West Chester Views
First snow of 2020, captured beautifully by West Chester Views.

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

It’s Friday, January 24. We get our first look at Everhart’s new playground and answer the burning question, will it have a zipline? Plus, Chester County Hospital’s new patient tower opens Monday, a change to the Library’s regularly scheduled hours, and the best burger in West Chester. Pull up a seat and let’s get started. 

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Improve pedestrian walking cues and standardize signage are just two of the suggestions being floated for High Street.

High Street feedback. In case you missed it, West Chester Borough along with PENNDot and the Chester County Planning Commission are studying how to improve the High Street corridor and they want your feedback. The plan is to gather ideas during an open-house style meeting January 30 at Borough Hall, but that hasn’t stopped suggestions from coming in. Here are some of the ideas being floated, from the practical to the ambitious: 

  • Add turn lights at the intersection of High Street and Rosedale Avenue
  • Build a bridge so students can walk over High Street
  • Add a crossing guard
  • Give students more time to cross and add pedestrian walk signals that verbally announce when it’s time to cross
  • Do not allow left turns from Sharpless onto High Street
  • Remove some of the crosswalks
  • Light the crosswalks so motorists can see pedestrians when they are crossing
  • Make signage consistent
  • Build more parking garages and eliminate street parking on High Street to allow for turn lanes

Have ideas you want to share? Give your feedback in person or learn more about the project January 30, 5:30-7:30 at Borough Hall, drop by any time. 

design day
Play By Design designer Lisa DeShano shares her playground design with Hillsdale students at the Design Day reveal.

Drum roll, please. Friends of Everhart Park in collaboration with Hillsdale Elementary and Play by Design, playground designers, held their Design Day reveal on Wednesday night. The new playground, which was designed with help from Hillsdale students and the community, will feature a two-story tree house with wheel-chair accessibility, a rock wall, an obstacle course, multiple slides, including a two-story “swirly vortex” slide, and a rolling pirate ship. There will also be a natural play area where kids can explore with their surroundings, storefront facades to mimic downtown and, if fundraising goes well, a zip line.

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Bird’s eye view of Everhart Park’s new playground. Zoom in to see details.

Next steps for the project: the design team is taking the initial drawings back to the office to finalize and review for compliance with ASTM and International and Consumer Product Safety standards. 

“We’ve been growing rapidly over the past five years and we couldn’t sustain that growth.” 

-Michael Duncan, Chester County Hospital president

Speaking of big reveals, Chester County Hospital is ready to unveil its brand new state-of-the-art  five-story, 99-room patient tower. The tower which will feature an abundance of natural light, a courtyard, a green roof and a new Starbucks’ cafe, will begin accepting patients on Monday. This is phase one of the hospital’s 300 million dollar renovation project. Up next will be a 26,000-square-foot emergency department expansion scheduled to be completed in the spring.

The expansion was undertaken to meet the growing needs of the hospital which saw admissions grow nearly 13 percent from 2014 to 2019. With the completion of the renovation, Chester County will overtake Paoli as the largest hospital in the county. 

West Chester Public Library will be closed Tuesday through Friday of next week.

Can I borrow a book? Mark your calendars and plan ahead, the West Chester Public Library will be closed from January 28 through January 31 while they update their fire alarm system. On the plus side, three more days to finish up those checked out reads (no fines will accrue on materials), and of course, ebooks will still be available. Check the library website for more details. 

Mission accomplished. It’s official, West Chester University’s successful RAM (Real Achievement Matters) Initiative will be back for the fall 2020 semester. The pilot program that let non-degree seeking students with intellectual disabilities get a taste of college life while earning a certificate of completion found champions both inside and out of WCU. So much so, the University has announced it has met the fundraising goals needed to make the program permanent. Go Rams!

If you know of someone who may be interested in participating in the program, applications for the fall semester are due Feb. 10. There is an Open House on Saturday, at the Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center to learn more. Registration required.

Want a good burger fast? Buddy’s is the way to go.

“Simple. If you are looking for a finely crafted burger in the borough you go to Roots Cafe or Split Rail Tavern. If you want a fast food/drunk eats, you go to Buddy’s or Jakes.”

