A lot happened in MoreThanTheCurve.com’s coverage area in 2017. Here is what we believe to be the Top 10 stories, some of which will continue into 2018.
In no particular order:
- The solicitor for Conshohocken, Michael Savona, is cooperating with a federal investigation in Bucks County that has led to three people (a judge, a constable and a director of public safety) being indicted. The indictments include transcripts which detail a bribery scheme that allegedly show Savona as an active participant. Savona was booted (well they let him resign) from his law firm and as the solicitor in several municipalities. Related to this story (but not part of the indictments) is an article published by The Bucks County Courier Post, which details how Savona continued to participate in a development application in Bucks County after he recused himself. None of this directly impacts Conshohocken, other than it needed to get a new lawyer. However, if this was standard operating procedure for Savona, and not isolated to his job as a solicitor for a Bucks County municipality, there could be ramifications to come (FYI, he recused himself from the Wawa issue in Conshohocken).
- We knew we would get a reaction when we pointed out the Democratic Party controlled Borough Council in Conshohocken voted to give its insurance business to an insurance broker that employs Jason Salus, who is the area leader for the Democratic Party and is also the elected treasurer for Montgomery County. What we didn’t expect was a call from an advertiser who allegedthat Salus had called him and warned him of his continued support of MoreThanTheCurve.com. The warning came with the caveat that information would be released exposing us as being anti-Semitic. If you missed it, here is our response. If you want to read a response from local elected Democrats, good luck, they ignored the whole thing. Salus is still the Area Leader.
- Things got strange at the end of the year for the Colonial School District’s School Board. Four new members joined forces with two members, who carried over from the previous board, to amend an agenda at the re-organization meeting. What was this important item? Instructing the Superintendent to issue a RFP to seek proposals from law firms for the position of solicitor for the board. Three members who carried over from the previous board objected and voiced their concerns that the process wasn’t transparent. This led to an outcry from parents and students attending the meeting. In the end, it didn’t matter. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-3. Watch the video here (start it at 20:00). The video really shows the outrage of the public. The next meeting of the school board is January 4th at 7:00 p.m. and a selection for solicitor should be made then.
- It had been seven years since a “Super” Wawa was first mentioned as a possibility at 12th and Fayette. Over that seven years the proposal was voted down by the Planning Commission, Borough Council and the Zoning Hearing Board. This year, the developers made a new application (that wasn’t really new) and it passed Borough Council by a vote of four to three. An appeal was filed by nearby property owners on December 14th, so expect to hear more about this in 2018.
- Conshohocken’s Borough Council voted to create a new zoning district, which would allow for a major redevelopment of the western side of the unit block of Fayette Street. The redevelopment calls for a hotel, two larger office buildings (to replace existing ones), a parking deck (to replace an existing one) and a public plaza.
- Democrats in Conshonocken, West Conshohocken, Plymouth Township and Whitemarsh Township won all but one race in the November election. Democrats now control all four municipalities and took the Mayor’s seat in Conshohoken and West Conshohocken.
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Cyclebar and 5 Wits all opened at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in 2017. The mall’s ownership, PREIT, is attempting to transform it to a destination for something other than shopping.
- A bunch of new restaurants opened in King of Prussia over the past year creating competition for diners and employees for Conshohocken’s dining scene. Whether King of Prussia can sustain that kind of growth will be interesting to see, along with how it will impact the independently owned restaurants in Conshohocken and on the Main Line.
- Conshohocken’s Borough Council sold Leeland Mansion, which at one time served as Conshohocken’s Borough Hall, to HOW Properties. The sale came with some protections, so the former mansion won’t be knocked down. HOW hasn’t officially released what its plan is for the property.
- Parks got an upgrade in 2017. Conshohocken fixed up its dog park, installed new playground equipment at Sutcliffe Park and 2nd Avenue Meadows, and added a walking track at A. A. Garthwaite Stadium.
Tell us if you think we missed anything.
Photos: Eastburn and Gray (bottom left), Cohen Partners (bottom middle), Keystone Property Group (bottom right).