenue.

I addressed my comments to the person I was engaged with at that moment, Tom Carnevale. To Tom's right, seated, were Carlos Ciruelos and his wife, so they were directly in my line of sight.

Both Carlos and his wife said, "Yes, they are!" I don't know if anyone else made the same or similar remark.

With all due respect, Carlos and his family live on First Avenue, not Second, and would be impacted on a different level on their block, i.e., their street would not close, their property values and view would not change, etc.

Each decision which comes before Council requires an critical, unbiased study of all factors.

The library concept plan has not yet reached the Zoning Hearing Board, the Planning Commission, or Council, and any decision on the future of the project must be weighed judiciously and with all the information in hand.

We can only hope that good judgement and commonsense will prevail.

Anonymous said...

I don't live in the neighborhood that will be affected, but I am bothered by the current plans.

Was there ever an extensive traffic study done? I don't know if closing the street will cause that much less traffic on Second Avenue. It will mean traffic at the front and back of the properties. I wouldn't want front & back traffic at my house. Also, exactly how will this affect traffic on the nearby streets? Where is the study?

Another thing that crossed my mind concerns the water and sewer lines that I assume run under the street. What will happen with those?

These things may have been addressed, but I haven't seen them in any discussion so far. It seems to me that if an expansion is to be made at this location, it has to be done going north, not on the street.

Solofloyd said...

Did everyone read Steel and Slag today? Quote:

"On the other hand, it is very odd to see that Karen Johns suggested the library should relocate instead of expanding across the street. Admittedly, the beautiful, old Carnegie building will look different with a new wing [though that is bound to look better than the current “Taco Bell”-style annex]. However, what directly impacts a lot more people than even the proud history of the library is the fact of its central location. As it is, the library is within walking distance of most borough residents. If the historical building is abandoned, where could the expanded library find a site to relocate that would be as close and convenient for students, retirees and residents? No, don’t suggest the steel site — it would be very difficult to raise the kind of money it would take to outbid the potential for all the housing and commercial properties that could go there. Probably the library would have to move outside the borough to find sufficient room, which would be a tragedy. This is a strange suggestion, coming from the woman who spearheaded the campaign to Save Our Hospital a few years back. She argued that the hospital should be allowed to expand, despite the objections of its neighbors, rather than having to move. True, the hospital protects lives and health, whereas the library fosters education, culture and community, so the library could possibly be viewed as slightly less vital. But if the expansion objection is really just a case of a Not In My Back Yard attitude, that would call for Slag."

I live in the neighborhood behind the hospital and now see a parking garage instead of houses. Yes, I would prefer to see houses, but guess what? I supported the hospital expansion for the good of the borough. It is unfortunate that Karen is more concerned about her property value than positive change for the town.

Karen said...

Thank you, Solofloyd, for the article from the Phoenix.

If I send a letter to the Editor, I will certainly copy it here.

With regards to your comments about Phoenixville Hospital, I am still humbled by the outpouring of support for Save Our Hospital, and am gratified a compromise was reached by the neighbors and the Hospital which resulted in benefiting both sides and the entire community. Those of us who worked hard to keep the Hospital in our community realized at the outset that the neighbors had to protect their homes and their investments and respected them for their position. Do we in our neighborhood deserve any less?

We can now rest assured the Hospital will continue to save lives IN OUR community, and at the very least, your neighborhood streets will not be gridlocked with parked cars. The Hospital has a garage. We don't.

A parking garage is not what we can expect in our neighborhood with the current concept plan.

The following and more are the primary problems.

The Library has not addressed the parking problem in it's concept plan.

The Library concept plan requires the closure of a main thoroughfare, Second Avenue.

The Library concept plan indicates the loss of at least 5 feet from the property of a neighbor's small side yard.

The Library concept plan requires the widening and rebuilding of Park Alley, and quite possibly Grover Street (and more?) due to increased traffic burdens.

The Library concept plan provides no information on the back side of the huge building. Neighbors could be looking at Phoenixville's version of the Berlin Wall.

The Library concept plan will completely obliterate the southwest view, blocking much enjoyed breezes and colorful sunsets, etc., becoming a quality of life issue.

The Library concept plan may create even more parking problems in that Second Avenue may become a parking lot for the Library.

The Library concept plan provides for a few spaces for parallel parking in the front of the building. This method I was told years ago is the most dangerous parking method.

