West Chester Weekly News Roundup

bike race2019
A perfect day for a race. According to the Daily Local, 20,000 fans packed downtown Saturday to watch the racers zip around the oval at the 15th annual Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic.

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

It’s Friday, August 16. Last week seemed so quiet and this week, wham, we are back. West Chester Police Department wants body cameras, changes to the tree ordinance (if you have a big tree, pay attention.) The fully functioning window trend is catching on with downtown bars. Plus, good deeds, warnings, and we say goodbye to a West Chester fixture. Grab some caffeine and let’s get going.   

trees
Changes are coming to protect the borough’s trees, all the borough’s trees.

I always feel like somebody’s watching me. The West Chester Police Department is ready to purchase 44 body worn cameras for its officers. The cameras would be used to record communications with citizens in accordance with Pennsylvania law. These cameras would be in addition to the mobile video systems already in police vehicles. The Department has received a federal grant to cover 50% of project costs and is requesting funds from Borough Council to cover the remainder.

This land is your land, this land is my land. In an effort to preserve the urban forest and its designation as a Tree City, West Chester’s Tree Commission is proposing sweeping changes to how trees are maintained and cared for in the borough.

While, the entire Tree Chapter in the Borough Code will be replaced, it is my understanding, one of the main points of contention surrounds extending protections to heritage trees, or a tree with a diameter at breast height of twenty-four inches. Currently under Borough Code, residents only need to seek permission to cut, prune or remove public trees, aka street trees, or those in the strip of land between the street and the sidewalk. Under the new code, these same permissions would be extended to all heritage trees anywhere in the Borough, including on private property.

In return, the Tree Commission is offering a break on the Stream Water Protection fee for residents agreeing to maintain the heritage trees on their property. Borough Council will be holding a hearing on this on Wednesday.  Go measure those trees, if you’ve got one over 24”, you may want to attend. 

WCU2
West Chester University.

Even better when you can live at home. West Chester University was ranked the 9th best education value in the state (tied with Villanova) according to Money Magazine’s annual ranking of the best values in college education. According to the rankings the average student at West Chester will graduate with $23,000  in debt while landing a job that pays $48,500.

West Chester’s plastic-ban. Have you heard, West Chester passed a ban on single-use plastic bags and straws in the borough? Well, if you somehow missed the drama you will soon get all the details delivered to your door. The borough is rolling out a communication plan in support of the initiative complete with informational mailer, social posts, event/POS signage and, of course, recyclable bags. There will be two components to the plan – outreach to businesses and outreach to residents. 

“We really want to change the ‘It’s all disposable’ mindset,” 

– Amy Maxcy, Pack It Up – Pass It On Coordinator 

Speaking of less waste (I’m hoping those mailers are recyclable), West Chester University is hosting its first ever Pack it Up, Pass it On event for new and returning students looking to furnish their dorm rooms or apartments on the cheap. Last May West Chester’s Office of Sustainability coordinated a collection of items from departing students. They cleaned, sorted and sanitized everything and now have three shipping containers full of stuff ready for the reuse. Event is taking place August 25 at Skyes ballroom – bring cash and a tote bag.

If you are not a student but think we should all be doing more of this kind of thing, except for free (!!), West Chester has a group for you.  

hoopes alley
Hoopes Alley

Stormwater management projects. Three years ago, West Chester Borough introduced a Stream Protection Fee to fund state mandated cleanups of our waterways. While, several projects have been completed under the program already (Hoopes Alley, W. Nields St.) another is on its way. According to an announcement on the Borough website, stormwater management improvements (and the construction impediments associated) will be coming to Spring Grove Lane near S. Everhart Street. 

“The existing design is whimsical and the proposed design is regimented and lacks uniqueness that the existing design has.”

– HARB Board Member

Denied. Bar Avalon on their petition to renovate their storefront by adding a standing seam metal roof, removing the planters and adding a fully functioning folding window system. Unfortunately, the new design did not meet the standards of the Historical Architecture Review Board (HARB) which found it to be lacking in “charm.”

opa2
Opa Taverna. West Chester, PA

A design trend I support. Bar Avalon however, is not the only one taking inspiration from the Opa Taverna windows, Saloon 151 has submitted a proposal to retrofit their storefront with an operable window system. Their plan has received approval by the HARB, it still needs final approval from Borough Council but that seems likely given the recommendation of the historical board. 

jaywalking
Ducks, courtesy of West Chester Police Department Instagram.

The warnings. Be careful where you are walking. The West Chester Borough is reporting repair work is underway on the 50 block of N. Wayne due to a possible sinkhole. The road will be closed through 3 p.m. today to accommodate the repair. 

West Chester police are also warning residents against the dangers of jaywalking. According to police officials, it’s a big problem in the borough. It “ties up traffic, throws off light timing, and… it’s very dangerous.” There’s your warning. Stick to the crosswalks. 

The accolades. Congratulations to Chester County Hospital which was ranked the 7th best hospital in the Philadelphia region and 13th in the state. It is reassuring to know quality care is just around the corner. 

Also, a pageant wave of support to Victoria Mullin of West Chester who will be representing our great state at the America Miss (yea, I read that wrong the first time too) pageant over the Thanksgiving holiday. Mullin is a graduate of Bishop Shanahan and currently a Senior at West Chester University. 

Give back. Two stories of good deeds to inspire you this week. Preschoolers at  Chesterbrook Academy raised $300 this summer for Alex’s Lemonade stand. While area teachers used dress down Fridays to raise money for the local Laundromat Library League

Looking for your own good deed to do? The West Chester Public Library public fund is going on now. If you’re interested in supporting, here’s your link

new teachers
Early start. West Chester Area School District’s new hires. Photo WCASD.

Hello. Speaking of area teachers, West Chester Area School District welcomed 36 new hires this week.

“Thank you for 20 awesome years!”

-Burrito Loco Instagram

Goodbye. To Burrito Loco. After 20 years in the Borough, the fast-Mexican outlet is closing its doors. 

Get involved. Want to be in the know? West Chester is looking to fill a position on its Planning Commission. As part of your duties you will review and input on all land development plans submitted in the borough. And then you can tell me. 

melton2
The Melton Center is hosting a Community Day August 18.

The freakin’ weekend. Wow, this week has been a whirlwind. What are you up to this weekend? I think we are going to take it easy. Catch up, do some back-to-school shopping, maybe go out for breakfast? (Just not here).

Looking for something more? Here are some ideas.     

Mark your calendars: 

  • Monkey Fish Toys Big Sale (birthday party stock-up time), Monkey Fish Toys, Aug. 17-23
  • Community Day, Melton Center, Aug. 18
  • Levante Cloudy & Cumbersome 5K at Highland Orchards, Aug. 18
  • Technology Clinic, West Chester YMCA, Aug. 18 (All your basic tech questions answered.) 
  • Harry Potter Party, West Chester Public Library, Aug. 20 (Registration required)
  • Self Love Society Speaker event, Juniper Tree Juice Bar, Aug. 23
  • Move in Weekend, West Chester University, Aug. 23-24
  • School starts, WCASD, Aug. 26
  • Labor Day Picnic (and free lunch!), West Chester’s Growers Market, Aug. 31

Join West Chester this Sunday at the Melton Center for Community Day 2019. There will be food, music and championship basketball. Activities take place from 11 am to 5 pm.  

Thanks for stopping by. It’s the last unofficial week of summer, enjoy while you still can. If you are still catching up from vacation, here’s last week’s Round Up and the area school supply lists, if you need them. 

If you are new here, follow along to get all the latest West Chester updates.

See you next week! 

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