U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-03-2019, 05:43 PM
 
12 posts, read 1,708 times
Reputation: 40

Advertisements

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
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-04-2019, 05:14 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
5,664 posts, read 2,760,074 times
Reputation: 3573
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2019, 09:10 AM
 
25 posts, read 8,328 times
Reputation: 49
Get the businesses first, the rest will follow...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-03-2019, 09:07 PM
 
12 posts, read 1,708 times
Reputation: 40
I hope I didn't hijack the thread with that long post!

Plenty of people smarter than me do NOT see a Norristown turnaround anytime soon. And there are truthfully many big obstacles with no clear path around them.

Apparently Norristown this summer added a special tax to entertainment venues in the city. One thing they really need is more reasons to bring people to Norristown, and this tax to my mind is going to chase people away!

I get the impression that the people who run Norristown are really not very progressive or future-oriented...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-04-2019, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,866 posts, read 61,083,299 times
Reputation: 54997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly Eagles Fly View Post
I get the impression that the people who run Norristown are really not very progressive or future-oriented...
And the people who are progressive and future-oriented get shouted down at every turn (I got booed quite soundly at a council meeting about 10 years ago ... which I'm actually kinda proud of ). It's so frustrating, but I never have been able to put my finger on what the problem is, why council members perpetually can't see beyond their own noses, and why we as a collective keep electing the same type of people over and over to council.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-04-2019, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
5,664 posts, read 2,760,074 times
Reputation: 3573
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
And the people who are progressive and future-oriented get shouted down at every turn (I got booed quite soundly at a council meeting about 10 years ago ... which I'm actually kinda proud of ). It's so frustrating, but I never have been able to put my finger on what the problem is, why council members perpetually can't see beyond their own noses, and why we as a collective keep electing the same type of people over and over to council.
Just curious: what were you advocating?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-04-2019, 10:47 AM
 
570 posts, read 410,169 times
Reputation: 559
Fly Eagles Fly - nice write-up. I couldn't agree more as I'm a huge fan of city layouts from at least 100 years ago, architecture from that time period as well, and a dense walk-able core. I also, like you, favor a bit of grit or edge in my neighborhood/city. Unfortunately, in that area of the burbs, grit is commonly synonymous with "danger" or "crime." From my experiences, grit is much more appreciated by true city folk who really would never consider moving that far out of Philly.

As Mr. Map Man put it, "get the businesses first and the rest will follow..." is very true, but will be a difficult task considering spending power in the immediate area coupled with the number of established businesses and business centers in the immediate surrounding areas. This might be one of those rare circumstances where getting the residents first could draw businesses in. It's uber-affordable, the architecture is amazing, and there is direct access (kind of) to the river. Northern Liberties evolved a bit like that. When I first moved there 20 years ago, there were literally three restaurant and bar establishments with not much else except a substantial migrating artist population that was quickly expanding to adventurous young professionals. It was largely residential (with some old school independent workshops and factories - but nothing really customer-facing or true retail) through the 70s, 80s and much of the 90s, until it tipped in the late 90s. And then REALLY tipped around 2006 or so. Now you can't walk four feet without running into retail or an entertainment venue. True, NL was directly bordering the city, but still...

Anyway, one approach that is possibly doable, but seems quite controversial with a lot of people, would be to entice a major employer, like an Amazon or Ikea or Walmart, to build a massive DC in Norristown. The location is pretty good for it with highway access and there are sections that have that kind of open land. That would immediately employee several hundred or thousand people and get things moving forward potentially.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-04-2019, 12:35 PM
 
25 posts, read 8,328 times
Reputation: 49
FedEx recently opened a distribution center on the outskirts of Bridgeport (U. Merion twp), and another logistics company is taking over the space that Johnson Matthey left behind adjacent to the GSK plant. Both opposite Norristown, so I agree that the potential for a similar business exists near Norristown. Ikea already has it's HQ up the road, so perhaps it might expand to include a warehouse.

On an unrelated note, I drove on the new Lafayette st. extension that recently opened a few weeks ago. I was very impressed! In due time, that street will be lined with retail facing businesses and an apartment complex or three. Traffic relief on Main street should benefit the town as well. A big nudge in the right direction for sure.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-04-2019, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
232 posts, read 71,864 times
Reputation: 155
The Lafayette extension is very nice, and has a lot of potential for development. Norristown's location near the highways, and proximity to KOP are assets but there is a persistent perception that it's crime interested although statistically it is not.

That's a tough impression to overcome in suburbia. In the city, the calculation is different. Especially for neighborhoods close to Center City, as Northern Liberties and Fishtown are.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 11:15 PM
 
12 posts, read 1,708 times
Reputation: 40
Pennsport- you are so right, you get me. In my heart I should be in Philly. 20 years ago my band was headquartered in an old factory in Northern Liberties, I loved it there back then. And almost all of the people who think like me are gonna be in Philly. But I gotta stay close to my Mom... I kind of disagree in about the grittisenss- I think a lot of the character/appeal of Norristown is in its ethnic diversity- I read somewhere it is the 2nd most ethnically diverse community in Pennsylvania. Of course Norristown doesn't have an awesome Day of the Dead or Cinco de Mayo for its 12,000 (officially reported, no doubt much higher in real life) Mexican immigrants. But it could! And might! A couple dozen countries are apparently well represented.

Ohiogirl, I 'm sorry that happened and it is a strange phenomenon there. I remember in my 20's I had many thousands of interactions with Washington DC government bureaucrats, and there was a cynicism and fatigue there that you often could not penetrate... this feels similar somehow.

Mr Map Man, I have to share, a house I looked at twice was on that Lafayette St extension, and I agree that spot is going to explode! Right on the bike path, two seconds from the highway, walk to downtown and the transit center. But even though they had put at least 30 grand into improvements, and were only asking 130, I just hated the house itself, and that neighborhood for the moment is still one of the crimiest in the borough. It killed me, cos I would love to live right across from that bike path... after I bid on the place I have, I called the realtor, who had an option to buy, and said I thought that spot was going to blow up and he should buy it himself! Next day, it was off the listings so I hope that's what he did.

It's almost like Norristown is this fascinating unsolvable problem. Will it ever get its act together? Kind of goes back to the original posters question...

Last edited by Fly Eagles Fly; Yesterday at 11:25 PM.. Reason: I had to fix something
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:44 AM.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top