Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The man with the plan

All right already with Lower Providence. I think I'm going to have to give you guys your own blog. Try not to hijack this one, please, because I really want to get some good feedback on my plan. So, without further ado, here it is.
The Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown has a gift shop. In the gift shop there could be brochures for a new performing arts center and the old Montgomery County prison, which could be converted into a haunted house ala Eastern State Penitentiary, because, if it’s a good plan there’s something going on at the prison/haunted house nearly year round and they'll need a brochure. The performing arts center will have a ticket booth and a lobby, both of which could have brochures for the zoo and for the prison/haunted house, and, I think you’re following the plan by now, but just for posterity’s sake I’ll keep going, and the prison/haunted house has a ticket booth that could have brochures for the zoo and the performing arts center. With all three cross promoting each other we’ll have people running all over Norristown in no time.
Now I know this doesn't have anything to do with Lower Providence, but humor me, please.
I wrote a lot more about the plan in my column, which you can find in the Monday, June 29 edition.

33 comments:

Sundowner said...

Dream on Mr. Huskey, that prison would cost a fortune to rehab into a safe environment for human adventure. Take a trip inside of it and you will see for yourself. It has been closed for 23 years and not a red cent has been spent to keep out the weather. It is a total mess, roof leaking, ceilings falling down, rust everywhere. Please go look.

And the biggest problem is all the murder and crime in Norristown after dark. I am sure that you get out of town as fast as you can after the sun goes down. I know I do, and I even carry a gun, don't worry I have a permit from Durante. Do you have any more bright ideas that would actually work?

Anonymous said...

I believe the County's Commissioners should get together with the Tourist Bureau to promote our Town and County. Money for a brochure should be a given. We have plenty to be proud of - look back over the old issues of the TH. What ever is left, because of the updating over the last 30 years, needs to be publicized as the Poconos Area does every chance it gets. A Tour Bus, starting at the Parking Garage or near the Train Station is a must, because driving around town has a lot to be desired right now. So, with all of the above, which would include "you can get here from there by using our trail connection" would be a great come on for youth and young couples interested in the fine dining in this area.

Anonymous said...

The Commissioners could hold their meetings there, no one else would show up, great idea Stan.

One in each cell, you could take off the gloves that's present at each meeting.

The Times Herald does enough promoting of Norristown, so do the drug pushers and thugs.

Anothers MacDonalds would be great.

S.Dale said...

Stan-
These ideas are not bad ones but Norristown really needs someone in charge of cultural development and a marketing plan for the borough. Sorry to bring up LP, but I brought this same issue up several years ago at a township meeting. I stated that we have some history here so why is no one marketing Audubon in a way that would attract tourism and bring businesses that complement that aspect? Same thing with Norristown. There's a good beginning for a cultural arts explosion there( much like what Phoenixville is experiencing), but lack of funds, safety, and someone to implement a borough-wide marketing/redevelopment plan that would bring outsiders in, is nonexistent. The possibilities are there but executing them is a BIG task. Maybe they need someone with some arts administration experience to get things going.

Anonymous said...

Spring cleaning done and now Summer has arrived - The Park and the Zoo are really looking good. I took my grandson to the Zoo today. There were quite a few buses there from the Media, Del. County Area - why then is it that people from our local area do not make this a must see? Promotion is the answer, as this is the only Zoo outside of the Philadelphia Zoo that has everything a child would want to see and also the picnic Areas within the Zoo and also the adjourning park, makes for a great day out.

Anonymous said...

We have "The Arts" in and around Norristown - but we are badly in need of a coordinator. Any suggestions who that person would be? There are buildings that could accommodate all types of entertainment. So, that means a coordinator and publicity, as was the starting point of Phoenix and many Bucks County Community attractions, to get us underway. Have our Commissioners work with our County Seat Towniees - There are a large group that I'm sure would help - but they need to be asked. The word is "Pride" when it comes to choosing this person.

Stan said...

Thanks for keeping this thread going. I think it is crucial for Norristown. To the poster above, there is talk going on right now with the county and the Montgomery County Cultural Center. I have people interested in investing, or more accurately, giving back. We're looking for a new home for the center that would become a destination point for visitors.

Anonymous said...

Stan: When planning the comeback for Norristown and the vicinity make sure you include sight-seeing buses. We enjoyed one in San Diego and Oregon. The area, such as Skippack, Worcester, Evansburg, Schwenksville, Pottstown,Sanatoga, Limerick, Collegeville, Audubon, Norristown, Conshohocken, Lansdale and all towns that I'm not too familiar with or their history would be great. Thinking hats need to be on. Think "Big" and you will be able to plan a lot better when it comes to the correct fit for all.

