DEFENDING GREEN SPACES & Promoting beauty
GUARDING OPEN SPACE MAKES FINANCIAL SENSE: Every square foot of open and greenspace in Hellertown should be protected where practicable. The degrading of open spaces damages the value of all Hellertown homes, and frankly, given the tax situation – we can’t afford it! Most of Hellertown is “built out,” and for the good of ALL property owners, we need to work hard to conserve, cultivate, and protect existing green and open spaces.
PROTECTING PROPERTY VALUES: For many hard-working Hellertonians, their house is their nest egg – in some cases, their only savings. Unsightly development, short-sighted zoning, blight, dangerous roads, and concrete “deserts” all detract from the entire borough’s housing values. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure that Hellertown remains attractive, safe, and smartly planned.
People often don’t realize that green spaces do a lot more than protect property values. Study after study also show that green and open spaces in densely populated communities such as Hellertown play a big role in physical and mental health. Trees literally clean the air and absorb pollutants, and open spaces relieve stress.
As the National Parks and Recreation Association puts it, green spaces “are emerging as important public health solutions in urban communities. Nearly 40 years of research evidence confirms that nearby nature, including parks, gardens, the urban forest and green spaces, support human health and wellness.”
A centerpiece of my role on borough council will be to push hard and vocally to protect, nurture, and where practical, expand Hellertown’s green spaces. How many times have you found yourself amazed by the wildlife we sometimes see in Hellertown — herons, fox, white-tailed deer, turkey, coyotes, even the occasional bear. They’re here because we have green spaces.
ATTACKING BLIGHT AND PROMOTING BEAUTIFICATION: I sit in judgement of no one. We all sometimes let things go. I come from a working family where sometimes there wasn’t much time to tiptoe through the tulips.
But we have non-residential areas of Hellertown that have become blighted and ugly. It’s called blight because, like a fungus, it spreads. Broken windows can attract bad things. If we can’t address blight through zoning, we need to find other creative ways of working with property owners who are sitting on ugly properties and letting them decay. Oftentimes, property owners mean no harm — they just aren’t aware of how their property detracts from the dignity of their community. We can’t fix City of Bethlehem’s bridges, but we can push, advocate, and insist that the bridges our residents need stay open and in good repair.
I will be a relentless irritant and voice for cleaning up some of the messes around the borough. Whether it’s through gentle nudging or collaborating with state lawmakers and other municipalities to change laws in Harrisburg, we WILL improve Hellertown.