Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Richard M. Kirkner - Brad Peck - Open letters on the Phoenixville Library expansion project

OPEN LETTER from Richard M. Kirkner

Phoenixville Area Board of School Directors
c/o Administration Building
1120 South Gay St.
Phoenixville, PA 19460

Library Board
Mr. John Kelley
Executive Director
Phoenixville Public Library
183 Second Avenue
Phoenixville, PA 19460

Dear School Directors, Library Board members and Mr. Kelley:

This is an open letter regarding the current plans for building an addition onto the Phoenixville Public Library. I offer these observations as a homeowner and voter in the Phoenixville Area School District, but getting answers will factor into my decision-making as the North Ward representative on Phoenixville Borough Council.

Now is the time for the School Board to step in and the Library Board to step up and fix the public relations misstep that is the request to close a significant portion of Second Avenue to accommodate an addition to the existing Phoenixville Public Library building. The School Board must demand a full public vetting of options for library expansion; the latter must execute and deliver them.

The result should be a well-thought out plan that unifies, rather than divides, this community, that creates a win-win proposition for the Library and the surrounding neighborhood. Otherwise, the potential for costly legal challenges and construction delays looms large.

As you know, Phoenixville Borough Council is considering a committee recommendation to close Second Avenue at Main Street to accommodate the library addition.

In 2007, I voted with my Borough Council colleagues to give the Library Board a green light to explore a concept for closing Second Avenue and building a Library addition onto the street. Though skeptical at the time, I gave the library representatives the benefit of the doubt so they could sound out the public. I was mostly interested in those whom would be most directly affected: the residents of the 100 and 200 blocks of Second Avenue, those in parallel blocks of Washington, First and Third Avenues, and Barkley and Holy Family Schools.

The results are in, the neighborhood resistance to the concept is heavy, and yet the Library representatives persist in advancing this contentious notion. They’ve held in-home teas with supporters, so I’m told (I was never invited to one—not that I would have gone anyway; that would have been a conflict with my duties as a Borough Councilman). Were these teas to sound out potential opposition and legitimate concerns about closing the street? Or were they sessions to drum up support in the face of strong opposition? Now the debate has been couched in terms that if you’re not for closing Second Avenue you’re not for the library. This has engendered a civil war of sorts in Phoenixville, pitting neighbor against neighbor.

I will spare you the rigors of my views on the sanctity of our residential neighborhoods (my Council colleagues will not be so fortunate). My questions to you surround the nature of the process that have brought us to this divide. Did this concept arise from an autocratic or a democratic approach? Where and when were the focus groups for soliciting public ideas on expanding Library services? Where was the mail survey? Where is the Library’s strategic plan? Who was on the strategic planning committee? At Borough Council’s March 25, 2009, Community Development Committee meeting, many residents stepped forward to offer excellent alternatives to the lone idea the Library Foundation has put forth. Did the Library Board even give the public a similar forum before settling on the current plans for the addition?

Now this ill-conceived concept is being passed onto Borough Council. As a Borough Council representative, I must admit a sense of resentment about being put in this position, especially if this is the result of an autocratic process.

I will leave discussion of the merits for Library expansion to others better qualified. However, if the expansion is as necessary as Library representatives have said, why pursue an idea that divides rather than unites? Why pursue a win-lose proposition rather than a win-win proposition? The manner in which this proposal has morphed appears to be strategically counterintuitive to building broad public support for a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign—especially in a small, tight-knit community such as Phoenixville.

For an example on how to work with, not against, neighbors to put forth a win-win project, look no further than the current expansion under way at Phoenixville Hospital. The process has not always been smooth, but the hospital principals have responded to neighbors’ concerns. They’ve been sensitive to the impact of the construction. They understand the value of being good neighbors. Sorry, but I must question if the Library and School boards get that in this case.

The existing proposal is problematic on so many levels. On one legal level, the zoning issues could yet derail the plan. The existing proposal would need variances for yard setbacks (the distance a building must be offset from the property line), parking, perhaps impervious surface coverage, and accessory use of a bookstore and cafĂ©. Zoning variances pivot on hardship, but case law is replete with examples of variances being denied, and the denials upheld on appeal, in cases where the property owners contrived the hardship. One cannot create one’s own zoning problems and then seek relief from them.

