Roots of Revitalization

Social Change Through Action In Pottstown PA

Blighter Fighters! October 28, 2011

Filed under: Quality of Life Issues — roots of revitalization @ 10:13 am
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On Thursday October, 27th, Pottstown Borough Manager, Jason Bobst, along with Codes Department Officers, MariaBleile, and Bill Sharon attended a Building One Pennsylvania Meeting in Lancaster, PA.  Also in attendance were Pottstown residents, Teri Jensen-Sellers, Deb Penrod, and Katie Jackson.

The First Suburbs Project meeting was organized by several southeastern public leaders including government officials, clergy, and community activists concerned with economy, blight, and infrastructure problems in small towns in this part of Pennsylvania. There were several hundred people at the conference in downtown Lancaster.

Several speakers took to the stage to commiserate the reasons older towns are declining, which include lack of jobs, lack of tax bases, condensed pockets of poverty and middle class families moving on to newer suburbs. Small towns do not have the financial resources to fix, all of these quality of life issues, and the meeting was a plea for federa help!

Community speakers were Marion Milner of Norristown Borough Council, Nathaniel Goodson of Upper Darby Township Council,  and Denise Prowell of  Scranton-Abbington Planning Association.

Bernie McGurl of the Lackawanna River Corrider Association explained the problems associated with antiquated infrastructures.   Betty Wade of  Penn Hills Committee spoke about the poor conditions of bridges and roads, and other transportation difficulties. Paul Abernathy, the Director of Focus Pittsburgh discussed education reform and funding issues for schools in towns like Pottstown.

The main guest speaker was HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan who came down from Washington DC for the day.  Mr. Donovan spoke of the “tyranny of the zip code” which he claims President Obama is very familiar with. This applies to our situation here in Montgomery County and how the majority of voucher housing tenants and social service clients are placed in Pottstown and Norristown. There is a political agenda to evenly redistribute lower socio-economic clients, who receive welfare monies, to more towns within Montgomery County. Mr. Donovan explained that small towns like Pottstown, cannot revitalize without working families and a middle class tax base.

To read more about the Secreatry of HUD’s speech  follow this link:

Joel Johnson, who is the head of the Montgomery County Housing Authority was scheduled to attend, but did not show. Roots of Revitalization had intentions of asking  why HUD funds blighted rental properties in Pottstown  and what he thinks about the tyranny of the zip code.

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4 Responses to “Blighter Fighters!”

  1. Olive Says:

    it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it. Jason Bobst and the folks from Codes get gold stars for making this trip to Lancaster, and the few citizens that made it too.

    Joel Johnson, head of MontCo Voucher Housing can’t make time to participate and broaden his education about these issues, or support the borough’s that are getting dumped on? When u think about it, he probably buried his head in the sand to save face.

    • roots of revitalization Says:

      Thanks for writing….As far as Mongtomery County Housing Authority, there appears to be many inconsistencies, we tried to do an interview with the director about blight in Pottstown, but he appeared to be too busy, whenever we were available to meet with him. So then we tried to do an “email interview”, but the information we were sent, does not really match up with what we witness here in the Pottstown Borough. Supposedly the county inspections codes are substandard because an anonomys site called has been interfiewing voucher housing tenants living in slum like dwellings. Whoever they are, they kindly send their research to us, because they know we write about quality of life issues. How can the county let this happen? Some of these tenants are mentally ill, and cannot self-advocate for safe housing! There seems to be a good deal of mismanagement and apathy when it comes to Pottstown voucher tenants. Check out the site I mentioned,


  2. […] Read an article by author Teri Jensen-Sellers, titled “Blighter Fighters!” and published Friday by the Roots of Revitalization blog, he…. […]

  3. […] Blighter Fighters! « Roots of RevitalizationOct 28, 2011 … Community speakers were Marion Milner of Norristown Borough Council, Nathaniel Goodson of Upper Darby Township Council, and Denise … […]

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