The Library concept plan does NOT address the parking problems as the result of over 200,000 individual visits per year currently (it has outgrown it's building!). Any other developer for any other establishment MUST provide detailed parking plans. Why would the Library be any different?

The Library concept plan will cause the loss of property values in the adjacent area. I have been contacted by two additional realtors and the overwhelming majority believe our values would be impacted negatively.

On a personal level, just about my entire adult life I have worked tirelessly as an advocate for many organizations, the borough, and individuals.

This time I have to work for us.

Our properties, just as with many other Phoenixville residents, are our primary investment.

If we don't defend our right to protect our homes, who will??

Anonymous said...

What are the other options presented by the library planners?

Karen said...


No other options were presented.

Solofloyd said...

Yes, you do deserve a compromise but you aren't acting like someone who is willing to compromise. You are comparing a library to Nazi Germany for goodness sake. You shouldn't resort to using shock value comparisons. How about trying to work with those of us who support the idea?

I don't believe that your property values are going to decrease. I would love to live seconds from library.

You act like people who look out of their windows at a 50 ft. fall parking garage are better off than those who will look at the proposed library expansion. Does that garage not block their breezes and sunshine?

Just admit that it was OK with you for those folks by the hospital to give something up for the greater good but you aren't willing to do the same.

It will be a sad day when I have to get in my car and drive to the brand-new completely generified Phoenixville Public Library that looks like every other new library.

Anonymous said...

The essential function of any library is to be a collection and dissemination place of idea materials, from books and newspapers to computers; along with space to review them. What difference does it make what the container looks like? The building will not be destroyed, it would be reused, as have libraries in many other small towns who have faced this crisis of space.

Karen said...

Solofloyd, in situations of this nature where a project is controversial, the discussion can quickly degenerate into finger-pointing, name calling, and dissection of semantics. Keeping the focus on the situation and becoming part of the solution is and always has been the focus of my work in our community. I would like to keep the focus of this discussion on the concept plan.

As for my comparison of the backside of a huge building with the Berlin Wall, Solofloyd, my choice of words were designed to give a visual impact to the reader of what an imposing, three story blank wall would look like. I cannot think of another immediately recognizable example of how else it would look. Can you?

Those and others who are in support of the Library's concept plan are rightfully in reason to send your thoughts and ideas regards the plan, I will post them. I respectfully request that you acknowledge that I am among those who differ with your position. I also hope that you understand that the entity we must work with is the Board of Trustees/Directors of the Library. You and I working together on this issue, in reality, has no impact on the decision making process.

I sought the opinion of local realtors with regards to the property values because I am not a realtor, and I can only report what the professionals have stated. Since your beliefs may be based on an analysis which speaks differently to theirs, I sincerely hope that your opinion is correct.

Solofloyd, never have I made a comparison between the hospital's garage and the building proposed in the Library's concept plan. I have not one shred of doubt that the garage being built will impact the breeze and sun of the adjacent property owners. Save Our Hospital was formed with one primary intention, to save Phoenixville Hospital by keeping the facility within our community. After demonstrating the concern of the community, the direct dialogue between the Hospital and the neighbors became a priority. Save Our Hospital deliberately had no further involvement in the negotiation of conditions for the hospital development after our action of delivering 4,000 signatures to Council. I am under the impression that both sides conditions were satisfactorily met.

This year will mark our 30th year at our home on Second Avenue. During those years, my neighbors and I have been good neighbors to the Library. Never once did we complain when the construction of the addition took place. As with the dirt, dust, and filth that is currently being kicked up by the hospital expansion, we experienced the same here. So much dirt became airborne that we and at least one other neighbor had to have our windows professionally cleaned. We never approached the Library to bear the cost.

The Library's HVAC system drones and drones and drones. It has for years. It is our neighborhood's Taos hum. Until a week ago, the Library staff was unaware of the intrusion of the system's noise into our daily lives. The fact that we never complained about the constant drone is yet another example of what this neighborhood has quietly endured as a good neighbor to the Library.

Lastly, the parking situation which we have addressed many times. We give up our spaces to Library patrons and staff every single day. We don't have driveways in our neighborhood. If the street is full, we are required to park elsewhere. If this concept plan becomes reality, as I have stated before, Second Avenue has the potential to become a parking lot for the Library.

Solofloyd, I respectfully submit that the neighbors to the Library for a very long time already have given up much for the greater good of the community. We have given our peace, serenity, and parking. I guess all we do have left to give is a portion of the value of our homes.

