1/13/2005

L. Merion planners back demolitions in Ardmore — Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, 12/13/05

By Matthew P. Blanchard

A Lower Merion Township [PA] plan to demolish eight buildings in downtown Ardmore took another step forward Tuesday night, as the Planning Commission lent its formal endorsement in a 5-2 vote.

Business owners threatened with relocation have spent a year making impassioned speeches against the plan. Slated for demolition is Pennywise Thrift Shop, a charity that has donated more than $3 million to patient care at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital since it opened in the 1960s. "It seems as though no matter what we do, nobody's listening," manager Bobbi Simons said.

Robert Fox, Planning Commission cochairman, said the use of eminent domain was justified because the township had a public purpose: to revitalize Ardmore as a whole. The eight businesses are adjacent to the site of a new train station, which planners say will anchor a more vibrant Ardmore. The dispute appears destined for the courts but will first head to the Montgomery County Planning Commission. No date has been set for that hearing.


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