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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Coudersport Councilman Posts Reflection On Arboretum Sale Proceedings

Bryan Welsh

I should have posted his days ago but between other issues arising and work and home life, I didn't see the severity of the situation until I had a second to examine and reflect.

What I'm hearing and seeing is the anger and hatred being directed at the councilmen who voted to put the arboretum lot up for bid, in particular, councilman Husson. Anger and frustration I can understand, this being a very emotional issue,but the vitrol and sheer spite that is floating around is extremely disappointing.

Let's jump in our T.A.R.D.I.S. and go back 6 months ago, when we were looking at the loss of our pool. Many people had given up on it. Todd Husson and Angela, his wife stepped up and organized the most incredible community effort this town has seen since FDR was in office! It was a community effort, but Todd's conviction is what turned this from another " remember when..." into a " look at our new...."

Listen folks, I don't like how this situation developed either. But here is an old saying," attack the idea, not the thinker." Councilman Husson made it clear from day 1 where he stood on this issue. He didn't beat around the bush and stood solid in his view. I have nothing but respect for him. I considered him a friend before I was elected to council and will continue to stand by him . I don't toss friends under busses.

We may see things differently and come to different answers to the tough issues that we face as elected representatives. But we all are trying to do the best job we can for all of the residents of the Boro.

Thank you,
Bryan Welsh, Coudersport Boro council, ward 1

28 comments :

Anonymous said...

I read the comments after your last essay and some were as you point out uncalled for. Some of the criticism's were valid though. The comments about the failure to respect the heritage that is celebrated at the arboretum exactly the way it is and where it is were valid. Some other people (like you on the Council) who devoted themselves to the community are memorialized there. I feel like those honorable ancestors and all of the people who donated money and volunteer hours to celebrate our heritage (including the railroad) and memorialize those who have passed, they are the ones getting thrown under the train so to speak. Those are valid criticism's and council members need to think about that. Personal attacks are absolutely uncalled for. You are right about that.

Anonymous said...

We donated to the pool and were very proud of how the town came through. But a lot of that joy and pride has disappeared for us and many others who answered the call to save our pool when we learned that, even after that, the boro council is trying to sell part of the arboretum that is also a cherished part of our town. This is not a personal criticism against one council man but it is a complaint that we are feeling betrayed by the decision that the boro council majority made.

Anonymous said...

Is the aboretum being relocated? I'm assuming so-but where?

Anonymous said...

Great points, Bryan. Two things bother me and the questions are being avoided which makes me suspicious.
First is, from an ethical standpoint, how can Councilman Husson justify raising this issue that was JUST PUT TO BED BY A MAJORITY VOTE OF ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS IN MAY during the next meeting when the deck is stacked because one Council Member is absent? Isn't that an action to circumvent the will of the majority and try to have one's own way? If I were in your shoes Bryan, this would disturb me and it would not be personal. Your right to inlfuence such an important decision was basically taken away from you as a Council Member because of that conniving action.
Second is, what is really going on with these Housing Development Agency directors (Goodenough, Buckler, Vaughan, Wilcox and Wolfanger)? Why are those guys buying up two more houses down in that area and bending over so far backwards to get our arboretum moved? And what's the truth about that petition that those guys were supposedly having an employee circulate? None of that seems right to me. Where did the money come from to buy the signatures for it?
Like you said Bryan, asking questions is fine but personal attacking is not. Those are questions and there have to be answers and truths to be shared when it comes to both of them.
Let's hear from the people who know the answers. They should not pretend they don't see this and hope it rolls to the bottom of the scroll again.

Anonymous said...

Change is hard, but no change is dangerous. We need change, so why not let it be positive change. The arboretum is not a sacred place...like a cemetery or burial grounds. It's going to be beautiful regardless of where it is placed. It's called compromise and those who find it too difficult to move forward and allow for change can't seem to find the positive aspects of CHANGE. My mother always said "you can't please all of the people all of the time"... so very true. Let's just move on people, enjoy the arboretum and the potential it will have in its new home. AND enjoy the benefits of an expanding Coudersport economy as well.

Anonymous said...

Move an arboretum?Your folks definition of an arboretum as a memorial, railroad history site etc.doesn't fit.You can put that caboose and war memorial anywhere.I'm sure who ever sold the land that is currently being called an arboretum is snickering over this current business.If you visited the Curtis or Morris Arboretums you would learn that an arboretum is for the display of trees and vegetation.We have not heard yet from the tree expert who was originally consulted for the design and planting of the current arboretum as to their opinion.How exactly do you MOVE an arboretum?

Anonymous said...

Whoa 8:23. "Benefits of an expanding Coudersport economy?" Explain how selling out to a corporation so it can out-compete our beer retailers and restaurants is a good thing? Our locals, who keep our money in this community, are scratching to stay in business while franchises suck more money out to deliver it to corporate coffers and reward shareholders who do not live here. How is that an economic benefit? Look around at McDonald's, Sheetz, DG, Rite Aid and others who have gradually infiltrated this town to take money away from us.

Anonymous said...