The one suggested alternative of a new Library would generate much excitement and positive results for the entire community. A grand campus with ample parking would entice even more patrons. That option, however, is not on the table at present.

Only one plan is being offered.

Speaking of compromise, Solofloyd, no compromise by the Library has been offered.

Anonymous said...

One point for a previous poster: the Berlin Wall was not a product of Nazi Germany, it was built by the Russian Communists after World War II. Please, if metaphors are going to be flying, make them accurate. Google is just a few keystrokes away. Closer than the library.

Anonymous said...

I have your back, too, Karen.

No one should ever deny your right to defend your position on anything. You earned the right to fight for what ever you believe in and I agree with you completely.

Stay the course because this plan is ridiculous. It is not in the best interest of your neighborhood or the people coming to the library. With doubling the building will the number of visitors double? Sheer madness for all who live there.

I also want to say I admire you. I know you probably don't hear too many people say that and I wanted you know.

Solofloyd said...

Thanks for correcting me on the history of the Berlin wall. Oops!

Solofloyd said...

So I guess if 4,000 people sign a petition to 'Save the Library' then the library expansion should move forward and we can all assume that conditions were met satisfactorily on both sides? Do you realize how hippocrytical you sound?

Why move into a town if you are only going to complain about the sound of a HVAC system? It sounds like you need a Mcmansion on your own acre to live in. Go Generification of America!!

Anonymous said...

Do you realize how juvenile and insulting you sound? Go back to the beginning of Mrs. Johns posts and read her resume and what she has done for Phoenixville. What have you done to make this town better?

Solofloyd said...

anonymous 9:36:00 AM,

I am not trying to insult Mrs. Johns, and I apologize for sounding juvenile. I just happen disagree with the way she is sensationalizing the negative aspects of the expansion. That does not mean that I don't appreciate her efforts or respect her opinion. Additionally, I didn't call her a hippocrite. I asked her if it was hippocritical to support expansions that directly affect others but rally against the one that affects her. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

I have only lived in Phoenixville for 2 years, but I have been involved quite a bit in the school system, recreation dept, and volunteer activities in the community. If you would like a list of the things I have done for the community I would be happy to discuss it with you outside of the public forum.

Anonymous said...

You wrote a longer reply to me because I criticized you than you did in response to Mrs. Johns explanation to you. She politely asked you to stay on topic and has been more than gracious in her replies.

Those of us who live in town know exactly what she has done and what her reasons are for what she and her neighbors are doing. Many of us long timers feel the same way she does about this library plan. Her reasons are right here on her blog for everyone to read. If you can't understand them, don't attack her, I'm sure she will continue to answer your questions until you do understand.

The one big problem with these blogs is that we know the host and their character but we don't know you or any other anonymous writer.

We respect Mrs. Johns, and I suggest if you want to earn any credibility learn how to keep an open mind.

Anonymous said...

Is it your position that the library should be moved? If so, where?
I am aware that some of you are friends, but I think that it is ok for others to oppose your view. It does seem as though you are taking a "not in my backyard" stance here - it may not be intentional, but that is the way it is coming across.
I personally would be very upset if the library moved. The reason for living in the borough is so we can walk to everything. Aren't we trying to make Phoenixville an area where we can live, work, and play? Taking the library elsewhere would be a huge mistake, in my opinion. We truly have to look at the greater good here, and the library is needed in the borough.
As for real estate values, I simply can not imagine a scenerio where I was to look at a house and say, "I love it, but it's just too close to the public library." People who want to move to the borough want to live close to all the ammenities. Otherwise, they would move across the bridge into the new developments.

Solofloyd said...

anonymous 12:01:00,

You are the one hiding behind the anonymous tag. You can click on my profile to see my blog, email address, etc. Additionally, you aren't adding anything to this discussion except to say that anyone with an oppposing view is being juvenile or overly critical.

One of the reasons I bought my house is that I can walk to downtown, to the park, to the library etc. Yes, I will be very upset if the library is moved out of town. I like to walk or bike everywhere that I possibly can.

For some reason you think that I am attacking Karen's character but I am not. I am only disagreeing with her. She has a right to her opinion and I have a right to mine.

Karen said...

Solofloyd, please excuse the lapse of time between your post and my response. The "real world" demands my attention and I can often only afford small amounts of time to work on this blog. I hope you understand.

Certainly anyone can circulate a petition to save the library, but, logically, the discussion centers on the library's concept plan and whether the negative impact of the expansion on the neighborhood serves the common good.

