IN just a few days, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, residents in Sharon and Hermitage will be able to take a trip down East State Street without dodging traffic cones and construction workers.
In fact, it looks like the whole construction mess will be cleaned up well before the students head back to school.
That’s great news.
But now that the work is done, and we have a roundabout in Sharon and another on the way in Hermitage, perhaps it is time to consider something else, especially in light of the great news that hit the papers this past week.
We need to look much more carefully at what is being built where — and to set even more standards for what we will accept and what we won’t.
In some communities that have faced hardships, the path back never really takes a high road.
Any dollars are good dollars. And any business tenant is a good one.
It is important that we expect more than that.
Up and coming areas look very closely at zoning, development plans and the type of investment they welcome inside their borders.
Hermitage is getting ready to take a comprehensive and hard look at setting or revising some of those rules. Sharon should do the same.
Getting rid of blight in this community — industrial and residential — is a great first step. But making sure we set the kind of rules that keep it from creeping back into our neighborhoods, that is how we stop ourselves from getting into this situation again.
Buying up dilapidated properties and turning them into something good — even if it is only a land bank — is how we ditch the rundown areas that send exactly the wrong message to investors and potential new residents.
We need to get tough on absentee owners and those whose interests preclude taking care of a home or piece of property they own.
We need better places for people to live if we are going to attract young families and others to our area.
So setting better rules and enforcing them is how we get that accomplished.
And while we are talking about it, a thought.
We need a strong downtown Sharon as well as a growing and vibrant mall area in Hermitage if we are going to change our fortunes.
We have to be careful what we welcome and watch out for profiteers and others whose self-interests are turning them into economic development speed bumps.
There are some people who see a community’s misfortunes as a chance to build their own.
We have to keep our eyes peeled for those who have that plan for this region.
There has been good news in our community.
Setting a careful and thoughtful path forward, that is how we get even more.