CROYDON, Pa. (WTXF) - As you drive into Croydon in Bucks County one of the first things you see is a sign. It's supposed to send a message of safety and looking out for each other but up until recently, it sent a very different message.
"We would pass this billboard that was right across from the Croydon train station and it was for the Croydon Town Watch, and it was old you could tell it’s been up there. The vinyl was peeling off you could barely make out a phone number. I was like I gotta do something about that billboard," Kim Cunningham explained.
Kim Cunningham's business has been in nearby Bensalem for years but late last year she decided to move into Croydon. She was excited but the sign wasn't the only thing that made her pause.
"A local came up and introduced himself and basically said do you know that Croydon is the number one drug city in Bucks County,” Kim added.
Kim's owns a printing company so a new sign was pretty easy, but when you add that message from the local resident and some may have had second thoughts about moving in. Kim even admits she was initially bothered by the neighbor’s comment.
"You can change that just as well as I can change that. Anger then turns to inspiration and my mindset is alright, now let’s do something," Kim said.
Changing the sign at their own expense was a nice gesture but not necessarily a huge deal. What was a much bigger deal was what happened when the picture was posted to social media.
"You just watch, you watch it too much and it’s like 2 likes, 6 likes, 40 likes, 80 likes, we got 500 likes on that billboard, that blew me away," Kim explained.
It also blew her away that the same community with the bad reputation immediately mobilized. They've been holding meetings in her new building, have t-shirts and bumper stickers with a developing slogan.
Then, while FOX 29’s Bill Anderson was talking with Kim, a member of the Civic Association stopped by with clean up supplies.
So nearly 50 volunteers got together this past weekend and cleaned up under the bridge and the area where the new sign went up. It's the first of this group but not the last.
Kim hopes those who helped her see the change, and word spreads, allowing more people to get involved to help begin to change Croydon.
Like in so many circumstances even in areas with a shaky reputation all it often takes is the belief that things can be better in order to inspire people to make it happen.