A meeting was held in Malvern two Fridays ago to lay out plans to upgrade Chester County’s five Amtrak station.
At that meeting PennDOT representative Jennifer Granger told the 120 dignitaries, politicians and activist gathered in Chester Valley County Club’s ballroom that while multi-million dollar plans to upgrade the Amtrak stations in Paoli, Exton, Downingtown and Coatesville would move ahead beginning in the Spring of 2015, PennDOT had no plans to upgrade Parkesburg’s station any time soon.
When Ms. Granger asked for a show of hands of who got on the train in Parkesburg, one hand, that of a member of the media, went up.
Not present to hear PennDOT’s plans were Parkesburg’s Mayor, any of the seven members of Parkesburg Borough Council or Parkesburg’s Borough Manager.
To make matters worse, while Pennsylvania’s Lt Governor, a member of the Governor’s cabinet and at least five State Representatives and/or State Senators were in the audience, neither our State Senator nor our Representative were on hand to protest PennDOT’s snubbing of Parkesburg.
Not a single elected or appointed State or Parkesburg official attended the meeting to represent Parkesburg’s interest.
Take a second to take that in.
Now, there might have been a good reason why one or two or even three of our elected officials could not attend this meeting, but to say that out of nine elected or appointed Parkesburg officials and two state representatives, not one official representing Parkesburg felt the need to attend this meeting is not good.
Conversely, think of what an impression it would have made if after Granger made her presentation, all nine of our representatives and our two state delegates would have stood up and vehemently protested PennDOT’s snub. That would have made headlines in every paper and the evening news on television.
But, PennDOT’s snub passed with nary a whimper.
Think of the message Parkesburg’s absence from this gathering and lack of protest sends to PennDOT, Harrisburg and the rest of Chester County. Parkesburg’s train station gets taken off the list of planned and funded train stations and not one official stands up to protest on the behalf of the citizens of Parkesburg.
There is a long-standing practice in politics for taking the path of least resistance. When cutting budgets and taking funding away from projects, politicians always go where it hurts them the least. This is why State officials keep giving Parkesburg the short end of the stick.
Not only does no one say a word when the state hands Parkesburg the short straw, again, but the people of Parkesburg keep electing and reelecting the same ineffective representatives, senators, mayors and council persons over and over and over again.
This is also why the municipalities to the East of Parkesburg always get more attention than us. They are out stumping at political gatherings. They are campaigning for candidates so they can call in chits later when they are needed in their communities.
Our elected officials aren’t taking any of these actions and consequently we see no projects moving forward for our town.
Three years ago we saw these same members of council raise our taxes by 25%. Council members told us it was to pay our portion of the funding for the West Bridge Street bridge project. Three years later, that tax is still being withdrawn and the work on the bridge has not begun and no one on Council is saying when or even if it will be done.
Keep in mind that well over $500,000 has already been spent on engineering for the bridge. To be fair, the bridge has languished in “never, never land” for over twenty years so many people have failed to move it forward, not just ‘this’ council and ‘this’ manager.
So, what is to be done? Clearly, the Mayor, the Borough Manager and the entire Borough Council have to get off the dime and start representing us in the county and in Harrisburg.
If they are not up to the task then by all means step aside and let someone else try.
High taxes are making it impossible to market Parkesburg for housing. Parkesburg’s streets and sidewalks are deplorable and there is no known plan to address either.
Fifty percent of the Borough’s bridges that are blocked and unusable making our town look abandoned.
The train station, which could be the impetus for revitalization is now at least 5-8 years away from even starting to be improved, possibly much longer.
The only thing we can say for sure is our taxes have increased 25%.
Would someone, anyone really, please show us anything we have gotten?