Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hobart's Run Getting Up and Running

Surprisingly sharp photo by Evan Brandt
Pottstown Police Sgt. Ed Kropp Jr., left, and Licensing and Inspections Director Keith Place address the third Hobart's Run meeting, held Wednesday at Mount Olive Baptist Church.

The Hobart's Run effort to revitalize and stabilize the area around The Hill School campus seems to be hitting its stride.

Following up on community meetings at the Ricketts Center and Goodwill Firehouse, director Twila Fisher met with about two dozen residents in the basement of Mount Olive Baptist Church Wednesday evening.

And to be better able to answer questions she brought not only Randy Doaty, The Hill School's director of security and a Pottstown native, but two members of the police department and the borough's director of Licensing and Inspections.

Doaty reviewed the conception of the idea for Hobart's Run, which came from the James Street Improvement District in Lancaster, and was officially kicked off in January with Fisher's hiring.

Doaty also explained how both Lancaster and The Hill School have successfully used street-facing cameras to help reduce crime.

Fisher said Hobart's Run is initiating a "bike ambassador" program which will put more residents on the streets, getting to know neighbors and being better attuned when something is amiss.
The cards Kropp handed out.

On the same subject, Kropp, who heads the department's Community Response Unitt, handed out cards explaining how to give police tips on drugs and quality of life issues, and answered questions about the best ways to work with the police.

They are busy, having received 24,000 calls for service in 2015.

Officer Greg Fritz explained how abandoned cars should be reported to police.

Place said at this time of year, the most likely quality of life code violations are grass that is too high, trash or people putting household furniture on their porch.

Fisher said a clean-up of the 300 block of Queen Street has been arranged for April 30.

"Simple things make a big difference when there is a joint effort on the block," said Fisher.

The meeting wrapped up with John Armato, director of community relations for the Pottstown School District, giving a characteristically enthusiastic run-down of some of the programs that make the district -- one of the oldest in the state -- unique.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting.

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