Street work: tan­gi­ble progress

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

Pottstown owns 60 miles of streets. (Pen­nDOT owns an­other 10 miles of streets like High, Manatawny, and Char­lotte streets.) Ideally, streets should be repaved ev­ery 12 years — about five miles a year. But un­til re­cently, we were only resur­fac­ing an av­er­age of 1.5 miles per year. When our streets are full of ruts and pot­holes, it af­fects ev­ery­one and presents a neg­a­tive image of our town.

This year, the bor­ough is in the process of repaving eight miles of streets. Some streets are be­ing repaved after wa­ter and sewer lines are re­placed. Oth­ers are be­ing paved sim­ply be­cause they are in bad shape.

As the map be­low shows, streets are be­ing repaved in all ar­eas of the bor­ough.

Spend­ing money on streets is more ben­e­fi­cial than bor­ough ser­vices that only ben­e­fit a se­lect few — es­pe­cially out-of-town­ers.

For ex­am­ple, Pottstown’s Me­mo­rial Park con­tains ball­fields, open space, a BMX tril­ogy park, a bark park, spray park, pav­il­ion, walk­ing trail, and plenty of free park­ing.

The park is heav­ily used by peo­ple who live through­out the re­gion. But it is main­tained solely with Pottstown tax­payer dol­lars.

With a de­clin­ing tax base — which has reached lows not seen in the last 20 years — Pottstown needs to con­cen­trate its ef­forts on things that af­fect the most Pottstown res­i­dents and do the most to im­prove the town’s ap­pear­ance.

Per­haps more of our park ar­eas should be al­lowed to re­vert to na­ture, with woods, mead­ows, and wet­lands that are beau­ti­ful, pro­vide pas­sive en­joy­ment, and cost less to main­tain than mow­ing huge ex­panses of grass.

More na­ture in our parks and fewer pot­holed streets — with five miles repaved an­nu­ally — would be a good com­bi­na­tion.

EIGHT MILES of streets will be re­paired and repaved in Pottstown this year, a solid in­vest­ment in Pottstown’s liv­abil­ity and qual­ity of life.

Com­men­tary by Thomas Hyl­ton

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