When I saw the orange barrels going up on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough, my first thought was, “must be another water main, gas main or electrical problem.” Much to the surprise of many in the Roxborough community, it has since been reported that a “Streetscape” beautification project has commenced through an influx of federal, state and local development money obtained by Roxborough Development Corporation.
I am sure that there are many benefits to such enhancements in times of robust economic growth. A project of this type would be considered a luxury we could afford. These are not normal times. The Federal Treasury is virtually bankrupt, and the Commonwealth and City are awash in unfunded pension liabilities. It is difficult to envision the “jobs” which will be created through this project, other than those already realized from the project itself, and statements to this effect insult our intelligence. The questionable habit of readily distributing taxpayer money through grant proposals is another matter.
Right down the street from the Streetscape project stands Kendrick Recreation Center, the “Rec,” a neighborhood staple. The recreation center has not seen capital improvement money, our taxpayer dollars, not grant money as in the Streetscape project, in over 20 years. Senior citizens have had to relocate their meetings elsewhere, due to the center’s deteriorating condition. Some divisions which normally vote at Kendrick have already been moved to other locations. It would appear that Roxborough residents are not able to reap the benefits of the tax dollars we send to the City as it is not being returned in responsible ways to our neighborhood.
Roxborough residents are beginning to wonder about the mindset of representatives when it comes to priorities and the way in which our tax money is distributed through the City’s budget process. One of our members called the Recreation Department to obtain a breakdown of allocations to the various recreation centers in the City. No one answered the phone. That should tell us all we need to know.
Pat Haraburda is a Roxborough resident and Co-Coordinator for the Philadelphia Tea Party Patriots Northwest. If you’d like to write a response to this essay, please contact Megan Pinto at firstname.lastname@example.org.