Roots of Revitalization

Social Change Through Action In Pottstown PA

Community Cohesion January 10, 2012

Filed under: Quality of Life Issues — roots of revitalization @ 9:44 am
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By Anya Rhoads -Lafferty

  • We live in America—the land of freedom—the land of opportunity—the land of choices. Many different facets make America the great country it is; however, along with these freedoms and opportunities and choices sometimes comes hardship, tragedy, and poor decision-making, not just on the part of individuals, but also families, businesses, corporations, and government.The current economic strife America is facing is affecting everyone from individuals, families, local businesses, large corporations and, most importantly, our government. Across the board we all have had to make changes and sacrifices in order to survive on a day-to-day basis. No one likes change (good or bad), as we are creatures of habit, but sometimes we are forced to make changes because of outside influences (such as the current economic state of our country).

    Sometimes individuals, corporations, and government make poor choices that only serve to continually affect us negatively. Maybe it is because we just made the wrong choice, or maybe we chose to make the wrong choice. Whatever the situation is, we still have to continue to find a way to survive and stay strong.

    With a town like Pottstown, which continues to struggle financially and cosmetically, drastic change needs to occur. In Pottstown (the 19464 zip code), we have the borough of Pottstown and we have all of the Pottsgrove communities which surround it. On the outskirts of these two towns we have cities to our North—Gilbertsville, Bechtelsville, and Boyertown. These latter three towns most recently merged their fire departments together. Merging of businesses and companies can save one from being shut down completely, can save money, and brings people together. In the aftermath of 9/11, America came together in the wake of tragedy. In the wake of our current economic strife, we need to come together as a community. Pottstown and Pottsgrove need to follow in the footsteps of the fire departments in Gilbertsville, Bechtelsville, and Boyertown and merge to make ONE town.

    I can understand that the citizens residing in the Pottsgrove communities do not want to take on the financial burdens of the Pottstown borough. All towns and cities have their issues—no town or city is immune. As a whole, Pottsgrove appears to have their affairs in order and take care of their communities. Maybe our borough councilmen do not have the proper means to save the borough and maybe they do. If Pottsgrove and Pottstown were to come together and become ONE community—it would save our schools, save jobs, save the town, save money, and bring Pottstown (as a whole) back to life. With the Department of Education cutting funds for students, it only makes sense to merge these two school districts together. Why do we need two school districts in the same zip code anyway? If you look at our neighboring districts—Owen J. Roberts, Boyertown, Springford, Phoenixville, etc.—you see they do not have more than one school district within their towns. The best example is the Gilbertsville, Becthelsville, Boyertown cities (all of which have different zip codes) but they have ONE school district. Those towns are as close together as Pottstown and Pottsgrove. It makes no sense to have two school districts. If the Department of Education continues to reduce funding, they will either force school districts within a specified radius to merge, or we as a community will be forced to merge.

    I think of the powers that be in Pottstown were to enforce laws (i.e. hold slumlords accountable, enforce codes and laws, terminate water service to those who do not pay their bills, and escalate recuperating tax funds that are overdue in a more timely fashion to the extent of the law) that maybe Pottsgrove would be more agreeable to a merger.

    It is very difficult to take steps to make differences when people put up a barrier and don’t think of others. It is time for us as Americans to work together and be there for each other and stop asking “what’s in it for me?” Change is difficult…coming in to help clean up a mess is difficult…these times are difficult, but if we work together as a people, a community, and a country, think of the wonderful changes we can make! Pottstown and Pottsgrove should set the standard and make changes before they are forced upon us. By working together, we could make other communities stand up and say “hey—look how great that town is—how they worked together…we want to be like them!” Think about it…let’s come together and make positive change and make others turn their heads to us in jealousy and see the good we have done and they will follow suit. This can help change the world one town at a time and bring us together. Our children need to learn this valuable lesson and work together as a community. We need to get our kids out of the house, off the couch, out from in front of the television and video games. Third world countries work together each and every day (physical labor) to have the very few means they have, including food. If we get up and get moving, we also would be changing the obesity issue in our country. Let’s make big change together!

    Everyone takes the time to forward e-mails and text messages…let’s take it a step further. Let’s make big change that reverberates across the states. How far can we get our message sent and create change? Are you up for the challenge?


    Anya Rhoads-Lafferty

    Anya Rhoads-Lafferty

    Anya is a life time resident of Pottstown, PA and teacher at Antonelli Medical & Professional Institute . She studied Medical Secretary/Secretarial Sciences at Pennsylvania Business Institute, and is a member of  Phi Theta Kappa through MCCC.