West Chester Weekly News Roundup

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

dia doce2
Get comfortable this issue’s a doozy!

It’s Friday, November 22, consider this your Thanksgiving of roundups, it is stuffed! I have the latest on the West Chester summer camp program, redistricting and all your holiday activities. Plus, WCU’s program of inclusion is getting some big-time support and is Perch making a comeback? Pull on your comfy pants, it’s time to get started! 

fern hill
Bonus points if the redistricting task force can find a way to eliminate the feeder split at Fern Hill.

You’re killing me, Smalls. The West Chester Area School District redistricting steering committee had their first meeting earlier this month. They discussed the parameters the committee needs to be mindful of when putting forth their recommendations – including school capacity levels, feeder systems, and allowing all high school students to finish at their current school. Superintendent James Scanlon asked that the steering committee avoid redistricting families that had been redistricted in 2014 and if they could find a way to eliminate the split at Fern Hill (some students go to Fugett, others to Peirce) that would be nice as well. 

The first of two community meetings will be held in February with a final report presented to the School Board education committee May 11, 2020. 

Other things of interest:

  • The current redistricting does not take into consideration developing the Crebilly Farm property. If that becomes a reality, additions will be needed at Hillsdale and Starkweather.
  • Under the new plan, module classrooms will be eliminated. (At least until the time they are needed again. See above.)

Curious where the boundaries lie today? Here’s your map

courthouse
West Chester B.C.D. (before Christmas decorations)

The most wonderful time of year. Ten downtown businesses are planning to try something new this year. They will be planting live 7’ Norway Spruces in front of their establishments. At the end of the holiday season (and after the ground thaws in spring) the trees will be replanted in local parks.

It’s such a beautiful reminder that the holidays are here.”

-Mark Yoder, President and CEO, Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce

Speaking of holiday decorating, the 40th annual hanging of the greens is taking place downtown this Saturday. Watch as volunteers and shop owners transform downtown with garland and bows. Want in on the excitement? There is still time to sign up to volunteer

Staying with the holiday theme for just one minute more, the West Chester Area Senior Center is bringing back its community Thanksgiving dinner. After taking a year off last year the free event, is back and open to anyone looking for a little fellowship and a few laughs over a chef-prepared meal.  

summer19-2
One happy camper. Parks & Rec summer camp at Everhart park.

So, then what happened? In case you’ve been following along with the summer camp saga, I have the latest installment for you. If you have not, here’s your (quick) update:

Earlier this month it was brought to the attention of several families that use the camp that the program budget was being slashed by 60% and changes such as abbreviated hours (9-3), eliminating access to non-borough residents and moving the entire program to the Melton Center were being considered. These changes, which would keep most working parents from utilizing the camp, were being proposed without community input or notification. After seemingly taking the Borough Manager and Council Members by surprise during a Finance Committee meeting two weeks ago, the point of the camp was added to the agenda of Tuesday’s Borough Council Working Session and this time, committee members came prepared.

All of a sudden there was a financial breakdown of the camp — it loses money by the way, $36K last year. Documented issues of camper and counselor violations – reports of campers using racial slurs and counselors commenting on the weight of female campers. There was also a sudden willingness to involve community and Park & Rec Commission help. 

Obviously improvements can be made. Are those suggested the right answers? I am not so sure, but there will now at least be a dialogue. Borough Council is asking the Parks & Rec Department, Parks & Rec Commission, and any concerned members of the community work together to put forth a recommendation. They did not however, reinstate any budget to the program or change the registration date (February) so members will have their work cut out for them to find a workable solution under those constraints. If you want to follow along with updates or share your thoughts and concerns, there is a Facebook page that has been set up on the topic. 

I’m as serious as a door hanger. Borough Council has approved a community outreach campaign around the revised borough trash policy prior to enforcement which will begin promptly on 1/2/2020. Among the major changes in the policy: trash cans must be stored in a place not visible from the front of the property, cigarette butts in front of your property must be cleaned up and of course, fines went up. While there’s not a lot of new regulations, enforcement of existing rules is going to tighten as well. This includes trash can size, which is limited to 35 gallons. If you have an oversized trash can with a hinged lid, now is the time to replace it. 

Need a refresher on the policy? See it here first. 

everhart park_fall
Last of the leaves in Everhart Park.

Things that are almost certainly, nearly official now. Everhart is getting a new playground! Despite the Friends of Everhart Park (FoEP) planning this for a while now, the original 2020 Borough Budget proposal did not include sufficient funds to make that dream a reality. Well, that has all been rectified. In reworking his budget, Borough Manager Mike Perrone was able to find $130,000 for the park project. FoEP has since been in touch with the Hillsdale PTO school board and a community planning session is planned for January. Stay tuned. 

In more fun park news, Marshall Square Park finished their 2020 repairs in 2019, leaving their 2020 budget allocation of $40,000 open to be used toward supplemental playground equipment for the pre-K set. 

