West Chester Weekly News Roundup

44west7
Windows going in at 44 West on the corner of Gay and Church Street, this means the fun stuff is getting ready to begin.

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

It’s Friday, January 10. We have our first look at the fountain at 44 West, and let’s just say it doesn’t disappoint. Plus, first look at the Melton Center project, two more downtown businesses say goodbye and County Health Reports are out for December. Holiday is over, people. Let’s get to it.  

44westfountain1
Rendering of the 44 West fountain in the plaza.

Ooo, I want to see. We have our first look at the 44 West fountain, a key feature of the plaza plan that won over the hearts and minds of residents across the borough, and let’s just say, it does not disappoint. Architectural renderings provided to the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) show a tiered fountain that will shoot columns of water from an upper pool to a lower pool (and vice versa). The fountain will sit at the front of the property banding the corner from Gay to Church Streets. The drawings have been approved by HARB and were voted on by Borough Council this week. 

melton_housing renderings
Rendering of the proposed Melton Center 41-unit apartment building.

Also making their public debut, the plans for the Melton Center Land Development Project. To refresh your memory, the Melton Center is on a mission to expand affordable housing options in the borough. To this end they are planning to build ten townhouses and a four-story 41-unit apartment building on their Market Street location. According to these latest drawings the project would consist of two buildings, both on the east side of the property, one facing Market Street, the other facing Miner Street. Facing Miner Street will be the townhouses. Each townhome will have its own garage around back. The apartment building will be on Market Street. Parking for these units will be between and to the side of the two buildings. 

While plans progress, fundraising continues. It is estimated 14 million will be needed to complete the project.

Let’s just eat at home. Chester County Health Reports are out for December and it was a rough month for convenience dining. West Chester Golf and Country Club led the Health Inspector’s naughty list with 12 violations including a citation for food employees not wearing “[hair] nets, hats or beard covers,” and multiple cleaning violations. Also going home with coal, Shoo Mama’s Farm Fresh Cafe, Dunkin Donuts on Market Street, and the ACAC Cafe, which was cited for trying to sell expired bottles of a protein juice beverage. 

Two Birds Cafe, on the other hand, aced their opening day inspection with zero violations. As did Penn Oaks Country Club, just saying.  

“Safety is ground zero when it comes to sustaining a prosperous and successful community.”

– Mayor Dianne Herrin 

Who wants to take the lead? With the retirement of 20-year Police Chief Scott Bohn this month, West Chester’s Police Department is actively searching for a new leader. The process is being led by Mayor Dianne Herrin, in her role as overseer of the police department, with the help of Mr. Bohn. The job has been posted internally and in an interview with the Daily Local the Mayor indicated they are looking to promote within if the right candidate presents him or herself. Serious crime is down 58 percent since 2000, the length of Bohn’s tenure as chief. So, the boots are some big ones to fill. 

bag
Plastic bag flying down the street. A ban on these types of bags goes into effect July 2.

I know what you’re doing next summer. West Chester’s new plastic bag and straw ban is now just six months away. As businesses begin to get ready for the ban which takes effect on July 2, the borough  posted a reminder to owners of their requirements:

  • Any bag distributed to customers must include 40% recycled content and be recyclable in the borough. This is considered a “compliant bag.”
  • Businesses are required to charge 10 cents per compliant bag distributed to customers, and disclose this fee on the sales receipt

If a business is found in violation they will face mounting fines. However, any business unable to comply immediately may request a one-year exemption through the borough’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. 

I’m ready for my closeup. West Chester is investing in the power of video to help promote the area’s attractions, economic development opportunities, and quality of life. In a letter to the business community Mike Perrone, Borough Manager, stated they are “dedicated to highlighting the advantages of living in West Chester; advantages that include access to our wonderful business community.” The videos, when complete, will be available on the borough website. 

MSP-gazebo2
Marshall Square Park over the holidays.

Come on, let’s play. Marshall Square Park is getting some new playground equipment. A couple of years ago the park replaced its playground equipment, but the structure chosen was designed for kids 5-8, leaving the little ones to the swings. This left some parents of young kids concerned. They have fought to have a complimentary toddler play structure added, and they won. The new structure will go up this year. 