S. Dale said...

A farmer's market would be a good addition as well. That was the impetus for alot of new visitors to Phoenixville on a Saturday. I had always thought the old Wonder Bread Bldg. would have been the perfect place for an indoor farmer's market ( especially w/close proximity to the train station) but we got a McDonald's instead. Norristown definitely needs a director to approach property owners w/vacancies and find something new and exciting to fill them. Maybe they could work on something w/The Food Trust to find the right farmers/businesses for a farmer's market in that area. I know a few of the farms who sell at Phoenixville also sell at Conshohocken's new market. It's an emerging trend that would be of benefit to the residents of Norristown but also those in surrounding areas.

Anonymous said...

How many people in this area loved the Music Fair in Devon and the Theatre in the Round in New Hope? Good shows, prices were reasonable. We have small theatre groups locally, but a need for a center is a must. Do hope you can keep this interest going, it seems to be hitting a nerve with many people - all ages, would you believe? The Casinos is not the answer. Sunnybrook in Pottstown has the Oldes - bands playing music from the late 1930 - thru 1950, as a way of bring back sensible dancing such as swing and jitterbug - well it was sensible to us. I enjoyed the last one - try it for something new in the area this summer.

Anonymous said...

Pottstown is in a cultural arts revival, so why can't we do something here is Norristown. I am sure that enough folks in the surrounding areas could help with the attendance here. It doesn't have to be supported just by us. We have great places to eat, and a wide variety of ethnic foods. All you need to do is round up some capital, maybe Lenfest would be interested in this location for some of his philanthropy now that the museum out in LP is dead in the water. Good luck and keep up the interest.

Anonymous said...

Norristown can have a revival as Pottstown and Phoenixville. Pottstown has the Community College, Sunnybrook and the Hill School on their side. The Community College and the the Hill going co-ed and changing their ways about the town people sure helped the image of the school and also helped bring programs to the town that was not there . But Sunnybrook must never be forgotten.
Phoenixville had the business people believe in the town and with the Theatre doing its thing for the young and then the restaurants taking it block, by block sure made it a place to go to.
Now, Norristown needs a coordinator, business people and the professions to back them. Instead of taking everything out of town - bring it into town. As Stan said we have parking and good food - now what is missing?? The Arts!

S. Dale said...

Stan- Is there an actual committee meeting regularly to discuss a revitalization plan for Norristown that includes commercial proprty owners and those interested in bringing something worthwhile to Norristown?

Anonymous said...

Revitalization Plan? It would be nice to see this plan for downtown Norristown.
The facade of all buildings should really be considered. The fact is that structure and color are important for any revitalization plan. Try taking a road trip here in PA and look at Stroudsburg and Wellsboro. These are great places that are an example of continued upkeep and a plan which considered the history of the area and balance between both looks and need for visitors and the local taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Stan, County to cut employees!

A good start would be the Budget Committee & Commissioners.

What a savings to the public.

Anonymous said...

Ok, we will cut jobs - but where? Let's start with the Commissioner's staff, then the Parks/recreation - do we really need to keep all these people when one or two that really know what they are doing could, or would be the best we have ever had and the tax money would be placed where it is most needed. Now, where do you think the Commissioners will cut staff? Please don't laugh! Two of them have blinders on - after all they are from a Dem. Family and that means "See no evil, hear no evil speak no eveil" - right!

Anonymous said...

Have you taken a ride on the Duck in Phila. Certainly a covered wagon coming out of Valley Forge and thru our town might generate some interest. How about a cruise down the river and at one point stop for dinner or maybe dinner theatre? I have tried all of these, so get inspired.

Anonymous said...

Revival of Norristown's Downtown District will take a few years but it can be done. Anonymous 7/9 said something about structure and color. This is one thing that is why our town has gone down hill. Exactly what kind of town has the committee had in mind? Right now we have various cultures that really does not compliment the whole of Norristown. Yes, the facades should all be the same and color coordinated. You can not have any art centers if there isn't a common foundation to begin with. My thoughts, but good luck!

Anonymous said...

The hiking/biking trail going into Phila gets another helping hand and also the town of Norristown. The renovation of the cold storage building, which will be used as a comfort station for bikers/hikers, is one step forward for the revitalization of our town. Now, the upkeep and safety, it should never, never get to the stage as the tunnel to the railroad station. This is one project, upkeep and safety, needs to be addressed and sold ahead of time. Which biking organization will assume the responsibility? After all it is there for their enjoyment. I have not seen any type of fee for bikers/hikers that use the trails. Now, there is another thought - why not have food drives three times a year at each parking location that connects the trails? You know, have helping the have nots!

Anonymous said...