This doesn’t even get into the legal murk surrounding the Borough’s stewardship of Reeves’ Park. The restricted deed is rather explicit: no building on Reeves’ Park.

When a municipality vacates a right of way or dedicated street, the neighboring property owners split the vacation. Having recently been through this process myself with the vacation of paper streets through and around Friendship Field, I can tell you that my neighbor did not get my half nor did I get his. If the right of way vanishes, the property line falls to the pre-existing line.

These two legal issues alone portend years of litigation, delay, costs and, in the end, perhaps no Library addition after all. The animus the proposal has engendered all but guarantees that.

So this course of events that have raised the following questions in my mind. Having answers by the Borough Council meeting on Tuesday, April 14, would help in my decision making.

They are:

What was the structure of the strategic planning process, either by the Library Board or School District, that brought the Second Avenue addition to the fore?

What were the vehicles through which public input was garnered? If public meetings were held, when were they held? How many? Did the Library engage in any public surveying?

What were the starting and ending dates of the strategic planning process?

Where is that strategic plan today?

Where did the goal of adding Library services without hiring additional staff come from?

What are the cost analyses of the Second Avenue addition versus purchasing the parcel directly to the north of the Library?

What are the cost analyses of the Second Avenue addition versus opening a satellite branch?

Do the Library’s estimates for the Second Avenue addition factor in costs for moving and modifying utilities?

Do those estimates include potential impact fees for traffic, neighbor inconvenience and surrendering of the right of way?

Has the Library pursued discussions with neighboring libraries in Malvern, Spring City or Tredyffrin Township, or Chester County or Montgomery County library systems about jointly operating satellites in outlying areas?

Indeed, has the Library even explored potential satellite locations?

Regardless of Borough Council’s action, advancing this plan amounts to a strategic miscalculation that could end up costing the residents and taxpayers of the Phoenixville Area School District more in the long run. Engendering divisiveness by pushing a win-lose proposition is a recipe for failure.

Last November voters in this country voted convincingly, and in the Borough of Phoenixville overwhelmingly, to choose unity over division. Five months later, a concept to close a street that has been open since the borough was founded in 1849—53 years before the Library was built—is dividing us.

Unite the town. Don’t continue to embrace a concept to close a public street and dramatically impact the makeup of a vital urban residential community. Keep the neighborhood surrounding the Library vital and get your future plans for the Library back on the right track—one the entire community, including Library neighbors, can rally around. Otherwise, the hard feelings this concept has engendered foretell delay and eventual scuttling of efforts to better serve Library patrons.

Respectfully yours,

Richard Mark Kirkner

Cc: Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman, Rep. Paul R. Drucker, Ms. M. Clare Zales, Gov. Ed Rendell, Mr. John C. Venditta, Phoenixville Mayor Leo Scoda, Phoenixville Borough Council, Chester County Commissioners


OPEN LETTER from Bradford Peck

TO: The Mayor and The Borough Council of Phoenixville

Reference: Proposed Library Expansion

Subject: Borough Council: Please Stand Up for the Rights of Reeves Park

I have read and heard about various concerns about the proposed library expansion. They seem to center on:

A pressing need of the library to expand (requesting to triple the floor space)

Concern to preserve the historical nature of the Carnegie building.

Various concerns of the local homeowners, particularly those who own homes on Second Avenue.

Vehicular traffic concerns with the closing of Second Avenue.

I believe all of the above are legitimate concerns; but I believe a concern that has not been addressed much, if at all, is protecting the interests of Reeves Park including the rights of our Borough, who owns this park for the “adornment” of Phoenixville, and the inhabitants of Phoenixville and citizens of Pennsylvania who have been granted the rights to use this park for their “recreation and enjoyment” and the use of the surrounding streets.

Reeves Park was created by three generous gifts of Phoenix Iron Company directed by their principle owners, the Reeves family as follows:

1. The streets that surround Reeves Park including Main Street and Second Avenue on land owned by Phoenix Iron Company who conceived and gave these streets to the Borough as confirmed by the Phoenix Iron Company map containing 258 acres and 148 perches made January 1872.