Let’s just split it 50/50. The Louis and Nancy Ferdik of 341 Dean Street became the first West Chester residents to collect money from the borough for a tree removal. If you remember correctly, under the revised tree ordinance the borough is now splitting tree removal costs 50/50 with residents in return for greater protections of heritage trees. The Ferdiks submitted their request on the day the ordinance passed and now will become the first to receive a reimbursement check from the borough. 

Speaking of collecting money, West Chester University is off to a strong in its effort to raise money to keep a pilot program alive that gave students with intellectual disabilities a chance at a real college experience. To keep the program going after the pilot ends this year, the University will need $100,000 a year. So far they have been offered a very generous grant from Ira Lubert, with the Lubert Family Foundation, for $50,000 a year for the next five years, but there’s a catch. The grant is contingent on the University raising the match, conveniently hitting the match would also fully fund the program. If you are interested in contributing you can find more information on the West Chester University Foundation’s website.

fire engine 53
Sketch drawing of the new fire engine 53.

What’s red, flashing and $1,535,571? On Thursday night Borough Council approved the purchase of two new fire engines. The fire engines won’t officially be purchased until 2020 but the commitment is needed now to lock in 2019 prices.

The warnings. Watch where you plug that thing. An underground transformer fire in the area of Market & Church Street caused power outages on Monday.

Have your alternate routes ready. Tuesday November 26 from 9 to 3, Linden Street will be closed from Mechanics Alley to Walnut Street for tree work. And while, paving projects are supposed to be complete this week, I have my doubts. Here’s the latest updates if you need them.  

sidebar
Congratulations to Side Bar on 10 years in the borough!

The accolades. Congratulations to West Chester University’s National Champion rugby team! The girls’ came back from a 14-0 deficit to defeat Brown on Saturday. Go Rams! 

Cheers to latest inductees to the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame including: hurdler and basketball star Robert “Bobby” Dorsey (Henderson class of 1969); lacrosse star Katie O’Donnell (Henderson class of 2014); football standout Rondell White (Rustin class of 2010) and track & field star Telisa Young (Henderson class of 1989).

Finally, congratulations to Side Bar, everyone’s favorite neighborhood bar is celebrating 10 years in the borough. Here’s to 10 more!   

Give back. What better way to give back than by eating a delicious meal made by someone else? On Monday Dec. 2 many local restaurants including Limoncello, Iron Hill, Saloon 151 and many more will be donating 15% of their proceeds to the West Chester Food Cupboard. Getting hungry? Get the full list of participating restaurants here.   

Also, looking to get rid of unwanted mason jars and vases? Turks Head Auxiliary is collecting!

“Word has it, it will be a darling restaurant by a local couple. Best of luck to them.”

-Borough resident on Nextdoor

Hello. To a completed 700 block of E. Market Street. Last week we welcomed Barre3 to the area and now it looks like neighbor Stumpy’s Hatchet House is open as well. Just in time to work out that holiday stress – whichever way you choose. 

In other development news, word is Perch is under contract with new owners, although who exactly is moving in has been a much debated topic on Nextdoor. Last word was, it’s a “darling restaurant by a local couple.”   

Goodbye. To Pure Fire Pizza. Another West Chester pizza place is taken down. 

carlinos pie
I had this exact pie this week and I highly recommend you share with a friend. Have a great holiday!

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We are going to enjoy our last quiet weekend before the holidays overrun us. I am trying to keep it commitment free, but I am really tempted to head out in support of this one!

Mark your calendars: 

  • Santa’s Express, West Chester Railroad, begins Nov. 23
  • Shop Small West Chester, Downtown, Nov. 29-Dec. 1 (Free parking!)
  • West Chester Wildcats, semi-pro basketball game, Melton Center, Nov. 30 
  • Better Than Bacon Gives Back, give back with laughs, Uptown Theater, Nov. 30
  • Opera: Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors”, Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center, Dec. 1
  • Dine out for West Chester Food Cupboard, participating downtown West Chester restaurants, Dec. 2
  • The Bullies Christmas Carol & Holiday Cheer Concert, Uptown, Dec. 5-6
  • QVC West Chester Christmas Parade, Downtown, Dec. 6
  • Toddler Gingerbread Contest, Treehouse World, Dec. 6
  • 9th Annual Holiday Home Tour, contact West Chester Library, Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Free event! Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus, Madeleine Wing Adler Theater, Dec. 7
  • Free event! Polar Express Winter Literacy event, Sykes Student Union, Dec. 7
  • Breakfast with Santa, Park & Rec Department, Dec. 7 (Registration required.)
  • Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Clause, Brandywine Ace Pet & Farm, Dec.7
  • WCU winter break begins, Dec. 9
  • NYC on Your Own, West Chester Park & Rec trip, Dec. 11
  • 2019 WSFS Bank Christmas Toy Drive BREAKFAST, St. Agnes, Dec. 11 (Bring an unwrapped toy!)

That’s it. We are done here. I am taking next weekend off, but I am working on researching tree farms. So hopefully, I’ll have that for you. Plus, some great ways to kill an hour in West Chester once your shopping is complete. Espresso martini, anyone? Ok that’s it for now, have a great Thanksgiving and we’ll catch up in December (P.S. don’t forget to follow the blog for the latest)!

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