Businesses coming into any town create jobs and income which is 'money'. The other businesses in town have to become more competitive and efficient to survive. Competition is good for the consumer. If one restaurant or beer joint has a monopoly on the town, then they can charge the customers whatever they want. I'll take competition any day .

Anonymous said...

10:32 - Is Sheetz really going to compete with local business? Are they going to expand their store and immediately sell beer? (that's a question not a statement) As I understand it, there are liquor license requirements that need to be satisfied and if they were to sell alcohol it would only be by the 6 pack and not the case. In addition, don't forget that the local distributors (which are both outstanding in their own ways) will still be able to distribute to bars and restaurants in the county where as Sheetz would not. I could be wrong, but as 11:05 noted, business coming to town creates jobs and income and in light of what main street looks like these days I would welcome any addition that was willing to invest in the community.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean there will finally be more room to fuel up at Sheetz? That would be nice!!!

Anonymous said...

It's my opinion that we shouldn't build a new library because some of Mitchell Park will be disrupted. Trees have been planted in that park to honor some very important individuals and may need to be removed. So sad that many families have used that park for years and if the new library is build one of our most established parks will no longer be as family friendly. I'm not a big fan of expanding Sheetz but I believe that it is the right thing to do. The local developers may be able to find a new location to build but then we will have yet another empty store front on our main thoroughfare in town. The town is already plagued with empty store fronts so a deserted Sheetz store would not add much value to our tourism. I would think that many out of town visitors that stop at Sheetz would love to walk around in the arboretum but because of the limited parking they just keep going to the next small town that welcomes out of town guests. Let us not forget that Sheetz has created jobs and pays a great deal of taxes to keep our little town moving forward. Please don't shoot Mr. Husson for thinking beyond today. The point is that with every change something will need to be compromised. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

I am getting a huge kick out of the fact that the questions asked by 6:54 are once again being ignored and the small network of people that want the borough to sell out are at it again on this string of comments. That Mitchell Park/Library analogy was a real stretch there, Bucko.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Sheetz, why is gas $2.33 at Lantz Corner but $2.49 in Port Allegany, they have bled every town dry with the high prices ...... Keep your park people!! oh and Port has an empty Sheetz in Port which adds to there town decor ........

Anonymous said...

Again, why is council doing this. A vote that took place in May was to leave the arboratum where it is. Period.

Anonymous said...

That's another greedy situation in Port

Angie said...

That's a positive look on things, which is nice to see. Thank you. And thanks to Bryan for respecting differing opinions. I appreciate what you wrote.
There are a number of people who feel that both parties can benefit from a change like this and it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. It's very possible that if the arboretum were moved to a new location and/or spread out through the town to help beautify some of our spaces that could use the help, a project like that could be led by the Arboretum's committee members so they had control over what goes where and an interested high school senior could make it their senior project. Some of our Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops could get involved, and 6th graders may be interested in participating to help transplant and learn a few things about planting and gardening, in general. I'm sure students in other grades would also like the opportunity to help in a project like this. Asking young people to be a part of moving this piece of the arboretum could very well help to attract a younger generation toward continuing the same care, concern, and respect that its founders have dedicated. Just as our kids were enthusiastic to help save the pool, I think many of them would want to see us keep our Sheetz here in town and help in whatever way they can to also keep the arboretum. Sheetz made a presentation for what their new build would look like and it included lights that are dark skies friendly. There could be less light emitted than the current building emits now. If there was a new build of the Sheetz, the caboose would also be moved to a new location, making the wall of honor more visible from the street and to passersby. The parking lot would be safer and parking would be easier, which is one of the main issues that many people would like to see fixed. I think these things would be improvements. The founders of the Arboretum have done such a beautiful job and it is a quiet and tranquil space that many people enjoy, including myself and my kids. My youngest especially loves the herb garden. We are pro-arboretum and pro-plants and flowers and trees and having beautiful spaces to spend a peaceful moment in and we are sensitive to the fact that those things were planted in memory of people's loved ones whom they've lost, but we also feel that when the need comes for compromise to be made in order to keep one of our few businesses that has been a steady employer for several years, a convenience to people both local and from out of town, and a business that many visit on a regular basis (some, literally every single day), we should figure something out to keep them here. The potential for an empty, eyesore of a building being left on a Main Street corner of our town is a poor impression to make on visitors and locals and if it can be avoided, we should try to make that happen. The arboretum can be kept, but it can be moved and rearranged and maybe made even more welcoming in a better location. Can we all get together and figure something out? This should not be a battle. This is a community problem that needs to be solved and I think we can come up with an answer that will be fair to all involved - the people who created the arboretum, the borough and taxpayers, Sheetz and their patrons and employees and yes, even to those interested in buying the land.

I would also like to add that there is zero financial interest or gain to be made by myself or my husband by the sale of the borough's property. We also have no personal interest, as I literally do not even know the man who wants to buy the space to lease it out. I would simply like to see people come together and make decisions and progress rather than remain stagnant and potentially cause even more loss in this town.

Anonymous said...

Bryan, you are very classy, and I appreciate your integrity and morals.

I would also recommend that anyone that wants to understand Husson's reasoning talk to him directly rather than accuse loudly. I've spoken to him, and whether or not I agree with his POV or the way he proceeded, he has some valid points.