2. The Original Reeves Park of 3.237 acres bounded by Main and B Streets and Second and Third Avenues deeded to Phoenixville Borough in your name over 135 years ago on 31 December 1874.

3. The addition to Reeves Park of 3.37 acres bounded by the original park, Second and Third Avenues and Starr Street, deeded to the Borough in your name on 15 April 1924

The history of the Park started with the death of the much revered David Reeves, President of the Phoenix Iron Company on March 16, 1871. Soon after the employees of the company made a collection to build a monument to his memory “as an enduring proof of their love and veneration for him.” David’s son, the new President of Phoenix Iron, Samuel J Reeves, was asked to donate a park to place this statue. And the present site of the original Reeves Park was selected bounded by 2nd and 3rd Avenues, and Main and B Streets. The statue of David Reeves was placed there on Tuesday, January 9, 1872 This statue faces north toward the site of the Phoenix Iron Company works, and contains the inscription: “IN MEMORY OF DAVID REEVES, PRESIDENT OF THE PHOENIX IRON COMPANY, DIED MARCH 16TH 1874, AGED SEVENTY-EIGHT YEARS. ERECTED BY THE EMPLOYEES OF THE PHOENIX IRON COMPANY, AS A MARK OF THEIR RESPECT.” and on April 19, 1872 the first tree was planted by Richard Devaney and John O. K. Robarts.

The gift of this park to the Borough was confirmed on 31 December 1874 when the deed for this 3.237 acre park was delivered into the hands of the Levi B Kaler, Burgess of Phoenixville. This property is deeded in your name: “to The Burgess & Town Council of the Borough of Phoenixville”.

This deed placed on you, the mayor and Borough council, the following conditions:

“Upon Condition that the said piece parcel or lot of land hereby granted shall be maintained and used only as a public square or Park to be forever protected from unlawful invasions or trespasses by cattle or otherwise clear of all buildings of any sort or kind and properly laid out and kept in repair for the ornamentation of the Borough of Phoenixville and for the recreation and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the said Borough and all other citizens of this Commonwealth subject only to such regulations for the maintenance of good order as the authorities of the said Borough may provide; and upon the further condition that the statue of the late David Reeves erected and being upon said premises shall receive all needful care and protection and be forever maintained therein.”

Therefore I ask, as you consider and deliberate all the viewpoints and issues of the request to expand the library building across the two side walks and street comprising Second Avenue, that you also adhere to the conditions placed on you by the grantor of this park in their deed dated 31 December 1874 (conditions repeated almost word for word in their second deed for the park addition extending it to Star Street in 1924).

Please consider that the same grantor of the park land also owned nearly all of the lands in the vicinity of the park at the time of the park gift in the area bounded by Washington Street and Nutts Road between Main and Starr streets. Phoenix Iron Company had created the layout of the streets and subdivision of lots in their map of January, 1872. In other words the Phoenix Iron Company also gave the Borough the streets surrounding Reeves Park.

I encourage you to consider each portion of the conditions:

Condition A: “that the said piece parcel or lot of land hereby granted shall be maintained and used only as a public square or Park . . . “

I don’t believe there can be any question that The Phoenix Iron Company envisioned that the park would remain bounded by four streets. Some definitions for “Public Square” are:

1. “an open area at the meeting of two or more streets”

2. “An open space or area (approximately quadralateral and rectangular) in a town or city enclosed by buildings or dweling houses, especially of a superior or residential kind, frequently containing a garden or laid out with trees, etc; more generally, any open space resembling this, especially one formed at the meeting or intersection of two or more streets.”

Park is defined as “a bounded area of land, usually in its natural or semi-natural (landscaped) state and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment.” Note the word “bounded”. In the case of Reeves Park, it is bounded in the two deeds by the four streets mentioned – 30 feet from the centerline. The land of Reeves Park is defined as being on the east side of Main Street between Second and Third Avenues, 30 feet from the center line of the streets.

