With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.
It’s Friday, April 26, let’s just call this the spring cleaning edition. Clean ups scheduled downtown and at both major parks this weekend. Plus, another potential tax hike and the West Chester’s Film Festival comes to town. Grab the popcorn. It’s going to be a fun one.
“Our budget planning must focus on multiple years. This budget includes funding for some of the projected expenses for the opening of the new Greystone Elementary school in 2021.”
– Superintendent Jim Scanlon bracing us for the bad news.
Did someone say tax increase? The West Chester Area School District has released its final budget for the 2019-2020 school year and to meet planned expenses they will need to, you guessed it, raise taxes. The proposal calls for 3.5% increase from the current budget. To raise the additional funds WCASD is asking for a 2.2 percent tax increase for Chester County and a 1.5 percent increase for Delaware County. That works out to about $89 more per household if you live in Chester County ($69 if you live in Delaware County). According to a letter put out by the school district, the majority of the the additional expenses are due to increases in pension requirements, special education services, (both state mandated) and staff salaries and benefits, including the addition of 18 new employees plus several TBD hires for the new elementary school.
Before they pass the final, final budget in May, Gary Bevilacqua, chair of the Property and Finance Committee, says they “ will work to find additional revenue and savings.” The budget is now open for public comment. Voting on the final budget will take place May 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Spellman Administration Building.
Speaking of things that could potentially affect the school budget… the proposed 319- home Crebilly Farm subdivision is heading back to court. Not surprisingly, Toll Brothers appealed Westtown Township’s decision not to offer it a conditional use application for the land near the intersection of routes 926 and 202. That appeal now has a place and day in court – Pittsburgh, May 6. Those opposed to the subdivision have chartered a bus to make sure the Chester County presence is strong when the decision goes in front of the three judge panel. Should the plan be approved the influx of new students in the area is expected to put a strain on the current school system. Interested in lending your support or physical presence? You can find details on the bus ride here.
ICYMI – West Chester University celebrated Banana Day. Yes, Banana Day.
How do you teach consent? That’s a question local teachers will have to consider if a new education bill proposed by local state representative Andy Dinniman becomes law. He suggests consent is a life skill and should be a taught as such from the earliest grades rather than have it tied solely to sexual encounters. “We ask for things every day and don’t realize it, but very few states require schools to address consent at all,” Dinniman says in a recent Daily Local article on the legislation. TBD whether this idea has enough support to become more than a theoretical discussion.
Some good and bad news for local healthcare. On the one hand, Chester County Hospital is in the midst of constructing a rather large addition that would allow residents to stay local for more of their health care needs. Vista Today reports the new space will include more private patient rooms, state-of-the-art operating centers and new areas for interventional cardiology, pre-admission testing and a community pharmacy. The project is expected to be completed next year.
While at the same time, LifeCare Hospital, a privately-run facility which brings 39 beds to the area is rumored to be closing. LifeCare is an award-winning, long-term acute care facility that helps transition patients who have recently received complex medical treatments. State Rep Andy Dinniman told the Daily Local, the closing poses “a significant concern for Chester County residents” as their are no other local facilities “that can fill this void.” The closure appears to be a move by the parent company to cut costs and raise profits. If nothing changes the closure will go into effect next month.
That d$%& pipeline. For those of you keeping track, Mariner East 1 is up and running. Again.
Can I borrow a broom? The first ever West Chester Sidewalk clean up is taking place this Saturday 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Gum will be removed, sidewalks swept and bricks polished in what the Mayor deems the “start of a cleaner, greener era for our community.” Interested in joining – fill out this form. Helpers will receive a t-shirt, coffee, donuts and lunch plus, free parking is available on the first floor of the Chestnut Street garage.
While we’re on the topic of cleaning. Maybe sidewalk cleaning is not your thing, maybe you prefer raking and mulching? Not a problem. Both Everhart and Marshall Square Parks are holding their annual park pickups this Saturday and both are seeking volunteers. MSP is starting their clean up at 8 a.m., Everhart at 9, both run until noon. Volunteers are welcome to swing by any time.
The West Chester Film Festival. After all that cleaning, I’d say you earned some downtime. The West Chester festival is this weekend. The festival screens short films, up to 30 minutes in length, at locations around West Chester. Submissions come from independent filmmakers all over the world and have been bundled into a lot of really cool options like the Horror Collection Saturday night at Appalachian Brew Pub or Coffee and Cartoons Sunday morning at Split Rail. Get your tickets here.
Welcome to West Chester. While you’re downtown stop by and check out these newcomers clothing boutique Compendium (134 Market Street) opening May 1 and restaurant Slow Hand (30 N. Church Street). Then tell me what you learn.
The warnings. West Chester Police need your help. They are seeking to identify suspects in an assault that occurred on April 20 in the area of High and Gay Street. If you know anything about this incident or the identity of the men above contact Officer Graham at 610-696-2700.
In other policing news, West Chester Borough Police Officer Reinaldo Melendez has announced his retirement after more than 28 years. Thank you sir for your service.
The freakin’ weekend. Clean up edition. We’ll be heading over Everhart to do our part but otherwise probably just trying to catch up and clean up from our vacation. Which is a shame because a lot of really cool things happening this weekend.
Mark your calendar:
- Healthy Kids Day at the Y – April 27
- Everhart Park Clean up – April 27
- Marshall Square Park Clean up – April 27
- Shave off for Shine fundraiser, Side Bar – April 27
- Downtown Sidewalk Clean-up April 27th
- Growers’ Market Opening Day – May 4
Plus, a new interactive exhibit on the Berlin Wall is opening this weekend at the WCU Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology and it sounds fascinating.
And Longwood Gardens announced its summer fireworks schedule. These always sell out so if it’s on your “things to do” list get your tickets early.
Ok, that’s it. There was no update last week because we were out of town but it does feel good to be back! If the passing of Earth Day has you feeling like we need to rethink some things, be glad you live in a town that is being proactive with regards to protecting our environment. (Curious how? Here’s more on the town’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2050, accommodate electric vehicles and the people who want to help.)
And reminder – if you don’t already, please follow the blog. Thank you.