Pottstown is a compact town of 22,000 along the Schuylkill River in southeastern Pennsylvania, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia. It is lovely and historic, with tree-lined streets and a distinctive downtown
Although the town is not as financially healthy as it once was, it has the potential to become one of the most livable communities in Pennsylvania. Pottstown Citizens seeks ways we can best manage our resources for the common good.
The following essays have recently appeared as paid advertisements in the Pottstown Mercury:
Homelessness touches North End
Pottstown has numerous churches with excess capacity because their congregations have dwindled as parishioners of means moved to the suburbs in recent decades. Many of these churches have become havens for the poor to receive food, clothing, and other necessities.
Open space, covert decision- making
An engineering firm hired by Upper Pottsgrove Township makes a lucid argument for building a $5.5 million municipal complex on the former Smola farm at Evans and Moyer roads.
Pottstown housing prices higher than ever
Although Pottstown has major problems with vacant storefronts, trash-strewn streets, and homelessness, housing prices are higher than ever.
Wide variety of housing in Pottstown
On Tuesday, we noted that Pottstown housing prices have increased dramatically — more than 70 percent over the last five years.
Excessive compensation stains Tower Health
Quoting a lower court decision, Commonwealth Court stated “[the CEO] and the Board of Tower Health were no more tha[n] corporate health care raiders . ... The goal as evident from the financial documentation offered at trial was simple and direct—drain the juice out of the hospitals until there was nothing left but a dried-out husk and then leave, close the doors, or sell what was left.”
Challenging tax exemptions
The recent Tower Health ruling shows the court’s willingness to rethink which organizations are truly non-profit and which ones have been categorized more by past practices than logic.
In an age of increasing income inequality, why is a poor town expected to subsidize a school with a $188 million endowment and lavish facilities that primarily serves the national and international moneyed class?
Pottstown housing now integrated
Pottstown is one of the most integrated municipalities in Pennsylvania. Pottstown has 20 census blocks, as shown in the map above. The racial demographics of each census block are shown in the chart. It’s clear Pottstown is integrated in all its neighborhoods.
Pottstown area highly segregated
On Tuesday, we published a chart of all 20 census blocks in Pottstown demonstrating that Pottstown is integrated at a neighborhood level. But the Pottstown area, encompassing the borough and its surrounding municipalities, is highly segregated.
Elementary schools desegregate in 1980
In 1978, The Mercury published a 16- page special edition suggesting the district could desegregate its elementary schools and reduce excess classroom capacity by closing Jefferson School and redistricting the remaining schools.
Demographics have dramatically changed
By far the greatest change in the Pottstown School District in the last 50 years has been a dramatic increase in the district’s minority enrollment and in student poverty.
Racial segregation redux, 1963
Nine years after publishing a weeklong series of articles in 1954 about racial discrimination in Pottstown, The Pottstown Mercury ran an even longer series of articles in 1963 about what progress had been made.
Housing strictly segregated in 1963
“Realtors in Pottstown do not talk about segregation and discrimination — except to deny it. But it does exist — sharply, and clearly defined."
Committtee on Human Relations formed
In 1954, following a week-long series of articles in The Pottstown Mercury about racial discrimination in Pottstown, a group of concerned citizens met at a local restaurant to form a Committee on Human Relations.
Although de facto racial inequity was the rule in 1950s Pottstown, there were some notable exceptions. Chief among these was the Corum family.
Mercury confronts segregation in 1954 (2)
BLACK COMMERCIAL graduates of Pottstown High School in the early 1950s. None were sent out for job interviews, but white girls were placed.
Mercury confronts segregation in 1954 (3)
In 1954, ending a week-long series of articles about racial discrimination in Pottstown, The Pottstown Mercury concluded with plea to bring about racial equity in Pottstown.
1954 court ruling leads to Mercury series
One month after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, The Pottstown Mercury published a week-long series of articles about racial segregation in Pottstown.
Mercury confronts segregation in 1954 (1)
Mercury editor Shandy Hill championed racial equality, and he wasn’t afraid of being unpopular. The Mercury series highlighted some uncomfortable truths.
Broadening school district's mission
The Pottstown Public Library would be much more appropriate for the school district to oversee and financially support than the borough.
The library: education for all
Books, videos, internet resources — everything’s available at the public library. You can go on-line from home and browse the entire collection — not just Pottstown’s, but almost everywhere in Pennsylvania
Preserving our natural capital
Natural capital is everything nature provides us for free. It is what our economy is built upon.
Where your local taxes go
Together, Pottstown Borough and the Pottstown School District are set to spend more than $118 million this year.
Thoughts for 2023
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.
New epoch in world history
By the 1950s, the world’s humans grew so numerous, and started making so much impact on the planet, that the geologists believe a new epoch is warranted: the Anthropocene.
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