WATCHDOG SPECIAL: Big is “scary”

The Watchdog was pleased that a New Era editorial flat-out stated, “It would make no sense to duplicate a service already provided by Amtrak between Lancaster and Harrisburg. Moreover, we remain unconvinced that commuters will abandon their vehicles and opt for rail service…”

In retrospect, the same should have been said forty-five years ago concerning the Hilton Hotel and Hess Department store, both which now sit empty in Lancaster Square.  (Had the convention center gone into the Brunswick as first planned, Lancaster Square would be a vibrant and prideful center of activity today.)

Speaking of the convention center project….. well, let’s not.

Recently we read about the financial troubles being experienced by the Pennsylvania Academy of Music which cost $30 million (for a music school!) and for the most part is or will be paid for by donors and taxpayers. We don’t recall the newspapers challenging the feasibility of that project.

Looming on the horizon is the bird-brained streetcar proposal, despite total lack of public support. And then there is the mysterious proposal of Lancaster General Hospital to build a hospital in West Earl Township, within three miles of the successful Ephrata Community Hospital. We say “mysterious” because no one has (or could have) explained the reason behind this bizarre idea, other than to force the adequate and profitable Ephrata Hospital out of business.

Look around downtown Lancaster and you will see vibrant signs of new life.  But so far it has little to do with the convention center project or PAM, which has yet to fulfill its potential. It is the small shops, galleries, restaurants and clubs that have made the difference, mostly accomplished without tax payer and donor aid.

So a wag of the tail from the Watchdog for “Scary thought about rail service.” Let’s hope someday we get to read “Scary thought about  downtown streetcars”and “Scary thought about a hospital in West Earl Township.”

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Updated: October 31, 2009 — 10:11 am