As with other developments, dialogue (give and take) between affected parties usually results in certain parameters which would then be adhered to by the developer. As this is early in the process that exchange has not yet taken place, and no other alternatives have been made by the library.

I don't believe I am hypocritical, Solofloyd, and if I sound that way, it is not intentional. Sometimes conveying the feelings and intent behind the written word is harder for a reader to discern than the spoken word.

As I stated before, I have worked for many, many years for the good of this borough. I have lived here all my life, and my grandchildren are 6th or 7th generation residents.

My only motivations for my involvement in the community is to make our home town a little bit better, improve the quality of life, and leave this world with the knowledge that I have done what I could FOR the community, not to it.

Karen said...

Anonymous 12:31, no, moving the library is only one suggestion, and the suggestion was made in tandem with a shared usage idea.

I probably will start another much needed thread to examine alternatives to the current concept plan for the library.

It is perfectly within reason, Anonymous, for opposing points of view on this subject, and I have published every post that has been submitted. Open dialogue is a mission statement for this blog.

This is not a NIMBY. The library is already in existence and we have lived with the convenience and with the problems for a long time. The concept plan, as I stated before, is fraught with additional problems that should be considered before it goes any further into the process. We, as neighbors, have not had those concerns addressed at all, and in fact, just learned last week that one neighbor may possibly stand to lose some of her property. We are left wondering if there are any other black surprises in store for us.

All I am asking for is for the library to examine alternatives to the current plan.

Solofloyd said...


I love your passion for the community and I don't want you misunderstand my postings as mean-spirited. I also don't expect you to respond any faster than you have already.

I agree with you that it is easy to misinterpret someones tone when reading the written word. I never meant to sound confrontational or angry but it may have come across that way. I hope there is some way that the library plan can be ammended to satisfy everyones best interest.

The only reason I made hypocrisy comment is that I wonder how you would feel about the library expansion if it was in my backyard instead of yours? Many of my neighbors were against the hospital expansion yet you were for it. We lost an entire block in our neighborhood. See the similarity?

I suspect that we agree on many more things than we disagree. Your blog seems to be the only place to post opinions about this library issue. Hopefully there will be some give and take on both sides and in the end everyone will be happy.

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts: first, if the library would move to another location, the obvious one being the former mill site, it would still be within walking distance of most borough residents.
Second, is there any reason another group can't be formed to come up with alternative plans? Does the library's real estate committee have a monopoly on this? Maybe even get the community involved in the whole process? Seems to me if the public were to be engaged from the start, gave input, even get some ideas from children, have a competition, make it a green venture, etc. it would be a more cooperative and educational process, and as such,a lot of problems could be solved before a plan was actually drawn up

Karen said...

Thank you, Solofloyd.

I respect your oposing opinion, and I do understand the points you have made. I take no umbrage from any of your remarks. I happen to believe constructive criticism is not only good for the soul but can also change old habits and expand perspectives.

If the library expansion occured in your backyard, a residential neigbhorhood, I believe I would have the same reaction. There are many differences between the hospital project and this one, too many to detail here, but on the surface, there is a similarity.

At the VERY least when you come home you can park in front of your homes because parking was provided for by the hospital. We have a densely populated area here, and the expansion doesn't aleviate the problem, it will only make it worse.

I suspect, too, that our disagreement is issue based, Solofloyd, and I actually hope to meet you and have a conversation in person some time soon! It is apparent to me that your writings are based in sincere concerns for our community.

And, like you, I hope at the end of this process is a plan with which we can all live with and be proud of.

Thanks, again, Solofloyd, for your comments.

Karen said...

Great ideas, Anonymous 1:35!

I am going to repost this to the new thread, "Alternatives..."

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is a very very small point, but if I may address it, the library was funded by Andrew Carnegie (Steel Magnate), not Dale Carnegie(of How to Win Friends and Influence People fame) Not a big issue, but something that maybe should be clarified.

Karen said...

Thanks, Anonymous! Good point!

I actually was aware of that bit of distinctive information but I remember as I was typing the article the thought crossed my mind of how I possibly WOULDN'T win friends and influence people on this issue!

My mind did that transfer without cognizant thought!

I will correct the name now.

Thanks, again!

Karen said...

Also of note, an interesting tidbit, Dale and Andrew Carnegie were distant cousins but did not know each other.

Anonymous said...

Karen, Have you seen the reader poll at I would love to know who wrote the question and the three choices. Mary Anne

Karen said...

Mary Anne, no, I have not, but I will check it now.