The primary is tomorrow for Conshohocken’s Borough Council. In Ward 5, both primaries are uncontested. Democrat Jane Flanagan, who currently represents Ward 5, is running to retain the seat she was appointed to in 2016. The Republican running is Paul Horning.
We submitted the questions to both candidates, well actually we tried too. Horning did not respond to a Facebook message, so we sent the questions to the local Republican leader asking him to pass them along. We did not receive a response. The Republicans don’t even have a website listing their candidates (that we can find). The last post on its Facebook page was about Seth Williams. Not one post about any of its candidates. It is like they don’t even try.
Anyhow, Flanagan did respond to our questions. Here they are below:
How long have you lived in Conshohocken?
I grew up on Walnut Street, attended St.Matthew’s Elementary School and graduated from Archbishop Kennedy High School. I even attended my first semester at MCCC on Fayette Street. I started my first preschool on Hector Street opening in 1976. I lived in Lafayette Hill for 28 years. My husband and I moved back to the original preschool in 2014. So, I am happily back in my old neighborhood. If you count the years, I lived in Conshohocken for over 34 years. In my heart, I never left.
After graduating from MCCC, I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Temple University and my Master’s degree in Educational Administration at Arcadia University.
I am a former businesswoman, preschool teacher, child care director, and high school teacher. For 30 years, my husband, Jim, and I owned and operated Flanagan’s Preschools. When we sold the business, we had 2 locations, Conshohocken and Collegeville. We had 70 employees and provided early education and care to 300 children and peace of mind to their parents. I then taught at Central Montco Technical High School for 10 years. I developed their Early Childhood Education program which prepares students to either go directly to work in a preschool, or to go to college and become an elementary school teacher.
Favorite Place that isn’t Conshohocken?
I spent my childhood vacations in Dushore, PA at my Dad’s and uncles’ hunting cabin. I love the serenity of the woods.
If not the incumbent, how many meetings of Borough Council have you attended in the past year?
What do you think is the main issue facing Conshohocken?
Traffic and speeding on our residential streets are great concerns of mine.
What issue do you think is made too much of?
People tend to focus on small issues, like taking down the dangerous playground equipment at Mary Wood Park. We saw an imminent danger and removed it before someone was injured.
The new Borough Hall has been open for more than a year now. The retail spaces facing Fayette Street remain empty. What do you think could be done to encourage businesses to lease these spaces?
Council has been discussing modifying some of the restrictions that were place on who could rent. Originally, to preserve the unique ambiance of Conshohocken, no retail chains were considered. Also, we are in the middle of drafting a new Comprehensive Plan. Often, businesses want to see the current plan for the future before committing to rental space.
What is the one issue that most drives your desire to serve on Borough Council?
I feel a debt of gratitude to the town. I was lucky enough to grow up here, playing at the parks, walking to the library, taking art lessons at the Park House, and enjoying the safety of a small town. When my husband and I applied for the zoning approval to open the first child care center in the area, Borough Council, the Planning Commission and Zoning Board were supportive. Conshohocken has played a critical role in my life and I would like to continue working to preserve and improve our town for present and future residents.
Borough Council is about to take up the proposed Special Zoning District 4, which would allow for the hotel, larger office buildings, etc., along the unit block of Fayette between West Elm and West First Avenue back to Robinson Alley. What are your concerns for this project and what benefits to you think it could bring?
I believe the benefits will outweigh any concerns. This Council has hammered out an equitable plan that will address current and future traffic flow.We negotiated for 150 public parking spaces to be added to the block. The development will serve as the gateway to Conshohocken. For property owners, the new revenue from the development will help keep our property taxes among the lowest in Montgomery County.