The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


August 30, 2013

Readers' Forum 8-30 | Allow commercial development in Westmont

— At Westmont’s zoning hearing board meeting concerning CVS Pharmacy’s attempt to commercially develop the site at Goucher Street and Menoher Boulevard, I witnessed many speakers who were passionate and emotional but misinformed.

I would like to comment on a few of their statements. One of the most glaring was a question: “Could someone build a house on the site?” However, the real question is: Would someone build a house on that site? Who would spend $800,000 to buy land and an additional $200,000 to build a house at that corner? There are no million-dollar houses in Westmont.

Another comment was that there would not be a basketball court at the new playground. That is not correct.

Another statement was that tractor-trailer deliveries would block traffic. No one complains when tractor-trailers leave Clark’s Corner Store after unloading supplies.

Another: There would be too much traffic on Shelburne. Why not make Shelburne one-way?

One comment was that additional tax revenue would be so small that it wouldn’t help. Projected CVS taxes are around $50,000. This is meaningful. It is two science programs or a foreign-language program.

Within three years, mandatory health-care programs for the school district will increase a million dollars. Retirement costs will go from $600,000 to $1.6 million by 2017. The 1917 middle school needs major renovations. Without renovations, the Department of Education will force improvements for the safety of our children.

It is time the citizens of Westmont step up and demand commercial development.

Gordon D. Smith


Hilltop Days are an outdoor festival gem

This past weekend featured another in a series of wonderful outdoor festivals in our region. Hilltop Days – Craft and Cruise Show at The Ridge was a two-day event and combined craft booths with a huge selection of local cars, newer and older, as well as a number of food and refreshment booths.

This is the third year for the event, and my hat is off to the folks from Westmont Hilltop Recreation Commission who took the time to make it happen.

Fran Sivi, executive director, and her staff at the office, as well as the folks from the recreation board, are to be commended for putting on this great family-oriented event.

I have been a proud “crafter” for three years and will definitely return next year. If you have not made it to Craft and Cruise Show, you are definitely missing out on a gem of an outing. I hope to see you there next year.

Richard Pavic


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