What happens next in Coraopolis?

What happens next in Coraopolis?

Today marks three months since I announced this campaign, and one month since the election. And today, I want to remind everyone, however, this was never about me … it’s about you.    Over the next several months, this website will be transforming from a campaign website to a community engagement website. 

You will read about activities and events; you will learn about our past and our future; you will have opportunity to step forward and lean in on the work that is happening. 

As you know, ideas only go so far, and fail to ignite without execution.  So in the coming months I will be asking for people to come forward and give their time and talents for the good of the community.  

The Advantages of a Better Community: Proximity and accessibility to other good places

The Advantages of a Better Community: Proximity and accessibility to other good places

We are the perfect location or launch for a day-trip. We happen to sit on the banks of the storied Ohio River, adjacent to a major US Interstate, a short drive from several other walkabout communities, and the potential starting point for a thousand journeys.  We have it all at our disposal: city, suburb, woodland, farmland, and everything in between, plus the public transportation to provide the ride. Our rivers and hills here are easy on the eyes, and create interesting landscapes in all seasons.

The Advantages of a Better Community: Strong institutional foundations: schools, churches, organizations

The Advantages of a Better Community: Strong institutional foundations: schools, churches, organizations

Most historians agree that the fabric of any society is stronger when the institutions in that society are healthy and vibrant.  I personally believe that as the institutions go, so goes the whole community.  Our schools, churches and organizations must serve as our foundations, and here in Coraopolis as in other cities and towns, that has always been the case.  We have both history and opportunity here today. Greater involvement and commitment must be a consideration, for all of us. If not in a school, church, or club, then in some other way. The increase in community good and measurable progress rarely happens from a single person, but in groups of people – and groups with common goals and values. 

The Advantages of a Better Community: Forward-Thinking Planning

The Advantages of a Better Community: Forward-Thinking Planning

I may be the only official candidate for mayor but our campaign is just getting started.  Forward-thinking planning is essential. Signs of forward-thinking planning are visible, from an updated borough headquarters to recreational areas to building renovations. These will serve us very soon, but will also serve future generations. Technology, greenspaces, infrastructure, clean water, business-friendly management, strength in public safety and education, and community networking – these are the hallmarks of cities and towns who are thinking ahead. And while we acknowledge that we’re not getting top marks in each and every area yet, I am convinced we will.  There are so many of you committed to seeing this through.  Keep your eyes out for more signs of forward-thinking in the months to come – I’m committed to them!

The Advantages of a Better Community: Clean and Aesthetically Pleasing

The Advantages of a Better Community: Clean and Aesthetically Pleasing

Thank you to the homes and businesses that have recently raised the bar in Coraopolis. A town like ours can, and will, see façade and structural improvements. We can access opportunities to collectively and intentionally make Coraopolis more beautiful. Let’s keep the momentum going.  A can of paint and a bottle of Windex can go a long way. This week’s question is NOT about pointing to others, but about ourselves.  What can YOU do different, and what will YOU commit yourself to improving your own space? 

The Advantages of a Better Community: Historically Proud

Advantages Explored!

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, On Self-Reliance

I’ve always found comfort in those words.  Hasn’t each of us realized that we probably have more in common with each other than we first thought? I’m not saying that our likes and tastes are all the same (that would be boring), but that our basic hopes and desires look – in the end – very similar.  

Over the next few months, I want to explore in more detail the Advantages of a Better Community, one at a time, in no specific order. These are, to me, the “common denominators” of good community. In some ways, they are reflective of the foundations that already exist here in Coraopolis; in other ways, they are aspirational. Some will resonate with you more than others, but I think you’ll agree they all are advantages we seek. They are the advantages I am working for each day.   I look forward to your own thoughtful comments!


The Advantages of a Better Community: #6 – Historically Proud

No April Fool’s joke: Our original name was Middletown!

According to local historian Stacey Christe, whose love of history and community inspired her to singled-handedly bring us the most thorough and comprehensive archive of our town in her website, Coraopolis History Archive, the name Coraopolis was not the town founders’ first choice.  From the website:

Coraopolis Station 1890s.jpg
Before it was Coraopolis, in the 1870s it was the town located at Middletown Station on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, named such because it was midway between Pittsburgh and Beaver. Regional residents often referred to Middletown as ‘on the Ohio River, 12 miles West of Pittsburg(h)’ so as not to confuse it with Middletown, CT on the Connecticut River, or other more well-developed regions. Alternately, it was also referred to as being ‘on Montour’s Bottom’, a flat region alongside Montour Run named for Andrew “Henry” Montour, a celebrated Native-American interpreter and diplomat, to which the land was first granted.
— Coraopolis History Archive

We should be grateful today that we aren’t called “Montour’s Bottom” – or we’d really have an identity crisis!

Now I’ll be honest with you, I wrote a press release yesterday (March 31) in which I proposed, as a campaign platform, to change the town’s name back to Middletown.  It was, of course, an April Fool’s joke, and a follow-up press released would have announced as much.  However, as much as we all appreciate a good joke, it seemed inappropriate to allow for one more jab to hit us. We are Coraopolis, and we’re proud of how we all got here.   We have so much history, and so many reasons to be proud.

Did you know, for instance, that Coraopolis – often center for heated debate around education – made two significant contributions to modern educational practice? In 1955, Dr. Harry Houtz published a six year study in the National Education Journal demonstrating that phonics was a more effective way of teaching reading, and in 1957, Herbert Snell published his study of performance-based academic tracking in junior high, which became widely adopted.  (Pennsylvania PTA Call to Convention 2012 vol87, no.3, page2.)  





Further, did you know that Coraopolis was one of the first towns of its size to have its own water source?  According to an article published in 1907:

The civic spirit that always existed is well illustrated by the manner in which municipal affairs have been administered. The result is that there is possibly no other town of its size in the country which has advanced so far in the solution of many ordinarily bothersome problems. The borough owns its own electric light plant and water system and is operating them at a profit. It has a complete and modern sewage system and when additions now under way are completed will have nearly five miles of well paved streets… Dozens of boroughs of double its age and double its population cannot boast of such an array of improvements.
— The Gazette Times, May 12, 1907 “Coraopolis Growing Suburb” page 1.

Stacey Christe adds “Based on the newspapers, it was clearly a source of pride that Coraopolis had its own independent source of water. This was used as a selling point for area real estate.”

You don’t have to walk around town very long to see the history in our homes, business, churches and other structures. My personal favorite, our historic Train Station, is being lovingly restored back to its original splendor, and will be one of the crowning jewels of our community’s pride in the coming years.  Many of you have histories of your own that go back generations. There is a wonderful sense of pride that emerges when we all talk about our past; we also are hearing a new tone of pride and hope when we talk about our future.

You tell me: what about our history makes you most proud? We’d love to hear your own stories and see your own pictures of Coraopolis’s past.  You can email us or post!  Oh, and if you want a copy of the press release that didn’t go out last night, shoot me an email.

Shawn P. Reed
Democrat Candidate for Mayor

The Advantages of a Better Community: Opportunities for Kind, Smart People to Make a Difference

The Advantages of a Better Community: Opportunities for Kind, Smart People to Make a Difference

Someone asked me very recently “how do you plan on accomplishing all that you’re trying to do if you become mayor?”  I quickly replied “with your help.” Because the circles of one life overlap the circles of another, a network gets built, and those who have each other in common begin to affect change.  Or more simply put: kind and smart people of every walk of life need to come off the sidelines, and into the game.  Coraopolis is abundant with opportunities for involvement and impact, and that will only continue in the years to come.