I believe that the grantor intended that the corners of the park would remain open and bounded by intersecting streets which were also granted by the same grantor. I believe that the proposed loss of one street corner certainly reduces the rectangular nature of the appearance of the park and some loss of definition as a “public square or Park”.

And if the street is no longer there - there is no centerline to measure from – only some point in the basement of the proposed library building.

In fact these streets were all once owned by the Phoenix Iron Company which included the land where the library was built.

Therefore I believe council is obligated to defend against any attempt to remove a portion of a bordering street.

Condition B: ” . . . .to be forever protected from unlawful invasions or trespasses by cattle or otherwise clear of all buildings of any sort or kind and properly laid out and kept in repair for the ornamentation of the Borough of Phoenixville and for the recreation and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the said Borough and all other citizens of this Commonwealth . . .”

B1: “forever” means just that; forever, not just until the year 2009.

B2: “clear of all buildings of any sort or kind and properly laid out”. I think that putting a building less than an inch away from the park does not fit with this statement both from being kept “clear of all buildings” and that the park should be “properly laid out.”

And even if the borough gives your neighbor the street between you, wouldn’t you deserve a reasonable setback between you? What happened to the common decency of setbacks for neighbors? What if you owned the park? Would you agree that your neighbor can build a multi story structure less than an inch from your property line?

B3: “ornamentation” means “to be adorned”. I submit that the elimination of street, the two sidewalks and the grasslands bordering the sidewalks detracts from the appearance, attractiveness, ambiance, visual effect, etc. of the park. Even though the library will not be built on the parkland per se, it certainly looks like an “invasion” of one of the 4 corners of the park.

We have been given concept views of the proposed building from the Main St. and Second Ave sides. What we don’t have are concept views of the back of the building as viewed from the park and looking west from Second Avenue.

B4: “recreation and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the said Borough and all other citizens of this Commonwealth . . .”

Don’t we need to provide complete access as the deeds state “for the recreation and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the said Borough and all other citizens of this Commonwealth”? You should insist on keeping the circling streets open. By closing Second Avenue at one corner of the park, we impinge on the ability for our enjoyment and recreation. If the attractiveness of the park is damaged then our enjoyment is reduced. Also recreation requires access to the park which is limited by the library expansion. Both in the loss of about 14 parking spaces alongside the park on Second Avenue and vehicular access to the north side of the park (there will be a net increase of about 6 spaces on Main Street by changing to slant parking – but 4 of these net additional spaces could be accomplished without closing Second Avenue).

This is not about closing Second Avenue. Closing implies stopping traffic from access. This is really about abolishing Second Avenue AND both sidewalks from Main Street to Park Alley.

From the concept drawings it appears that little or no thought has been given to pedestrian and handicapped access except the seventeen-step outside staircase pictured on the south side of the new library building in the master plan design concept.

Note the stairway around the Jaycees clock that now accesses the park will be eliminated so the only pedestrian access at the northwest corner will be these seventeen steps. Not very helpful for the enjoyment and recreation of all the mothers I see walking around the park with their strollers and baby carriages and for handicapped persons. Also pity all those who have used Second Avenue as their walkway to work, doctor’s office, etc. The only way I see to walk from Second Avenue to Main Street is through the park using its various stairways. And will these pathways through the park be as well maintained as the sidewalks - particularly during winter weather?

Legal Questions – I am not a lawyer, but has council obtained a legal review of this proposed action? Some questions I think need to be asked in addition to what has been discussed above are:

1. Per “The Phoenix”, 12 July 2008, George Martynick said: “If the Borough vacates [Second Avenue], half of it would go to [adjoining property owners] the Library and half to the Park."

How then, can the Phoenixville School District obtain the half of the street which would revert to Reeves Park. Also since this 15 foot strip of land between Main and Park is now part of the park, then I would assume the “clear of all buildings” clause of the Park deed would apply to the south half of Second Avenue.

2. How will the street and sidewalk property be deeded? Will it be deeded to the school district? If so, can the school district later sell this property to a third party? Can the school district be forced to grant the property back to the Borough?

