Is anybody paying attention? The architectural firm designing the addition to the courthouse is in the process of laying an egg in the center of historic downtown Stroudsburg, a building that would be more fitting for an Interstate off-ramp office park. The drawings look like something ordered from a mail order catalog. Where is the Historical Architectural Review Board? This is the group that closely monitors rain gutters and window styles, but somehow approves a glass box adjacent to an 18th Century town square? And the borough? Are they paying attention? They object to the Ramsey School becoming an upscale apartment house with historic facade, but have no problem with this monstrosity right in the center of town?
Twain said, "History doesn’t repeat itself, but often rhymes." 40 odd years ago the county went through similar paroxysms deciding where to put a new jail. Some thought it ought to go right where the current courthouse expansion is proposed. But the county commissioners stubbornly insisted that the downtown should be preserved, they built the county lockup in Hamilton Township.
Which raises interesting questions: Why not build the new court rooms adjacent to the jail? Think of the advantages: The county owns the land, so there would be no loss of tax ratables. Construction in the open spaces would be much cheaper, as opposed to cramming a huge construction project in the downtown. And thousands or more would be saved every year by eliminating the cost of transporting prisoners back and forth from jail to courtrooms. Stroudsburg may not be Williamsburg. But it is an historic town with a wonderful ambiance and a beautiful, historic town square. Do we— and our visitors— really want to gaze at a glass box when we visit the farmers’ market?
Vacation Bureau, where are you?
Merlyn Clarke, Stroud Township