It was a cold start to the week with temps dipping into the teens. Everhart Park.

With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.  

It’s Friday, January 25, winter is back after taking a brief break this week, plus drama on Gay Street, the great graduation gown debate and where’s the best place in West Chester to eat? – Here’s what people are talking about this week.

The West Chester shutdown. The closure of Gay Street is now dragging into its third week with no signs of ending any time soon. Add in the huge 44 West project on Church and Gay and the closure of Lot 10 and downtown parking has gone from bad to worse. On the bright side the garages are still up and operating and many downtown establishments are comping parking up to two hours in either the Bicentennial or Church Street garages.     

And that shutdown. Speaking of shutdowns with no end in sight, many local businesses and nonprofit groups are pulling together to help local furloughed government workers. An anonymous donor has made $500,000 available to provide interest free loans to out-of-work government employees. Interested applicants must live in one of nine Pennsylvania counties, including Chester County, and complete an application. In addition the Chester County Food Bank announced this week it will serve “furloughed employees and anyone experiencing food insecurity” and the Salvation Army is offering help with rent and heating payments

Businesses are pitching in as well. Workers can sweat out their work worries with free access to any of the seven Greater Brandywine YMCAs (including the two West Chester locations) or maybe some fresh air will help? Longwood Gardens is offering free admission to government employees with valid I.D.s And if all else fails, how about a beer and a shot? Furloughed workers can head over to Levante where the next two (a shot of their highest ABV on tap and a 16 oz chaser of your choice) are on the house. 

That d*$% pipeline. Mariner East Pipeline drama continues with reports of intimidation, obscene messages, and more sinkholes – all in the last two weeks. To help sort it all out, there will be a public forum being held on pipeline safety issues January 31 at 7 p.m.. The event is being co-hosted by local state representatives Carolyn Commita and Tom Killion and will be held at Fugett Middle School. Come with questions.

The best place to eat. An innocent post from a local realtor, looking for the best local restaurant led to a slew of replies on NextDoor (68 total when you count multiple names from those who couldn’t commit). So where is it? Where’s the best place to eat? Probably not surprisingly, the top spot went to much acclaimed new-comer Andiario. As one neighbor put it,

“We’d travel miles for this place, but we’re so lucky we can walk there!”

Tied for second were Tsunami and Spence Cafe with five votes each but to me the most surprising and wonderful thing? In all 30-different West Chester restaurants got votes – and we can walk to almost all of them!  

Here’s the list of everyone that got a vote in no particular order: Tsunami, Andiario, Roots Cafe, Sidebar, Pietro, Nudy’s Cafe, Perch, Mercato, Bar Avalon, Spence Cafe, Racherita, Wasabi, Limoncello, Liquid Eatery, Dolce Zola, Opa Opa, Iron Hill, Core de Roma, Social Lounge, Baan Thai, High Street Cafe, Tecca, New Haven Pizza, The Med, Market Street Grill, Kooma, Fiorellos, Split Rail, Spicy Pig.

What color is your gown? West Chester Area School District graduates will all wear the same color gown starting in 2020, the school district announced this week. It’s a move Superintendent Jim Scanlon told 6ABC should have happened “25 years ago.” In the past boys would wear one color, girls the other. Not all agree. The “It’s tradition” camp have an online petition going and have already collected over a thousand signatures. TBD if that’s enough to bring back the rainbow.

In other, the times they are a’ changin’ news, our kindergartners are coding.

Those Rams and these Rams. West Chester University recently got word its MBA was ranked among the best online programs by US News and World Report. In other Golden Rams news the WCU Marching band is the recipient of the 2019 Sudler Trophy, the Heisman trophy of the band world.  

Martin Luther King remembered. St. Paul’s Baptist Church dropped off lunch at the police department, WC University NAACP and the East High School Girls and Boys’ basketball teams supported to the West Chester Food Cupboard, while, West Chester University celebrated today with a fundraising lunch in support of its scholarship program.

WCU Business Idea Competition. Think of it as West Chester’s Shark Tank. You pitch your idea. Sell the judges on its uniqueness and viable target market.  Winners get funded up to $2500 to get his or her business started. Ideas must not be commercialized. Future entrepreneurs can participate in one of four tracks – WCU undergraduates, WCU grad students, alumni and staff, Chester County-based, Chester County High School Students.   

The warnings. No warnings this week just a well-negotiated pay raise for local police officers. The Daily Local is reporting West Chester Borough Council voted unanimously on an agreement that would authorize a 5.25% pay increase for police officers for 2019 – followed a 4.25% increase for the next two years. According to a statement from West Chester Mayor Diane Herrin, crime is at an all time low in the borough. We thank you for your service. That said,  can I borrow someone from the negotiating team for my annual review meeting?

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We may check out Hillsdale’s Family Bingo night tonigh. Looking for something a little more grown up? Iron Hill is hosting their 14th annual Belgium Comes to West Chester brewfest on Saturday. There will be more than 30 of the area’s Belgium best on tap. For those still hanging onto Dry-uary with dear life, try your hands mastering savory breads at the Master Baker’s Saturday class.  

That’s it. Thank you for another exciting week West Chester. The Roundup will be back next Friday. In the meantime, you can find last week’s round up here and if you have a chance to get outside – here’s a local park I can almost guarantee you’ve never been too. And if you are the kind of person that has to be the first to know – sign up to get our latest posts – and then message me with what I’m missing. See you next week!

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