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‘Preservation Society’ holds back Camden

Posted: June 24, 2014 9:58 a.m.
Updated: June 25, 2014 5:00 a.m.

This is the letter than should never have been written. It may accomplish nothing other than irritating some.

I am 84 years old and have lived in Camden for 45 years. So, you see I am not and can never be a member of the “old guard.” This letter may raise the hackles of many of those that are, which is why I say it may should never have been written.

I don’t love Camden; I love my wife. However, I do like Camden very much, which is why I plan to be here the rest of my life. Camden, like it or not, is like so many other small, pleasant, “stuck in the past” towns that’s probably never going to be anything else. I suppose that’s not all bad since it seems to satisfy most citizens. It could be so much more, but, regrettably, probably never will.

When I moved here in 1969, I was amazed by the emphasis put on things old, antiquated (antiques), historical and horse related. I saw little emphasis placed on things new, modern, progressive or growth-oriented. It still amazes me that an industrial plant the size of DuPont ever got in this area. Maybe being located on the other side of the river made a difference.

It almost seems like Camden sees itself as a little Charleston, a city that could be one of the most dominant ports on the East Coast, but never will because the “Preservation Society” attitude will never let it move out of the “Gone With the Wind” mentality.

A perfect example of the stuck in the past attitude is the current talk of returning Broad Street to two lanes. Can you imagine how proud the people were of the progress they had made when it was widened to four lanes? Can you imagine the lack of understanding they would have for people who would want to give up that progress? (A prime example of regressing to the past.)

Now, for those who disagree with my viewpoint, that’s OK. Any healthy discourse has an element of disagreement. And before you advise me to go back where I came from, remember, I said earlier I like Camden. My point is just that I think it could be so much more than it is if we would only change our attitude and emphasis.

I’m a little envious of York County with their recent announcement of 5,400 new jobs, and Chester County with 1,700 new jobs. And it saddens me to know that it probably will never happen here because it would require a significant change in attitude and emphasis -- one that recognizes there is, relatively speaking, only minimal jobs associated with tourism and horses.

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