Noel Jones has a good post asking what’s wrong with Phillipsburg on its 150 year anniversary:
In this Express-Times article by Sarah Wojcik, the mayor seems to be predict a big turnaround for PBurg, but he doesn’t seem to have any concrete reasons for why he thinks it’s going to happen, and the people aren’t buying it. Apparently the community is told every few years that they are going to get a new high school, but it hasn’t happened yet. And they keep getting told that the old Ingersoll-Rand property is going to get developed by outside investors (which sounds kind of like our old Simon Silk Mill in Easton) but they never come. There seems to be a general lament of insufficient marketing of the steam train, which should be a great tourist attraction for the town, and accusations expressed in the comments to the article that the city government is in the poverty business, something we hear residents grumbling about here in Easton regularly. Considering that our neighbor shares the Delaware with us, is just a stone’s-throw away and will get a passenger train stop before we do (if we ever do), why is PBurg suffering so much that it’s young people don’t even have any place to go have fun and be creative at night?
No mayor wants to say his town is doomed, but it’s hard to see how the fundamentals support any other conclusion. Phillipsburg has a pretty decent downtown core to work with, but you can’t see it from Easton. Insofar as their downtown is going to see any new economic life, they’re pretty much attached at the hip with Easton. Any revitalization strategy hinges on tricking tourists into believing that Easton and Phillipsburg are the same city and getting them to cross the bridge. A waterfront development project would probably have the most payoff on this front.