I honestly believe the boro was up against a rock and a hard place and either way, we were going to lose. Sheetz is big enough to figure out a plan B... it was going to happen, and were most likely going to be stuck with an empty Sheetz building to haunt us forever, like Port A has.

We are fighting a losing battle if we fight against change, unfortunately.
The trick is to accept it as gracefully as possible and remember that different people have different ideas on how to do that. Let's not let big companies tear the heart of our small town apart, because when it comes down to it, our community is made of PEOPLE and not buildings or land and they can't take that away from us. Support local. Support one another. Quit the bashing.

Thanks again, Bryan!

Simple Simon said...

You are a bunch of vane and foolish people. Your town is dying and the only things that are keeping it breathing are the chain stores that are still located there. So a handful of people each day stroll through the current arboretum while hundreds of people stream thru sheetz on a daily basis. Why don't you recover some of the land from that $10 million dollar eyesore that you ended up with....I believe the county still owns the property. Slide that "arboreteum backwards into the semi-vacant parking lot that Zitomedia uses for the storage of all of it's equipment "free of charge" and allow sheetz to expand as needed. Solve both problems...Arboretum is in virtually the same "historical" place and the store expands to continue serving the community.

Anonymous said...

Why compare to ole porty potty, it will always be a hithole after their stupid decision to demolish The Canoe Place Inn for a Sheetz, learn from it Coudy, if you can get money for a amazing new park go for it, the new serinty park sucks snd is werid and yep the old sheetz is a eyesore

dan cobb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sheeetz should simple move across the street by Riteaid... It would be a much wiser choice.

Angie said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

That sounds simple enough.

Anonymous said...

Why would you not want change. You pushed Walmart out. Then what you thought would stay JC Penny left. Now there is nothing. You people need to look outside the box. These bigger stores wanna come in and you don't want that. Why? They offer insurance, job stability, and the list goes on. If you don't accept the change you will look like Austin. The town is dying and you don't wanna help. I personally don't like traveling an hour to buy things. Why not have it local. Lets face it the little guy can't do it on his own anymore.

Bryan Welsh said...

I will be setting up a page on Facebook tentatively called "Lets talk!" as a contact point and general way for me to try and answer any questions or concerns.

It will hopefully enable me to address things in a more timely manner. I'll also be putting my cell number and email addy there to share with those who don't use Facebook. Feel free to contact me any time. I will be spending a lot more time at 129 main street as my wife and I are opening an art studio and used book store there. Feel free to stop me if you see me on the street. Open communication is integral to any relationship whether it's personal,business,orgovernmental.

Anonymous said...

Angie your comments are interesting. Can you address the ethics of a councilman bringing up the issue when it is not on the agenda and the vote has been rigged because one councilman was absent? Can you also respond to those who chose that park in that location to donate their money and memorialize their loved ones and those who worked so hard to make it what it is, where it is? You think it's okay to disrespect and betray those people most you probably don't know so a convenience store can further invade the local economy and grab a share of the tiny beer market in Coudersport?

Angie said...

My opinion simply states what I think is better for our town, as a whole, in the long run. Todd should have lost that vote 3-2, in favor of doing nothing, he didn't go into it thinking he would win, one of the council members switched his vote. The previous vote was 4-2 for doing nothing. As for the agenda, things get added to meetings all the time. A councilman's vote last month to do nothing was not on the agenda, the vote was supposed to be to sell the land or continue the process of a land swap. 18 months ago, everyone unanimously voted to do a land swap, it was never a discussion to do nothing until last month. That was also confirmed with another vote that would make Kudrick land swap the first choice. Potter Lands was the second choice for a land swap. All of these were unanimous votes to swap land for the expansion of Sheetz.

I don't feel it is disrespectful to those who gave money and time to memorialize their loved ones, I think that these memorials would be better off in a new location. I believe the main problem here is that people thought the land belonged to the arboretum as if they had bought it or paid rent for the space, but it is and always was the borough's land and the borough has been faced with a difficult decision to make. They are allowed to do whatever they want with the land. Again, Todd is not a dictator of what happens to the borough's property. If you do not like the choices that he makes, please do me a favor and vote him out of office in two years. It cuts into our family time and I'd love to have that back.
If you look at Todd's voting record, you'll see that all of his votes have been to improve the borough and do what's best for it, whether it was saving the basketball and tennis courts, saving the pool, giving businesses the freedom
to place their signs where they want, inspecting the channel to ensure people's homes and businesses would not be declared in a flood zone, thus requiring flood insurance...etc., etc. The goal is to enhance both properties, it is not about destruction and he means no disrespect to those who are memorialized there. If this were a cemetery, I can understand why people would be so upset, but this is simply a space where there is vegetation planted in honor of people. Vegetation can be transplanted and rearranged. Not an easy task, I know, but big, concrete buildings left empty on the corner of a main road in your small town? Much more difficultly to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Coudersport was dumb enough to bet all their chips on one business before. Now they want to do it for a stupid convenience store? Put your efforts to attracting "real" stores. Til then, my money is going out of town.