With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.
It’s Friday, August 23. The end of August has been a bit rocky. There’s been armed-robberies and racial comments, resignations and street closures. However, West Chester’s trees got some good news, more improvements are on their way to downtown and school starts Monday, so it’s not all bad. Let’s get started.
“I know that we all know that I can’t unsay what I said.”
– Borough Councilman Bill Scott after being accused of racial remarks.
Well, this is a bit uncomfortable. Borough Council member Bill Scott, Ward 1, is still here despite being unanimously asked to resign on Wednesday night. The actions came after it was discovered he made inappropriate racial comments to an actress in the West Chester-set play, Mud Row.
According to reports in the Daily Local, Scott remarked on the light shade of her skin and used the word “Negro” in conversation. Borough Council however, has no authority to force a member to resign unless they are in direct violation of the home rule charter. So despite the vote they will instead look to censure and at least for now, Scott, who has thus far refused to resign, will remain on council.
Suspicious activity in the Borough. Last Friday, two armed robberies shook West Chester. The first took place on the 500 block of South Matlack St. when two armed suspects entered the home and ordered the victim to lay on the ground while they ransacked the home. The second break in occurred a short while later on South Walnut. Oddly, in both instances nothing more than a license was reported missing. West Chester Police have pretty good surveillance footage of the suspects are are looking for help in identifying in the individuals (See above).
Can you hear me now? Sometimes it seems like it’s hard to get anything communicated across the Borough, but when it matters residents definitely step up. On Monday the West Chester police department posted a bulletin about the robberies, including images of the suspects, and asked for help getting the word out. The community responded. Over the week the post has been shared 591 times.
Make like a tree and stay right there. West Chester has a new tree ordinance. Passed unanimously Wednesday by Borough Council, the new ordinance looks to strengthen West Chester’s urban canopy by putting more focus on maintaining and replacing the current tree population. There are some new requirements of residents. For example, you now must notify the Borough Arborist if you would like to trim or remove a heritage tree on your property, and the work must be completed by a properly licensed tree cutting service, but there are some wins for residents, too, namely cost sharing on street tree removal and a potential stream protection fee rebate.
Curious, how this ordinance effects you? I spoke with Borough Arborist Mike Dunn and I have a rundown of the biggest changes.
Some news to make you feel better about that upcoming school tax increase. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently looked at tax increases in all school districts across the Philadelphia region to see who has been hit the hardest. Among the 13 districts in Chester County, West Chester is near the bottom with an increase under two percent. Coatesville Area and Tredyffrin/Easttown school districts will see the greatest increase at 3.9 percent while, Downingtown brings it home with no tax increase this year. Now, don’t you feel better?
Improvements are coming to N. Church Street. I know the construction behemoth that is 44 West is happening three doors down. So, I shouldn’t be so taken aback by the dilapidated store fronts at 7 and 9 N. New Street, but every time I pass I wonder, is anyone going to fix this? Turns out yes, and soon. The plan includes expanding the door opening and adding sidelights and has received approval from the Historical Architectural Review Board. Update: crews onsite working today. Yay!
The warnings. Have your detours ready. It’s move in weekend for West Chester University – expect road closures, delays, and lost souls. Welcome back, students!
Plus, speaking of traffic nightmares, High Street will be closed Monday night through early Tuesday morning between Market and Chestnut streets while they work on the crosswalks. Gay Street will remain open with one through lane allowing traffic to go through the intersection, but not turn onto High Street.
The accolades. Congrats to West Chester-native Phoebe McClernon, and current University of Virginia Senior, for making the Women’s Watch List for the Hermann Trophy, the top prize in women’s collegiate soccer. If you would like to see McClernon in action, the squad plays Penn State in Happy Valley on September 15.
Also warm wishes to Kennett Square for being named best shopping experience in the suburbs by Philadelphia Magazine. We can agree to disagree on the distinction, but if you are looking for a nice last-minute staycation option our cute neighbor to the west is worth an afternoon of exploring.
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.
The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We are heading to the racetrack for a Pocono stock car racing experience. That should be interesting. Then we are celebrating this little fish turning two with these cupcakes. Yum. Oh yea, and convincing ourselves school starts Monday.
So for people who can eat all in white and not make a mess, this weekend is also the West Chester Summer Soiree.
Has anyone done this? It’s a take on “Diner En Blanc,” the trendy popup picnic dining experience that’s popular in Philadelphia and NYC. Philadelphia held their event on Thursday. Anyway, you dress all in white and dine, (on your own food, it is a picnic) at a surprise location under the stars. It sounds like a very cool concept, but $75 seems a bit steep for a night out where I must provide food and drink. Just curious, is it worth it?
Mark your calendars:
- Monkey Fish Toys Big Sale (birthday party stock-up time), Monkey Fish Toys, Aug. 17-23
- Self Love Society Speaker event, Juniper Tree Juice Bar, Aug. 23
- Move in Weekend, West Chester University, Aug. 23-24
- Betty Loper Day, Melton Center, Aug. 24
- Can’t get enough Bohemian Rhapsody? Killer Queen is coming to Uptown!, Aug. 24
- Night in White, West Chester Summer Soiree, TBD, Aug. 24
- School starts, WCASD, Aug. 26
- Labor Day Picnic (and free lunch!), West Chester’s Growers Market, Aug. 31
- West Chester STOMPS Cancer 5K, downtown, Sept. 13
That’s a wrap. Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition. I am taking next Friday off but I’ll be back in September, doing my best to track down all that’s happening in town! Have any news you want to share you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime here’s last week’s Roundup, some (quick) fun things to do in West Chester and if you’re dropping your baby off at a West Chester school for the first time, know they are in capable hands. See you in September!