|Italianate next to Greek Revival|
Last week I heard one of these folks say that it's better to demolish the old buildings in our downtown and put up new construction. It's too hard to heat and cool old buildings, he said. It's too hard to put old buildings to new uses.
|Corson House-one of our oldest buildings|
I live in a house that's nearly 90 years old. Adding energy efficient windows saved me 21% in fuel usage, adding attic insulation saved me another 15% in heating and 25% of my electricity for cooling. If I caulk everything, insulate all my pipes and put in a more efficient heating/cooling system, I'd do even better. None of the costs of these things added together would equal a fraction of the costs of demolishing my house and starting over. And I doubt new construction would stand up to 4 hurricanes, one superstorm, 2 earthquakes and a straight line wind event the way my house has. The technology and materials are available to make any old building energy-efficient. As for new uses, if you can't be creative, maybe you don't belong in a town that's suppose to be an arts community. Creativity ought to be our selling point.
|Modern next to Victorian mansard roof|
So why not capitalize on our vintage look and great architecture? Why can't that be a draw? What's keeping people out of Norristown isn't old buildings--it's our overabundance of pawn shops, check cashing places and such. Get in more business like Almaz Cafe and Banh Mi Bistro, who support the town and look good. Create incentives to make the other buildings in our downtown look classy again--like the renovators did with the old PNC Bank at 1 West Main. Start advertising us as "Historic Downtown Norristown." Visitors will come just to stroll our streets, like they do in Phoenixville and Doylestown.
|Chicago school style next to early and mid-19th century|
If you don't like the look, leave, or at least, don't work for our borough or county governments. If you're going to stay, get to know Norristown instead of ruining it.