3. What protection does the Borough have if the school district decides later to sell this property? Will the school district agree to pay to tear the building down to give the borough back our street and sidewalks?

4. Unlike the deeds for the park, there are no special conditions for the library property which was granted to Armory Coffin by The Phoenix Iron Company on 28 October 1889 and deeded by Armory Coffin to The Phoenixville School District on 30 April 1901.

And finally:

The present building lot for the library contains 15,000 square feet of land per the deed. Isn’t this sufficient space to build a multistory library containing 34,000 – 39,000 square feet of usable floor space which was stated as the need?

Is the problem as reported by The Phoenix” 13 July 2007 that “the first principle that that building design ’will preserve protect and defend the beauty, history and dignity’ of the original Carnegie building, the only Carnegie library in Chester County.” ?

It was noted by Adam Deveney, a representative of the Library Board's Real Estate Development Committee “that less than half of the original 1700 Carnegie library buildings remain.” Is part of our problem that we are trying to save an outdated building because of historical concerns?

The Borough web site states regarding The Phoenix Iron Company: “For nearly 200 years this company was an economic and geographic pivot on which the town grew and prospered.” I submit that the history of Reeves Park trumps the Carnegie building by over a quarter of a century. And I believe that Phoenixville owes even more respect to The Phoenix Iron Company and the Reeves family than even to Andrew Carnegie.

I ask council to live up to the spirit of the conditions placed on you in receiving this most generous gift of a city block of almost 7 acres of prime real estate for the adornment of Phoenixville and the recreation and enjoyment of all Pennsylvanians. I do not believe giving away a portion of the bordering street, sidewalk and all setbacks lives up to our obligations to the donors, or Phoenixville.


Bradford Peck

Cc: The Phoenix
E Jean Krack


Ed Naratil said...

Yes, let's keep it off Second Avenue and Reeves Park. Time for the Library to look at other options.

I see Mr. Kirkner's letter was published by the Phoenix today. I hope to see Mr. Peck's letter in tomorrow's edition.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I'm a young parent in town and have seen the plans and I support the idea of the expansion. I use that library on a daily basis with my children and enjoy leaving with a book in hand and taking the children to the park. A satellite campus would only divide the libraries effort to be a place that the whole family can go to at once. I live a block away and think its the right decision and am hopeful this moves forward. I understand all the points of view but I don't believe there is a majority against it.

Karen said...

I believe your comments, Anonymous 12:28 p.m., just illuminated and confirmed a major point in Mr. Kirkner's letter.

This proposal by the library and the school boards is POLARIZING the community.

The current plan was given initially to the neighbors, then to the public, as a fiat acompli.

We had no hand in this plan which, among other things, increases the dangers due to increased traffic flow on Third Avenue to the children who use any of the THREE PLAYGROUNDS, or attend the two schools on the Avenue. There are many other issues well documented on this blog and elsewhere.

Although early on the library board representatives actually did listen to the concerns of the neighbors, not one public effort was made to address the suggestions of changing the location of the expansion.

Our concerns were dismissed.

The neighborhoods surrounding the library are OUR neighborhoods, your's also.

Public safety and neighborhood impact MUST supercede an institution's demand for approval on an obviously critically flawed plan.

While we may disagree on the proposed plan, because the library HAS OUTGROWN the original site, I'm certain we all want what is best for everyone involved.

Every neighbor I've spoken to is in favor, as we are, to expanding the library, but most agree, not in the proposed manner.

This particular plan is not the best we can do for Phoenixville.

doug said...

" Many of the opponents of the plan bring up suggestions of a "satelite branch". If this would be the avenue that is pursued, it would seem that the cost would be much more than just an expansion on the current site. Many of the same proponents of this "satelite" idea raise the issue of increased school taxes. I don't understand the thinking associated with these two trains of thought. They propose an idea (satelite location) that would cost more than an addition, but at the same time are worried about a tax increase? If an expansion of some sort is necessary (and it is), wouldn't they want the most cost effective solution (not to mention the most logical). I have lived in the Phoenixville borough my whole life, grew up going to the library, and now enjoy taking my child to it. The whole reason for buying a house and staying around the main drag of the borough was to be within walking distance to all that Phoenixville has to offer (bridge street, library, hospital, park). To move the library,or one section of the library, to a "satelite location" would be a huge disappointment to me. I believe that council has the duty to represent the majority of the borough and as far as I am aware, the majority of Phoenixville residents would love to see the library expand across Second Avenue (thus tying into Reeves Park). There will always be some opposition from someone when it comes to a change (be it major or minor), but in a situation like this, I believe what is better for the greater good needs to be done."

