Friday, August 15, 2008

Barry Cassidy - Looking at a new 5 years



Looking at a new 5 years

Well, looks like I will finish out my career in Phoenixville, and when people judge my body of work, they will look to Phoenixville as my main project. I think I have done a good job here, but I know that I have had my detractors. I accept their criticisms and will try to do better in the future.

I have led somewhat of a charmed life; if something bad happens to me, it opens up the door for something good to happen to me. I don't know why that is, but has been that way my whole life. My life has turned out just as I wanted it to, I am living my dream and I am doing it here right in front of y'all.

It is hard to hide from issues. I try to initiate change and projects and submit myself to all the pain and scorn that goes along with it when such actions are proposed. I am a big boy, though, and I understand it goes with the territory. In Lock Haven, the merchants gave me a T-shirt with a target on the back too many people with rifles up there for me to ever wear it.

I just try to be fair, treat everyone equally and try to not make life one long emergency. That is why I asked that my status be determined early to avoid emergency at the end of the year whereby after 5 years of service I was given 2 weeks notice and not have a job. I believe I did a good job for you here and hoped I would be treated fairly. I believe I was treated fairly and thank the council for their decision.

I am actually moving into uncharted territory in duration of employment. I normally move every 3 to 5 years to take on a new challenge. What made Phoenixville so attractive to me is that we really are on the verge of doing some very special things here. The addition of Jean Krack and the continued efforts of Brian Watson on the Borough side was a factor in my decision to seek continued employment in Phoenixville. My Board, led by Robb Frees and Manny Demutis the last 4 years or so, has provided me a work environment, which promotes creative flow. So it is all good here and I am happy to extend my contract.

So what can be expected? Hopefully more of the same! We will continue revitalization in both the commercial and residential sectors of the borough. The long awaited Elm Street projects, streetscapes on both the north and the south side, parking garage, train to Paoli as well as the continued arts and entertainment economic development strategy are all parts of a continued agenda.

We will be working to develop the Steel Property in a manner, which is acceptable to the community. Continued work through the system, to develop a common effort with the borough and the developer, working together, to get the job done in a timely manner will be the key to success.

The train is moving slowly as I negotiate terms with the large corporations in the Great Valley area to fund the study that will be the part of a continuing effort to link them and their workforce with city and western suburbs. I figure I am about 45 days behind schedule doing that, but it is necessary to deal with the project in a manner consistent with the wishes of the funders.

The applications are in for most of the funding for the housing effort. Kurt Kunsch and Tim Daley will head that effort up. That effort will include the north and the south side areas surrounding the downtown. The areas of concentration are those that border the brownfield project near the center of town.

The funding has arrived for the lighting on the High Street streetscape project. That area will be lit up pretty well after the lighting is installed. The police, DA and the CDC are working to deal with landlords who do not meet the standard for safe clean affordable housing. That effort cuts across the board, if you are a slumlord you will hear from us.

Finally the arts and entertainment strategy will reach new levels in the next 5 years as the downtown becomes home to a fun filled entertainment and art filled experience. We will complete the streetscape in the downtown next year. We will pick up where we left off by the Kiwanis Children's Plaza and get to somewhere around Church Street.

We have a new round of murals planned. These are smaller murals and there will be about 20 them placed on the buildings in and around the downtown. That effort should get underway sometime around spring.

We will be opening a free gallery for art sometime late October early November. We seek to have an art opening every week in order to continue to claim our place as the location to be on a Friday night. The art gallery will be open to anyone who wants to show artwork for a small admin fee to cover the utilities and a small % of sales to pay the rent.

I have some other ideas I will be trying as my role in the town becomes a little more focused and as I pull away more from some of the general issues of government which will be handled by the borough manager.

I know some people will always dislike me but I have no control over that and really cannot factor any of that into my thinking. I realize this is a "hang and bang" political town and I am just happy I am still here. Again, I thank everyone for the support and say to my detractors, I will try to work harder to gain your support. Looks like I ended up being the last man standing.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Barry, I am glad you and the CDC received your extension. We know that there are many haters out there and they are usually the loudest (like drunk Eagle fans). But the majority of the community has seen the improvement and give you a good part of the credit (not all). You have done good for the town as a whole and worked hard to make our town a great place to be (that's what WE see).

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU BARRY! Where would
Phoenixville be today had you not ever touched this place?
Good luck moving us forward over the next five years.

Anonymous said...

Good Job Barry!
I love your blog- I laugh my (blank) off. One thought-did you ever notice you describe all of your food with the same word? "It was good." You make a great CDC manager but you lose as a food critic!

Chazzey said...

This boy is not woth $125,000, maybe like $25,000 to $30,00.Friday nights do not make the downtown whole.And where do some of you get that the crime is better now.There still just as much of it that there was, they just hide better.Still selling drugs and selling sex.And now there is more groups of kids that think they are gangs.But that was allways like that, and they allways got away with it( beating up , jumping other kids when they are alone, like 20 againt one.When will that stop? when its too late?Or when one of the newer residents get jump by this group of thugs.Some things never change.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Barry!
My only hope is that you can do something about the plan for HUD to be a part of the downtown!

Anonymous said...

Vague, vague, vague! We're paying $125,000 for this type of project management?

Show us schedule, timelines, project goals and budgets. This essay is so intellectually flabby that just showing up for work would fulfill most of it.

Anonymous said...

Murals = low class.

Anonymous said...

Murals = low class? You obviously have no sense of the arts and development. If you look in any large city they spend huge dollars on murals to increase town moral and visual presence. You of course would know nothing about that. But I bet your one of the low lifes that put out chairs when it snows and I don't see anyone complaining about that. J.O. (get it?)

Anonymous said...

Murals = "Low class" ??
And what was Phoenixville BEFORE the revitalization project?
Low-Low-Low class?

Anonymous said...

J.O. (get it?) One day you will.

PDM said...

Anon 1:58pm,

You seem overly defensive on this mural issue. Surely you allow for differing opinions on artistic projects, no? I happen not to like murals either. A building should be beautiful on its own, not because somebody painted a cute picture on it.

And your evidence that murals are high class simply because big cities spend "huge dollars" on them doesn't make sense. But, I guess that's because I'm not high class enough to understand their artistic or developmental impacts. Lighten up, man.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess you're right. If you say you're not high class enough then that is all that needs to be said. A building should stand alone and be beautiful but just in case you weren't in town a bunch of years ago or you just simply had your eyes closed then you would have noticed that the buildings weren't much to look at. Or maybe you liked them because it made your home look that much better. Or maybe you were part of council at that point that decided it would be OK to tear down some beautiful buildings to make room for more renters. Whatever the reason, then you're right, you have no eye for the arts so just step back and let those who understand make the right decisions for the indiscretions of councils past. Again like I said you are also the same folks that put chairs out on the streets when it snows but I don't see anyone saying how bad or low rent that looks. If the shoe fits....

Anonymous said...

LOL! Must be a full moon since people are arguing over murals. Look folks, some will see them as art and some will see them as graffiti, they're both right.

What really made me laugh is that some of you actually think there's high class and low class in Phoenixville. Are you all drinking tonight? Nobody's any different from anyone else in Phoenixville. There's just those who put on airs and those who don't.

Goofy tonight.