Wednesday, November 30, 2016

About Swarthmore and HEADstrong

Very little we have written recently has generated the kind of reaction as the situation that is playing out in Swarthmore.

That is where HEADstrong, the organization founded by former start Ridley athlete Nick Colleluori to help cancer victims and their families, is seeking the OK to use a house in the borough as a temporary residence for some of those patients. Cancer eventually took Colleluori's life, but the foundation he founded continues to help cancer victims and their families every day.

But they've encountered some opposition to their plans from a few neighbors. They have concerns about traffic, safety, parking and the effect on their neighborhood.

The reaction on social media is about what you'd expect. They are being attacked relentlessly.

On today's editorial page, we weighed in on the subject, urging Swarthmore Borough Council to reject the neighbors' request and approve HEADstrong's plans for the house.

But first I would like to point a few things out.

One thing many people have wondered about is why the story only included the negative reactions from some neighbors. They wondered if no one spoke in favor of the plan. The truth is that this was not the first hearing on the proposal, and not the first time we've written about it. HEADstrong made their case at a previous hearing, which we covered, while this one was to give those opposed the floor.

Also my thanks to Christine Reuther. She is the local attorney who is representing HEADstrong in this matter. She pointed out that the objections are being raised by just a few people, while most of the borough has been most receptive and helpful to HEADstrong's plans.

One longtime reader and Swarthmore resident who is very active on social media despaired at the way the town was being savaged on Facebook and the comments section of DelcoTimes.com. It's a legitimate point. This is not the view of the majority of residents.

As usual when we report on this kind of local controversy, the Philly TV stations beat a path to these folks' doors. You can check out a couple of them here and here.

You can read our editorial here.

All of this prompted a great quip from a co-worker here at the Daily Times. He wondered that if people were upset by HEADstrong's plan, why was there no outpouring of emotion when they learned we would be moving our offices to South Chester Road? Of course, technically we're actually located in Springfield Township, but you get the drift.

Those rascally, unsavory newspaper types sullying the fine environs of Swarthmore? There goes the neighborhood.

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