Karen said...

Who, Doug, will sit as final arbiter, judge and jury on this plan?

Right now, the discussion is in the public realm, soon to be addressed by Phoenixville Borough Council.

As the final arbiter, Council will have many issues with this proposal; safety, preservation of neighborhoods, emergency response, legalities, zoning, traffic, parking, neighborhood impact, and on and on.

One can only hope Council uses facts, and logic regarding all the concerns of the public when the vote is taken.

Isn't the possibility of one traffic related injury, or God forbid, a accidental death near a Third Avenue playground or school enough to challenge and change this proposal?

The school board and the library board are segments of a collective of institutions dealing higher learning, dealing with children as well as adults.

Where is their conscience in this project on the matter of concern for the public safety?

Public safety MUST rise above a development plan. Period.

You are right in that the greater good must be served.

It will be served when the current proposal is rejected.

Anonymous said...

No one has yet demonstrated that a satellite would cost more than an expansion across the street. It has only been stated over and over again by the School District people, until now it seems to be accepted as fact. It's an old ploy, repetition creates belief. A satellite could be placed in an existing building. 6.5 million dollars is the current price tag for the Avenue Blocker. That will almost certainly increase as costs are added, such as infrastructure and the cost of the street (I do believe they think that they will get it for free)That can buy a lot of square footage and renovations, maybe in another part of town that might like a branch.

Solofloyd said...

I agree with the other parents that have posted comments. My family walks to the library weekly and that is one of the main reasons we bought a house in the borough. It would be very disappointing to have to drive to satellite location.


We understand that you are against the plan, but the things you post about safety are nothing but exaggerated claims with no purpose other than to try and scare people into agreeing with you. If I need to cut across from Nutt to Starr I already use 3rd Ave. I'm sure others do as well. Your concerns can be alleviated with speed humps, crosswalks, etc.

Anonymous said...

I want to see some hard numbers that it's cheaper to expand than to "add staff at a satellite site -- especially if the Library is going to assume the costs for re-routing all the utilties under 2nd Avenue.

In no way do I want my tax dollars, which are already strained to the max, used to fund moving the utilities.

There is a huge need for a children's library branch on the North Side. Many of these children do not have transportation and are too young to walk that far and through that much traffic to the current site.

doug said...

Karen, I understand your point about safety being a concern, but hasn't a child already been killed by an automobile on 2nd Ave. If the street was closed off then, that accident would most likely have been avoided. In response to the Anon blogger, I believe they have conducted studies that show over time the expense would be more to have a satelite branch (with all that is included in obtaining and running a 2nd location) than adding the proposed addition. Just think about the cost to purchase a building, pay utilities, taxes, staff that come with having a second location. Over time, I'm sure that will become more cost prohibitive than the current plan.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the studies that "they" did. My bet is that there is none, just as there was none when they said the library was primarily a "walk-to" and that hordes of patrons walk to the park with their books. The study that was actually done proved both these assertions to be patently false. That reason for expansion was dropped after a study was actually done, but it had already served the purpose of romanticizing the usage of the library, and getting the votes to forward it. I am sure that many persons approving of the plan actually still believe those statements, they were repeated so much. I do not believe anything that they present as fact. I want to see the studies and the documentation of everything that they present. They have mischaracterized and misrepresented every aspect of this plan so far. They should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

The School District curretly owns about as much land around the original structure as they would get by taking the street. They could build a substantial addition on that, they already own the property. They refuse to even entertain that idea, or any other one for that matter. They brush off people who raise legitimate concerns.

Anonymous said...