-Jon D., Nextdoor

Burger orders. Last week we had the best bars, this week the best burger. The question was posed on Nextdoor: “Who makes the best burger [in West Chester]?” There were a lot of ideas (41 responses) and little consensus, but if you want to do a little taste testing this weekend, here are your leaders:

For a “bougie” burger try: Pietros (you’ll have to order at the bar, if you go at dinner), Split Rail Tavern or 4 Dogs Tavern (still maintain this is not a West Chester establishment).  

If you want fast and quick, Buddies is apparently the way to go. 

However West Chester, when it comes to burgers we are well covered, in all 17 different establishments were recommended. Here’s the full list in no particular order: Jimmy Johns, Pietros Prime, Righteous Tap House, Wayback Burger, Split Rail Tavern, Mercato, 4 Dogs Tavern, Iron Hill, Stone Tavern, America’s Pie, Roots Cafe, Side Bar, Freddy’s Steakburgers, Buddies, Freddies, and Ram’s Head.  

“Being part of League Two will offer our players a challenge at the highest levels.” 

-West Chester United coach Blaise Santangelo

Bend it like Brandon. West Chester United, West Chester’s premier soccer league, has been asked to join the USL League Two, a developmental soccer league sponsored by United Soccer Leagues in the United States and Canada. According to an article in Vista, “USL League Two franchises provide elite amateur players the opportunity to train and compete at the highest level while maintaining their collegiate eligibility.” Here’s to all you future scholarship winners.  

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Bus on fire outside Iron Hill. Image: West Chester Borough Police Department.

The warnings. Lock your doors. West Chester police are looking for a 20-30 year old black male in connection with a burglary at a home on the 400 block of S. Matlack last Saturday. The suspect, who was caught on surveillance video, entered the home through the backdoor and removed cash and credit cards from a wallet inside the residence. He then left the same way he came in. If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact the police directly. Choose your seat carefully. West Chester police and fire departments also responded to a bus on fire this week at the corner of Gay and High Streets. Watch out for invasive species. Finally police were called to respond to a pile of bamboo blocking Boot Road earlier this week. The perennial flowering plants have reportedly been a problem in the area for years.    

The accolades. Cheers to online education. West Chester University’s online MBA has been ranked as one of the top 50 programs in the nation. Although, I guess having this top ranked program in our backyard really is not really much of a benefit.  

Also, high fives to West Chester East’s Andrew Carr and Tym Richardson on hitting the 1000 point mark in their high school basketball careers. 

Finally, congrats to West Chester resident Pierre Faucher and his son on winning the WSFS Bank’s 2019 Visa NFL Ultimate Super Bowl LIV Fan Experience. We’ll look for you next Sunday

Pay it forward. Earthborn Yoga is hosting a pop-up donation yoga class in support of the Australian fires. 100% of the profits of the All Levels of Flow class will go to the Australian Red Cross. Send good vibes and cash to a place in desperate need of both, all while getting your stretch on. 

West Chester University

Hello. To a new degree program from West Chester University. Now your offspring can get a degree in Music Therapy and still be close enough to home to use the washing machine every weekend. 

Also say hello to new classes. Middle and High School course description guides for the 2020/21 school year are now available on the West Chester Area School District website. 

Goodbye. To Sargent Henry Hague. The West Chester Police force veteran has announced his retirement after 28 years of service. Thank you for your dedication!

Speaking of, know any good officers looking for work? 

sled ride
Last weekend we had snow. This weekend it looks like rain.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We have our first birthday party at Lulu’s Casita. I’ve heard great things but I have never been. I think I am just as excited as my two year old to check it out.

Also, Belgium Comes to West Chester and Girl Scouts on the prowl. Should be a good one! 

Mark your calendars: 

  • Live Planetarium Show: Venus, Mather Planetarium, Jan. 24
  • Belgium Comes to West Chester, Iron Hill, Jan. 25
  • Free event! Carousel Ballroom Open House, Carousel Ballroom, Jan. 30
  • Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2020, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 1-2
  • An evening of Jazz: Love Songs, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 14
  • First Female President of Ireland to speak at West Chester, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Feb. 25 Details

That’s it. We. are. done. Thanks for following. Here’s last week’s Roundup if you missed it – and for all you parents of future kindergarteners, kindergarten round up was this week, check out this overview of the technology used in class. I found it pretty helpful of get a better understanding of how the school district approaches learning.

Finally, for all the latest West Chester news, in one (usually) pretty package, follow along, I’d love to have you.

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