Meanwhile on the other side of town, Everhart Park has its own playground excitement going on. They too will be replacing equipment this year and they want your input so no child gets left behind. Have thoughts on the playground? Take their short survey now. 

The warnings. Keep your enemies at a safe distance. A West Chester man was arrested this week on charges of strangulation, assault and false imprisonment among other things. It was believed to be a domestic incident

Watch where you are going. North Walnut Street will be closed between Market Street and Middle Alley on Monday and Tuesday (Jan 13-14) for a sewer repair. 

Get your flu shot. Because the flu is serious and you could die. (Not that we’re trying to scare you here.) 

The accolades. Kudos to the Ram Band on their impressive performance at the Eagles playoff game on Sunday. Also, high fives to the West Chester men’s basketball team who is off to the best start in team history. The Golden Rams won their first 13 games of the season before dropping one to Shippensburg on Wednesday. Your next chance to catch the Golden Rams at home will be Saturday, January 18, when they’ll face Kutztown. 

Also, a big salute to the West Chester Fire Department command and line officers for 2020 including: Assistant Chiefs, Stephan Pelna, Mark Scanlan, and Mike DiMeo and Captains, Justin McClure, Paul Widmayer, Greg Witmer and Ron Giacinto. The new leadership was named last week. Thank you to all our firefighters for all they do.  

Finally, congratulations to Borough Council members Bernie Flynn, Michael Stefano and Nick Allen who were all sworn in this week. Bernie and Michael are serving their second term. Nick his first. 

Benchmark-Arc Jeans Donation_Press
Employees from the Benchmark Federal Credit Union helped raise 2,062 for the Arc of Chester County.

Pay it forward. West Chester-based Benchmark Federal Credit Union, whose employees paid for the privilege of wearing jeans every Friday, presented the proceeds to Arc of Chester County this week. Comfort and cause. Win. Win.

Also participants in last month’s Designer Handbag bingo at the Elks Club on W. Washington Street, know your efforts paid off in more than a brand new bag. This week the social club presented a check for $1600 to Good Works of Chester County. Interested in helping your community while scoring cheap goods? Bingo is held at 6:30 p.m., on the last Wednesday of each month at the Elks Club.

liquid eatery
It looked so cute inside, I wish I had taken a moment to try it out.

Goodbye. To Liquid Eatery and Bango Bowls on Gay Street. If you were planning to adhere to your New Year’s resolution to get fitter by downing large portions of fruit, looks like your options are down to Playa Bowls and Jaco Juice

Also, say addio to your gelato fix. Normally the streets of West Chester are blessed with two made from scratch gelato locations but for the next painful week there will be none. Gemelli is on winter break through January 16. And D’Ascenzo’s will not return until March 20. 

Finally, goodbye to Borough Council President Diane Lebold who officially stepped down earlier this month after serving two terms as the Ward 2 representative. 

downtown_star of india
Temps are supposed to be extremely mild this weekend. Great excuse for a walk through town.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We will be hitting the sidelines for a couple of basketball games, and then recovering from the season’s first cold. Maybe some time outside will help? It’s supposed to be pretty nice.

Looking for things to do? Here’s some ideas. (That knitting thing sounded kind of cool.)

Mark your calendars: 

  • Better Than Bacon 2020 improv, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Jan. 10
  • Selfish Knitting Celebration, Highland Farm Rd, West Chester, Jan. 11 Event details
  • West Chester Cyber Program Open House, Fugett Middle School, Jan. 15 Event details
  • James and the Giant Peach, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Jan. 11 – Jan. 19
  • Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail?speaker series, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Jan. 21
  • Kindergarten 101, Peirce Middle School, Jan. 22 Event details
  • Live Planetarium Show: Venus, Mather Planetarium, Jan. 24
  • Belgium Comes to West Chester, Iron Hill Brewery, Jan. 25
  • Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2020, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 1-2
  • An evening of Jazz: Love Songs, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 14

That’s it we are done. The first full week of 2020 is in the books and it’s been rich! Here’s last week’s Roundup, if you need it. Plus, don’t forget to take a minute to help Everhart Park design their playground. I did it. It’s kind of fun. And next week, best bars in West Chester. Dryuary can’t last forever. See you then!

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