A study isn't even needed to show that it would cost more to have a satelite location. All it takes is a little common sense. Price to purchase a building the size of the planned expansion + price to remodel the purchased property to function as a library (layout, electric wiring, elevator installation, etc.) + added staff expense (salary + benefits) + additional property taxes + additional utilities VS. addition to current building, no added staff, minimal added utilities, and the benefit of having all library books in ONE location. The choice seems clear to me.

andy said...

Downington will be reusing a building for their combination library/senior center at the projected cost of 3.5 million. It will be 20,000 square feet. If the Library Foundation is going to be raising 6.5 million, they could do a similar or bigger reuse project and endow it with their remaining funds.

Unfortunately, they didn't do their homework on options before coming up with this rather bad idea. It destroys the old structure that they are claiming to want to save. It destroys a street that is as old as the town, and destroys the integrity of the town's park.

Where is the logic in that?

I think they are going to start to alienate a lot of people who might otherwise contribute, like me.

Anonymous said...

Common Sense and Phoenixville just don't compute?

Never has, will it ever?

Why is that?

Solofloyd said...


can you explain how the expansion would 'destroy the integrity of the town's park'?

i see it as a positive for Reeves Park.

andy said...

Just read Brad Peck's letter.

Anonymous said...

Have they addressed ADA issues yet? How can they completely block off easy access to Main Street from Second Avenue if the entire road and sidewalk are covered with a building? How are people with mobility problems going to get to the intersection? Is it legal to do this?

Anonymous said...

Wow, the people against the library expansion will pull anything out of a hat to fight this needed growth. So far we've covered, "the children and safety (except who cares about the kids on 2nd ave), the Reeves family (OK?), and now the handicapped. Come on folks, there's still some more groups that need to thrown into the mix. What about the joggers? No one mentioned the joggers and how are they gonna run around the park now. This could potentially throw off their running pattern completely.

One definite positive of any library expansion would be, since they have to relocate the clock, then maybe someone would actually keep up with the seasonal time changes. Come on, can't anyone change the clock to the current time in a "timely" manner?

Solofloyd said...


i read the letter but i still don't agree that the library expansion will do anything to harm the park. it will in effect make the park bigger.

Anonymous said...

But Solo, what about the children? What about the poor children on the other blocks? Who cares about the kids on 2nd Ave. Just as long as we get our way........ I mean, just as long as we protect the children.

Anonymous said...

I think the plan will cause problems for children on both streets. Third Avenue traffic will be taking more through traffic because of the blockage of the street.

The library is a destination point. There will be a lot more traffic headed there and of course they all will need parking spaces. The part of Second Ave behind the expansion will not be closed off making it safer. It won't be a cul-de-sac, which is safer for children. It is a different type of configuration. Lots more people will be heading there, because the library will have lots more programs. Second Avenue will become a parking lot for the library. Knowing how people act around parking their cars in limited space (think a packed mall lot at Christmas time but on a smaller scale)and with time constraints to get to a program, etc., I would say Second Avenue will also become a more dangerous street for children. I don't think the library plan as it now stands will even maintain the current odds for safe passage on both Second and Third Avenues.

Anonymous said...

Anony 10:24 - Every point you mention is prefaced with "I think" ...... "I think". Thats the whole problem with the arguments against the library expansion is that they are never based on facts. Just opinions that have not been contemplated passed their original phase of thought. There were more than enough meetings regarding the library expansion and those meetings were sparsely attended. These were the more critical meetings in the process of discovery. Where was everyone during those meetings? Where was all the outrage? Where were all the ideas? Where was the concern for the neighboring children then?

Anonymous said...

There was no process of discovery. The people who attended those meetings were raising the same concerns from the start, and the concerns were brushed off, or not addressed at all. NO answers to the myriad of questions. Just deflection and wishful thinking to keep the proposal moving through the various approval groups. Now it's turned into this. It is not surprising that they have to have teas and meetings to sell it. It is a garbage idea.

Anonymous said...

At least that person has the knowledge to distinguish between their own opinion and wishful thinking. The library planners have presented their wishful thinking as fact. They have presented fabricated statements as fact. I would much prefer someone stating their opinion with "I think" than stating their opinion as fact.