Saturday, January 16, 2010

Partners or Pirates?

Did you know that Lower Providence Township residents apparently had the distinction of coining a new dirty word in recent years?  Imagine that...there's one nasty word that George Carlin missed in his famous dissertation on the same subject. Who knew? 

Cover your children's ears, people, this Irish girl is about to go curse a blue streak. 

The offensive word? "Developer". 

Now, I know that developers have been given a bad rap in the press. Donald Trump alone is enough to turn you off to them. And we've all heard sob stories of friends or family who bought a home, only to find the builder did shoddy work and moved on, never to be heard from again, leaving unhappy customers behind to work out open issues with their municipality, or in court (see the Times Herald's reporting on THP in Skippack, for example). I get where the negative stereotype comes from, I really do.

However, as with anything else, a few bad apples rot the entire basket. Here's a novel concept...they're not all evil, souless, heartless thieves.

I think there are two types of developers...those who are what I described above, and then there are the types that we should want and welcome. What we want, and more often than not, what we have here in Lower Providence, are developers who partner with the community. What's the difference?

Developers who partner with the community stay. Their executives live in or near Lower Providence. Sometimes, they put their corporate headquarters here, bringing jobs and tax revenue. So, they have a vested interest in being good neighbors, in giving back to the community, in doing - or making - things right, because people will know where to find them if they don't. And they recognize that not taking care of their community and their customers is just plain bad for business.

These are the companies who generously donate time, materials and money to various nonprofits and athletic organizations based here. Those things don't seem to make the headlines somehow.

I think Lower Providence has more than a few of these developers building, working and living in our community, and is better off for it. They, together with our local businesses, invest in the community. We should be working together with them, not telling them to take their jobs, their tax payments, and their infrastructure contributions, somewhere else...especially in this economy.

Developers who partner with the community...and developers who take what they want, don't honor their promises, stick LP with problems they don't fix, and are never heard from again. Which would you rather have? What's your opinion?

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