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Old 11-03-2019, 05:43 PM
10 posts, read 1,449 times
Reputation: 40


Thanks for the well wishes, everyone! My place is in the east end of town, just north of Ridge on Sandy Street, the property backs up onto McCann Park.

I took my best buddy on a tour of the town yesterday. He and his wife are looking, they want something urban and walkable and near the train but she is worried about safety. We ended up spending three hours checking it out.

Who knows where they will buy, but he was very impressed with a lot of Norristown, stating he would feel comfortable living in the New Hope/Fornance part of the East End, near the zoo, or on the north part of the West End near the farm park.

He was absolutely blown away by how nice the housing looked, how nice some of the neighborhoods were, Harding Street (the leafy boulevard that goes by the zoo) and the Norristown Farm Park.

I took him to the worst parts of the hood, too. We had an awesome walk from my place down to the bike path, around to the Transit Center, up DeKalb to Penn St and Hancock Park (did you know they are totally redoing the government complex and making a nice block sized park right there on Main Street?), then back up to the house.

As others have said, it's got so many of the ingredients. Walkable, dense, diverse, transit options, parks- and really fantastic potential for great parks.

The other day I walked from the Elm Street Train station downtown, got on a trail by the creek, and walked all the way into the Norristown Farm Park. If they ever bother to develop this, it would be like Fairmount Park- connecting downtown with the two biggest attractions, the zoo and the farm park.

I well remember (I used to ride my bike into the city every day going past the art museum) that Schuylkill river trail and Schuylkill banks usage exploded when they extended the bike path past Boathouse Row and connected it with downtown.

But I have been researching, and read the latest Economic Development, Open Space, and Capital Improvement (?) plans, along with master plans for some of the parks and things like that. And it is mind boggling how little money they seem to have to do anything. They really don't have enough to meet their operating expenses, much less funding major improvements.

And the truth is, even when it really turns up, Norristown will still have major obstacles. All that Section 8 housing. All that untaxable land. All the brownfields by the river that have to get cleaned before they can be developed. The tens of thousands of poor people that need assistance and aren't going anywhere. The face that it is literally surrounded on all sides by newer, richer suburbs.

But, to me at least, it has something King of Prussia will never have. Grit, the weight of 200 year old buildings with soot patterns that may never get cleaned, people with crazy stories to tell about their lives, a block where each 19th century church is more Gothic than the one that came before, the feel of a real place with hard earned history and character. This may sound stupid, but I was 12 when Rocky came out, and it really captured the mood of the city- when that movie came out the Philadelphia you saw was not exaggerated- was in tough shape and no one knew if it would get better. Norristown I think is past that point, may where Philly was in the early 1980's. It was great to watch Philadelphia reinvent itself, and I will be excited to be a tiny part of Norristown's comeback. To me, Norristown is kind of like Rocky when he was still busting thumbs for the loan shark. I will be excited to see if Norristown can become a champion. And I love Rocky, at least the first one!

When I travel and sometimes get grief for being from Philadelphia, I sometimes get an attitude about it. I notice I haven't even closed on a house and I am getting that way about Norristown. Especially because no one I know has a positive impression. That's okay, I am getting t shirts made that say "Norristown....THAT'S RIGHT!"

Last edited by Fly Eagles Fly; 11-03-2019 at 06:47 PM.. Reason: I wanted to add something
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:14 AM
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
5,551 posts, read 2,711,899 times
Reputation: 3500
Thank you, Fly Eagles Fly, for that testimonial and your banking on Norristown's future.

Poverty and lack of sufficient municipal revenue to take care of everything on the to-do list often seem to go hand in hand. But Norristown does have a decent business district, and if the municipality can bring more businesses to/grow more businesses in it, that doesn't have to be the case here.
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:10 AM
23 posts, read 7,946 times
Reputation: 49
Get the businesses first, the rest will follow...
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