West Chester Weekly News Roundup

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

It’s Friday October 11, Parking problems get real when residents weigh in with their concerns, another downtown building is sold for office space and the Park Department presents its list of 2020 improvements. See who is getting what. Plus, the great Chili Cook-off is this weekend. Grab a spoon and let’s get going. 

parking3
The Chestnut Street Garage currently has a 300-person waiting list for a spot.

“Please do not double the rate for monthly parking. That would be devastating.”

-Parking survey respondent

West Chester’s parking problem. West Chester parking garages are at capacity with waitlists for monthly spots. Last month the Parking Commission went to Borough Council with a plan to change the fee structure at downtown parking garages. The commission reasoned if they increased the day rate and lowered the evening rates they could “encourage” monthly parkers not using their spots during the day to switch to an evening only option thus freeing up more spaces during the day (and of course, raise more revenue.) 

To test their theory (or probably more accurately, measure the level of backlash) before implementing the rate increases, a survey was distributed to people using the garages. The survey didn’t include specifics of the proposed rate increases so most people seemed to feel unable to answer accurately, but here’s the gist. There was moderate interest in establishing a weekday rate (62% reported they were interested); pretty much indifference to a weekend rate (82%) and overwhelming agreement their parking needs were not great enough for them to pay double their current rates (88%).

Feel strongly about these proposed changes? There is a Borough Council meeting next Wednesday, Oct. 16, where this issue is sure to be a point of discussion.  

gay street
30,000 square feet of office, retail and hopefully parking spaces could soon be coming to downtown.

I’m going to need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow… That’s right, we’re talking office space. The former First National Bank building (9 North High Street), the historic Turk’s Head Garage building (17 East Market Street), and the accompanying parking lot have all been sold to a buyer who is planning to completely renovate the building to accommodate high-end retail and professional office space.

Can I crash at your place? Access to affordable housing continues to be a topic of concern especially for longtime residents of  the borough. The Melton Center has an ambitious plan to expand low-income housing by developing some of its borough land. However, to do that it will need support of Borough Council and a change to the zoning language to include “mixed use development” and “affordable housing” under Commercial Service District. Then to rezone their Miner street location as part of the Commercial Service District.  A hearing on the proposed change is scheduled for next Wednesday, October 16. 

MSP-gazebo
Marshall Square Park gazebo

The borough’s honey-do list. This week the Parks department presented its 2020 capital plan to the Public Works Committee. On their list of proposed projects, major structural work at John O’Green park, ADA upgrades at Horace Pippin, gazebo and roof work at Marshall Square park, a new basketball court for Mostellar park and a slide for Hoopes. All in the department is $38,000 under budget which they say could be (fingers-crossed) earmarked for the Everhart Playground project.      

Speaking of park projects, the Parks department has one last one to complete this fall. It is looking to add a walking trail through Hoopes park. The six foot path will meander through the wooded area on the west side of the park beginning at the parking lot off Ashbridge and continuing to Locust Lane.  

chili fest
The Chili Cook-off is taking place on Sunday. Beware of road closures.

It’s chili time! This Sunday West Chester will celebrate its 17th annual Chili Cook-off. This year 45 chefs are participating. Wrist bands are $12 each and are good for all you can eat chili (assuming you can get through the lines). Attendees also get wooden nickels to vote for their favorites. The serving begins at noon. Just remember as with any big event there will be road closures. Gay Street will be closed from Walnut to New Streets. 

“If you need edibles or carts, hit up your neighbor Zach.”

Zachary Austin Given, WCU student

The warnings. It’s too soon to advertise your marijuana business. A West Chester University student was arrested after posting flyers around his dorm promoting his edibles business. Actually, it’s too soon to start a marijuana business, just ask West Chester University football’s starting safety.  PA politicians may be nearing legalization but we are obviously not there yet. 

Don’t steal a cop car. Even when you get away with it, you don’t get away with it. 

The accolades. A round of applause to West Chester University’s Doctor of Clinical Psychology on receiving its accreditation from the American Psychological Association. This makes it the most affordable accredited clinical Psychology doctoral program in the United States.

Give back. West Chester University students with the help of Mayor Herrin packed more than 125 recycled bags with hygiene products to help the areas homeless. The bags were created for Giving Love Bags, Inc., a Philadelphia organization that hands out the bags and connects with those living on the city’s streets. The event attracted more than 200 students. 

growers market_piper
This week that Grower’s Market apple will be covered in caramel.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We are planning for a chilly morning on the soccer fields tomorrow and then maybe, a trip to the Farmer’s Market? It’s carmel apple day! 

Sunday’s the Chili Fest. Are you going? I think we’ll probably pass. I love this event but it’s a tough one for kids. It gets so crowded and the lines for chili can be quite long.   

Plus a couple of new activities of note: 

Know of anyone heading into the job market? West Chester Public Library is offering one-on-one resume reviews during every Thursday during the month of October.

And for all you NPR fans, Nina Totenberg is speaking at West Chester University on Saturday.  

Mark your calendars: 

  • Free event: Caramel Apple Day, West Chester Grower’s Market, Oct. 12
  • West Chester Chili Cook-Off, Downtown, Oct. 13
  • Free event: Trunk-or-Treat, The Arc of Chester County, 900 Lawrence Dr., Oct. 17 
  • Free event: Hocus Pocus, courtyard Hotel Warner, Oct. 19
  • Free event: Chester County Historical Society Block Party & Open House, Oct. 19
  • Pinktoberfest, Levenate Brewing, Oct. 19
  • Free event: West Chester Halloween Parade, downtown, Oct. 23
  • Free event: After Hours Alien Raid/Halloween Party (ages 11-17), West Chester Public Library, Oct. 24 (registration required) 
  • WCU Church St. Fest and Parade, WCU, Oct. 26
  • West Chester University Homecoming, WCU, Oct. 26
  • Haunted Helicopters, Helicopter Museum, Oct. 26
  • 5K Zombie Run, Rustin High School, Oct. 27

That’s it for this week. Thanks for stopping by. If you missed is here, is last week’s roundup. Also, this fall marks ten years for us in the borough which got me thinking how we ended up here in the first place. It’s funny things like community and schools weren’t even the list now they are some of the most important things. I’ve been asking others how they got here. So fascinating. Here’s a little more on our story if you’re interested.

Finally, don’t forget to follow the blog for all the latest!

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