Maintenance of the Trail when considering the long range plan for Norristown and surrounding areas.
The practice of using "Weekenders" from Eagleville should be incorporated into the trail maintenance throughout Montgomery County. Housing should be camping style, under the stars. Don't ask if they would like to participate, Tell these young/old misguided individuals this is the way it is, you asked for it when breaking the law - it is embarrasing, but maybe the prison will not be over crowded on weekends at least. This may bring law and order to our area.

Anonymous said...

The Farmers Market is here - a great step. Now who is on the committee for the long range plan? Please make sure they really get together and make Norristown something to talk about, not talked about.

Anonymous said...

Stan, It seems that we take one step forward and then it is two steps back. The Trail originally was a great idea, but it was not thought through. Maintenance and patroling seems to be a biggy in the very near future. So, Commissioners and the former Commissioners that were so quick to have all the money used on the trail and bridges need to check their wallets and come up with some dollars to cover the project - it is their "baby" and it has now grown up and is in need of guidance.

Anonymous said...

Norristown zoo will forver be overlooked because of the Philadelphia zoo. A haunted house would be likewise. And at the end of the day, even if tourist "attractions" are designed, Norristown will still be dwarfed by the plethora of amusements available in Philly.

Anonymous said...

I agree with one Poster that any town is more inviting when it is clean and well maintained. Most people head to a town/city where they have an atmosphere that matches their way of life. So, who is on your Committee at the County Seat?

Anonymous said...

Norristown Zoo is great. It is a little pricey, but Philadelphia Zoo is too. My problem with the Philadelphia Zoo is the transportation needed from here to there. With the children in our family, they range from pre school to prep for college. So, we make one trip to each Zoo yearly and visit our County Parks in the upper Montgomery County Area where the price is right and the air seems to be cleaner. So, planning something new for Norristown right now should be maybe some free-bees put on by local businesses that would make more people want to go downtown again.

Anonymous said...

I had an occasion to visit Pottstown and noticed how run down it had become. A few interesting additions was a bike path through town, parking spaces that required backing into on one side of the street and parallel parking on the other, a new Minincipal Bldg. in the West End with a Community Park, the Railroad Station is now Harleysville Bank, the Community College is beautiful and does indeed have a tunnel leading to a former factory on High Street that is used for classes. After viewing the above it was time to eat and where we ate was a former bank with the vault still intact and the teller cages were part of the bar. Amazing! Going down toward the east end, there is a Performing Arts Center/Theatre that I understand is or will be open shortly. Much of the old town has been torn down including the two theatres and department stores or had some type of mishap. It seems the town and its local clubs keep trying to improve the situation.
So Norristown it is not a lost cause.

Anonymous said...

Great Article by Carl in the TH regarding the statis of Logan Square. He digs deeper when they say it has not been firmed up or all is just in the discussion stage. Carl knows Montgomery County's Townships ,School Districts and of course Norristown, the County Seat with all of its problem, inside and out. The TH should and is proud of him - TY!

Anonymous said...

Stan your column stated that other towns have been having success in revitilization (i.e., Ptsn. Phoenx. & Amblr.). Why is it our Commissioners seem to be using no specific plan for the area that is targeted? They have been doing their best to take all businesses out of down-town and then building parking garages and up-grading the terminals in town that sure would help businesses. If DeKalb Street area were that important, we need to stop the decaying of all businesses and also the beautiful buildings in that area.

Anonymous said...

The area around the old High School and the football field should be given more attention. We always enjoyed the Thanksgiving Games and also all the other various High School competitions. It was just plain good fun and very seldom fights would break out, but if they did the Police Department was there with very cool heads, after all we were teens. Keep the Memories!

Anonymous said...

I do believe the TH, the Tourist Bureau and our Commissioners should have a walk through "Our Town" and show the people what has been accomplished the last 16 or so years. The "Plan" for the Our Future should also be displayed at this time. What better time than a September Weekend or maybe just a Saturday when the weather is perfect and NO Election is on the horizon.

Anonymous said...

Lansdale is using the Masonic Temple, which is located in the center of town, exactly as the one on West Main Street here in Norristown. So, what is holding up the process of having the "Arts" here in town? Have the Commissioners considered Sacret Heart for the left-over weekly guests in Eagleville? So, many ways of drawing people to Norristown, good or bad.

Anonymous said...

Why not let the weekenders put on some type of show for the whole town and maybe make a minimum of $2.00 per...it would help to cover the cost of their weekenders. If we do not have any accommodations - make it a "Street Performance" at Air and Main every Saturday AM --11:00, I sleep in!

Anonymous said...

Sounds Good - This could be a monthly exibit and of course the use of Sacred Heart to house these weekenders would sure help financially, since our Commissioners have over-spent again.