Winter Conversations

Hello, West Chester,

Staying warm and dry? This a little more lion than I was hoping March would come in with. I am thankful my kids aren’t in school yet. With snow days and delays, I don’t envy working parents of school age kids –which we will be next year.

In anticipation of joining the West Chester School community I have been doing some reading like the kindergarten learn-through-play curriculum, bus schedules, after school programs, and the School District’s Capital Plan.

Released in January the update to West Chester Area School District’s 20 year Capital Plan made a eye-opening assertion –the district will need 37 new elementary classrooms over the next 10 years. One proposal calls for adding classrooms at eight out of 10 schools – that’s a lot of construction!

The district has outlined three plans and a potential new school to deal with the problem. As things stand right now we may be one of few families that won’t be affected – unless of course, they redistrict.

You can read more about who will be affected and the proposed plans here.

Hello, West Chester,

Let me just say, change is hard work.

This weekend I attended Body Combat at the Y – as I always do. Every Saturday for over a year now and it kicked my butt. Again. I look around and I always wonder – why is no one else dying here? Push through the pain that’s when the change comes. Well, that’s what Toni, says.

If you haven’t tried it you should check it out. It really is a great class, even if most of the time I’d rather be in my pajamas with an extra cup of coffee.

Developer Eli Kahn maybe had the same feeling this morning – at least about change – I don’t know where he stands on coffee.

Eli Kahn's Plaza Plan approved as part of an update to the West Chester building code conditional use requirements.Rendering of the Plaza Plan, development plan for the former Mostellar building.

His plans for the decaying home of the former Mostellar building (corner of Gay and Church) were finally approved by Borough Council on Thursday by a 5-2 vote. It wasn’t so much the plans specifically that were approved, rather modifications to the building code that would make the project possible.

Turn out from the community was good and I think the feeling in the room was split fairly similarly to counsel with the vast majority in favor of the changes and a few against. The elimination of the conditional use hearing and the relaxing of parking requirements, open up other projects as well – the Rubenstein project to name one.

Change, as they say, is coming. It just can be a lot of work to get there.

Toni, Alex, and crew, I’ll see you Saturday.

Curious, about projects in the works in and around West Chester? We wrote them down for you.  

Hello, West Chester,

I’m proud to say we vote religiously. Primaries, general, even in elections without high profile raises, we are there.

Every spring and fall we walk down to our polling place, a nice little church about a block away, kids in tow, and cast our votes. We have been committed to our civic duty – (especially, when it requires as little effort as voting does) but as the cries of gerrymandering have grown louder and now made official – I have begun to wonder, did my vote count?

So I decided to investigate. Read How We Got Gerrymandered and please share if you’ve come up with a definitive answer.

Hello, West Chester,

Are you ready for the big game? We are and we have a brand new TV to prove it.

Getting ready for Super Bowl LII Eagles versus PatriotsIt’s my fault, really. My husband has been lobbying for a new TV (probably since we got the last one) and this year at the start of football season he again suggested we get a new one for the Super Bowl. To which I replied (wisely I thought at the time), we can get a new TV for the Super Bowl if the Eagles are in the Super Bowl…

So we have a new TV.

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday. If you are still looking for something to do Side Bar is having a Super Bowl brunch and I’m guessing every bar in town is running some sort of special. If you are heading to a party or just celebrating at home and are looking for snack ideas check out I’m Going to a Super Bowl Party for some great local options.

Go Birds!

Image: Philadelphia day at school. 2 of the 3 kids in their Eagles’ gear.

Hello, West Chester,

Have you heard? – There is a new, convenient way to get to New York City.

It’s a daily, direct route from West Chester to New York. (You can read about it here.) This bus route is a great addition to the public transportation options available in West Chester. Residents now have a fast and convenient way to get to New York – which brings me to my second point.

Why can’t it be this easy to get to Philadelphia?

Philadelphia travels remains and inconvenient nightmare of cars, trains, parking and subways. Currently, as I see it, you have a couple of options:

  • Drive into the city, pay for parking, drive all the way home. This option has its advantages. It’s done on your schedule. You can leave when you want and return when you want but there are a number of downfalls. Traffic. There is no great route into Philly and depending when you go traffic can be a nightmare. Plus once you’re there you have to deal with parking. Alcohol. If you are going out to dinner, tailgating or doing anything where drinking will be involved driving an hour home is not your best option.
  • Take a Regional Rail train. Sounds good but the closest train station is in Exton so you have to first to get to the Exton train station. This means you have to drive (see Alcohol above) or you have to navigate the bus system. Parking at the station is limited, as are the trains (roughly every 45 minutes, once an hour on weekends), then once you get to Philly depending on where you are going you may need to hop on a subway for another ride. All in all this choice can take a lot of time and the last train leaves Philly at 11:45 p.m. on weekends. Trains out of Malvern and Media are more frequent but you still have to drive.
  • Call an Uber (or Lyft if you prefer). Ok, this option is convenient but can be pricey especially if surge pricing is in effect and like driving yourself, you are still subject to Philly traffic – but no parking. So that’s a plus.
  • Take a bus. Ok, I don’t know how this would works, (and I doubt you do either.)

Why am I all worked up about public transportation (and apparently numbering)?

  • The bus just made solving this logistical nightmare look so easy.
  • Septa is holding a meeting next week to discuss the feasibility of returning rail service to West Chester.

Come. Plead. Spread the word. You’ve already shown support for the bus. Now let’s get a new train stop.

SEPTA West Chester Feasibility Study Open House

January 25, 2018

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cheyney University

Marion Anderson Center

And if you care nothing about public transportation but want to support all this future growth, a new rail line will help with that too. What future growth you ask? Great question check out: The Changing West Chester Skyline to learn more.

Hello, West Chester,

Happy New Year! What a crazy year 2017 turned out be? By many accounts it was not entirely pleasant but we welcomed a baby girl to the family and my husband cut his commute by more than half so personally, we were winning.

IMG_6481
Baby Piper, 2018 was definitely not all bad. 🙂

There were other things however, mainly on a national level, that didn’t exactly go in our favor and led to heated debates, quiet head-shaking and sleepless nights (although in all honesty the baby was at least partly to blame).

One of the most concerning for me was this idea of “alternate facts” and fake news.  I was a journalism major in college (facts, sources and a cohesive sentence structure is pretty much all there is) and while, I spend most of my time these days in marketing communications where a lot of what you say is about presentation – even we’re not allowed to make things up and claim them as fact. (Ok, I feel some side eye, and fair enough but those marketers and companies that push too far do it at the risk of litigation.)

This distrust and the general lack of information on what is going on in the borough led me to start this project in the first place. (Two separate things – I generally trust the information I find on the borough, I just find it hard to find.)

It may just be my way of making me feel like I’m doing something when so much is out of my hands but I hope you find it useful and informative and I hope you will always find it honest and truthful. If I see an error or learn new information, I’ll make a quick and obvious correction.

This goes for the comments section as well. (As soon as we get one). While, I won’t change an opinion, if something is misstated or additional information exists I’ll interject it into the conversation. Make your own conclusions just do it with all the facts.

I have high hopes for 2018. If 2017 did nothing else, it highlighted our shortcomings. Now we can fix them.

Have a great day and I hope to see more of you in the new year.

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