York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

American pastime vs. American dream playing out in York, Pa.

Bill Kirk, left, a former York White Roses coach, looks on as Curly Holtzapple, center, greets Brooks Robinson before the York Revolution’s first home game at Sovereign Bank Stadium in June 2007. Filmmaker Brian Plow tells the story of how the stadium came into being in “Home.” Background posts: Will Sovereign Bank of York stadium name fame lose its crown?, Map explains York, Pa.’s $50 million redevelopment area and Phillies in York via 30-ft. TV: ‘Isn’t going to the ballpark the best part about a baseball game?’ .

The title of Brian Plow’s documentary film “Home: The American Dream, the American Pastime and Urban Renewal in York, Pennsylvania” is long but its exploration of the return of baseball to York is far from ponderous, moving quickly.
But if viewers want an even quicker version of this full-length documentary, the filmmaker prepared a condensed version:

A York Daily Record/Sunday News story about the film (9/13/08) follows:

Brian Plow found a woman who sold her Duke Street home of 50 years to make way for Sovereign Bank Stadium.
It was her mother’s home. The one next door was her grandfather’s before it became a rental property.
The woman, whom Plow declined to name, agreed to sell the properties so the York County Industrial Development Authority could develop the stadium in York. She moved to another city house.
Plow examines her situation in his documentary, ” Home: The American Dream, the American Pastime and Urban Renewal in York, Pennsylvania.”
He set out in 2006 to make a film about the baseball stadium and the use of eminent domain for private development.
As the film developed, it grew into a story about the ideas of house and home, “the value of family and memories versus the appraised value of the brick and mortar,” he said.
Plow, who is a city resident and an assistant professor at Towson University, tried to interview all of the residents who sold their homes to make way for the stadium, but he couldn’t persuade all of them to talk. He spoke with many city officials and people involved with the stadium as well.
He’s hesitant to reveal his thoughts on the subject, which he tried to keep out of the film, he said. He wanted the documentary to spark questions and allow viewers to make their own decisions about redevelopment.
“There’s this question . . . is urban redevelopment good? Certainly,” he said. “But there are costs associated with it. When do the costs become too steep?”
The film challenges the notion that redevelopment is good but also reinforces the idea that it’s necessary in a community like York, he said.
Kevin Schreiber, the city’s marketing and economic development coordinator, said members of his office and other city administrators spoke with Plow about the film and are excited to see it.
Redevelopment is needed throughout the state, so if the film looks at that issue, that’s great, Schreiber said.
“Our urban areas are in severe need of urban development,” he said.

A pitch from the York Revolution’s Frank Castillo, one of the stars in the York Revs’ first season, seems frozen in midair.