Kathy and I have heard this term Bedroom Community used loosely in reference to our little metropolis of Union City. So, what is a Bedroom Community? It’s defined as “towns and areas where the majority of residents commute elsewhere to work, typically a larger nearby city, and come home to sleep”. So is Union City a Bedroom Community? Well, not purely by definition as we do still have some industry and other forms of employment here. Although, since Covid we may have become more of a bedroom community as people have stopped commuting to work and are now working from home. Would being a “bedroom community” be such a bad thing? It wouldn’t mean we’ve given up on manufacturing or other businesses. It simply means we are embracing a future, setting priorities, and taking action towards making Union City a place where people can enjoy living and recreating with attractive and prime Housing, Safety and Well-Being, Childhood Education, Recreation, Fitness, Entertainment and Etc.… while improving these areas could have the added benefit of attracting bigger businesses, including manufacturing.
With this all being the case, how can we embrace this style of community? What do we need to offer to make our community the place where people want to live and raise their families, to make it more enticing for the up-and-coming generations? Well for one, we need good, modern, and affordable median income housing. Have you or anyone you know recently tried to purchase a decent single-family house in which to live within the Borough or surrounding area? It’s very difficult, if not impossible to find. In fact, we’ve had employees of The Buzz of UC Café have to go to other towns to find suitable housing. That is definitely an issue. Not just for prospective residents but also for businesses trying to attract employees. A few other things likely at the top of the list for prospective residents are Safety and Well-Being, Food Services, Recreation and Entertainment, and Primary Education.
We need to think about where we are lacking in these areas and how we can fill the gaps. We touched on the lack of housing a bit. How can we fill that gap? We need a plan, a vision for developing housing. I mean, where could we develop housing within the Borough that is convenient to schools and other amenities? Are there run-down areas of town that could be redeveloped? Are there former manufacturing or commercial sites that could be repurposed? This seems like it could be a function of our Union Area Planning Commission (yes, we have one of those!). For Safety and Well-Being, we have been fortunate to maintain a local police presence here and we have a very active volunteer fire department, and those entities need support with volunteers (neighborhood watch?) and other resources. For food services we could use some competitive grocery and dinner dining options. Finally for Recreation and Entertainment the promotion of our local high school aged sports and hunting and fishing is great and even our arts center is top notch. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get some local theater, a French Creek boardwalk, a regional Rails to Trails connection and/or a unique events center. We know there are people out there with talent and interest in these areas.
This may all seem like pie in the sky stuff but trust me, if we can all come together for a common vision and everyone is pitching in to do their part in an area of interest, we can do it! If we build it, they will come…