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Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

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By STAN HUSKEY, EditorI have a plan.Makes sense, doesn't it?I mean, my name is Stan.Actually, I have more than one plan, so take a moment of your time and tell me what you think after you finish reading the column.

My telephone number, e-mail address and my blog are all at the bottom of the page so you really don't have an excuse for not weighing in on this one.Tell me my ideas are crazy.

Tell me my ideas are great, doesn't matter to me, just tell me something one way or another.Let's start with a performing arts center.

I know, I know, I've been talking about this plan for some time now, but it's a plan that has to be put into place.Norristown must have a destination point before it will ever pull itself out of the funk it's been in for the past few decades.

That's right, decades.

I'm getting ready to cross into my third decade here (I came in 1996), and I've heard stories since I arrived about how great Norristown used to be.I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of hearing about how great Norristown used to be.I didn't live here when it used to be great.

I want it to be great again.That's why its time for a performing arts center.A performing arts center will bring people to Norristown.

It's that simple.

People will come into Norristown on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to see a play or listen to music.

I already have the good police Chief Russell Bono on record promising uniformed officers on the street when the center is letting out so safety is not an issue.

We already have two good-sized garages so parking isn't an issue.Sounds like the making of a plan to me, but what else do we need?We need your support for our plan.However, if you don't like that plan, I have another.The old county prison sitting across from the courthouse should be converted into a haunted house before this Halloween.

There's still time.

Let's get it done.I know it's a little early for Halloween, which you may have been thinking after looking at my mug for this column, but planning something as big as converting a prison into a haunted house takes time.I have to confess that plan came to me rather easily.

I'll I had to do was open my mail and look down at a brochure for Eastern State Penitentiary.I know, I know, I've talked about this before, too.But this is a little different because this time the brochure is about the storming of the Bastille.

Eastern State Penitentiary is up and running nearly year round.I've probably talked about that before too, but neither one of those are the real plan.The real plan is putting it all together into one big plan.We should throw in the zoo, too.So what do we have, we have a zoo, which is already there, a performing arts center, which has the support of a pretty darn good group of people, and a county prison that is being used as a storage shed.Put them all together, and you have a reason for people to come to Norristown to spend the day.The zoo has a gift shop.

In the gift shop there are brochures for the performing arts center and the prison, because, if it's a good plan there's something going on at the prison/haunted house nearly year round.The performing arts center has a ticket booth and a lobby, both of which have brochures for the zoo and for the prison/haunted house, and, I think you're following the plan by now, but just for posterity's sake I'll keep going, and the prison/haunted house has a ticket booth that has brochures for the zoo and the performing arts center.With all three cross-promoting each other we'll have people running all over Norristown in no time.More than that, though, put them all together and you have a reason for other businesses to come to town to set up shop, because a businessman with a plan knows all of those people going to the zoo, or the haunted house, or the performing arts center are probably going to get hungry at some point in time.Call me crazy, and yes, I know a lot of you already do, but I think this plan is one that will work.

It's also a plan that will benefit the entire area, not just Norristown, so I want everyone to throw in their two cents on this one.

Stan Huskey is the editor of The Times Herald.

He can be reached at 610-272-2500 ext.

215 or at [email protected]

Check out Stan's Blog at
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