At the end of the BAWG report, there is a yearly calendar which lists the various township boards, month by month. Now I didn’t go through each board on the township to see if it is listed but I know there are at least 2 boards that didn’t make the cut — Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) and the Library Board. For the BAWG volunteers that put the calendar together, I am sure that they would simply view it as an oversight. However, for the volunteers who serve on these boards they may feel slighted.
I understand that to some people preservation of our historic resources may not be as important as other township boards such as Zoning, Pension Trustees, Municipal Authority, etc. But for people like myself who serve on HARB and have done so for many years, it is just as important to the landscape of this community. I often joke that on any budget, whether it is federal, state or county budgets that historic preservation is the last item on the budget and is the first item off the budget. Guess in the case of the BAWG report, it never got in the report! Just for the record, the HARB board meets monthly, 3rd Wednesday of the month at the Township Building.
Then we have the Library Board and its absence on BAWG’s township calendar. Unlike HARB, the library does have much mention in the text of the report – with suggestions for reduction in book and equipment purchases, reduction in operating hours, staff reductions, etc. For many people, particularly seniors, living in our community the Tredyffrin Library and the Paoli Library are their life blood to the outside world. I continue to be concerned about the future of our libraries with the diminishing services. Please take the time to read the section of the BAWG report about the Paoli Library and its future. As a board member of Paoli Business & Professional Association (PBPA) I know how many people depend on this community library. Many of the people that use the Paoli Library are in a different income bracket than those that visit the Tredyffrin Library. The Paoli Library visitors may not have computers at home and depend on the library and the use of the computers. The Library Board is another township board whose volunteers work tirelessly trying to juggle the budget constraints with programming demands, operational challenges, etc. For the record, the Library Board meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month, rotating between Tredyffrin and Paoli Library.
As I said, I didn’t check the BAWG monthly calendar for each of the township boards so there may be others that did not make it in to the report. But for HARB and Library Board members, thank you for your service and contribution to the community.
What a lovely morning spent at the newly remodeled Embassy Suites in Chesterbrook! Our State Rep Paul Drucker held a breakfast reception this morning in honor of Local Government Week
for all the township community leaders. Special guest of honor was retiring supervisor Bill DeHaven who attended with wife Pat and son Michael. How wonderful to have all of these volunteers share this special time together. I attended as a member of the township’s HARB (Historical Architectural Review Board) but there were planning commissioners, parks board members, school board and zoning board members, supervisors, etc.
Paul’s message to the audience was particularly meaningful to me. He spoke of joining the Board of Supervisors and his seat placement was at one end and Bill’s to the far opposite end. Although one represented the Democrat Party and the other the Republican Party, Paul explained that as their friendship developed, they discovered that their views were more similar than dissimilar. It is this bipartisan sentiment and thoughtful independent expression that brings people together rather than separate them. Over the 2 year period that Judy DiFilippo and I worked together as co-chairs for Tredyffrin 300, I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet and work with many members of our community. Committed to making this 300th anniversary a milestone to be remembered, we were excited by the community support and spirit, regardless of political affiliations or differences.
Sitting among the volunteers this morning, I reflected on how these people are giving back to others and are making a real difference in the township. Sharing is the keyword to describe the way in which volunteers approach their work. Volunteers in Tredyffrin are sharing their skills and talents, even their money. But above all, they share themselves. They know that this attitude is the true measure of success in life and that it makes this community strong and healthy. It is an action deeply rooted in the human spirit with a far-reaching social and cultural impact. Listening to, being concerned with, and responding to the needs of others provide evidence of the highest human motivation. Volunteering is not simply something that we do for others. Our own values and humanity are at stake: We are what we give. All these result from and give rise to participation, involvement, engagement, mutual trust, respect, support, commitment, all of which are absolutely vital for the strength and well-being of our community. I am grateful to live in a community that honors its volunteers.
I have always believed that I receive far greater rewards from my volunteer efforts than I could ever measure!
The township’s Comprehensive Plan was recently approved. As a member of HARB (Historical Architectural Review Board) and president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, I was part of the comp plan process, serving on the Historic Preservation Chapter component of the plan. Over the 2 year review process of the comp plan, there was an opportunity for much discussion between members of the HARB and Planning Commission. Discussion centered on the importance of preserving our historic structures yet at the same time allowing for development. The two sides were challenged to consider development opportunities but also to be mindful of the need to preserve historic resources. Although sometimes at ‘odds’, together we did reach consensus and were able to create a Historic Preservation Plan
that should serve residents well in the years ahead.
Owning a 300-yr. old house here in Tredyffrin gives me an interesting perspective on development. Although I am committed to historic preservation, I do understand the need for development. What I suggest by ‘thoughtful’ development is more about consideration for the immediate neighborhood of the construction. Forward thinking about livable communities that have quality open space, a variety of uses — mixed zoning with sidewalks and the ability to walk to stores — and variety of building types — homes, apartments, stores, and other places to walk to or bicycle to. Historic preservation is smart business. Smart communities preserve their historic places as they develop. It makes strong business sense. Better models of development are economically profitable to a community. For example, tourism — much of it of the “heritage” variety — is Pennsylvania’s second largest industry. In 2001, tourists spent $20.5 billion Pennsylvaniawith a total economic impact of $37.2 billion in sales, supporting 618,000 jobs and $13.3 billion in compensation. Part of Valley Forge National Historical Park lies within Tredyffrin’s boundaries. We also have Philadelphia, Lancaster County and Brandywine all within a 30 min. drive that contribute to tourism dollars being spent in Tredyffrin. Preserving our history and our historic resources add to the character of our community and encourages people to want to live and work here and also to visit.