West Chester Weekly News Roundup

everhart park_winter2020-2
Winter walk in Everhart Park.

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

It’s Friday, February 14. The Chamber of Commerce wants to move the West Chester Bike Race to September. Plus, West Chester will get new representation in Harrisburg, the latest on the Borough summer camp program and Toll Brothers have a new proposal for Crebilly Farms. It’s Valentine’s Day. Grab a candy heart and let’s get started. 

“This was a very tough decision, especially knowing just how many of you have faithfully and tirelessly supported my work over the years.”

-State Senator Andy Dinniman

It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. After four full terms serving the 19th State Senate District, which includes West Chester, State Senator Andy Dinniman has announced he will not seek re-election in the fall and will instead spend more time with his wife who is reportedly battling a serious illness. West Chester NAACP President Kyle J. Boyer has announced he will run for the seat, as will Don Vymazal of Phoenixville, Mr. Dinniman’s longtime aide. 

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All indicators are the Borough Summer Camp will be officially moving to the Melton Center. Exactly what this new camp will look like, is still not clear.

File under, things causing parents anxiety. Updates to the “new-improved” Borough Summer Camp continue to be rolled out very quietly. Members of Borough Council met this week to review changes to the program. Didn’t get the memo? Not surprising, since the item was discussed at the Administration, Communication and Technology (ACT) committee meeting rather than at the Public Works meeting which is the meeting Park & Rec Director attends. Hmmm.  

Anyway, this is what we know so far (tentatively, no official, final announcement has been made on anything):

  • The camp is now being called Camp Discovery
  • It is open to kids five to 12 and it will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an option to extend to 6 p.m.. While all the kids will attend the same camp they will be split into three different age groups. Children must have completed kindergarten to attend (this is new from last year.)
  • The program will be combined with the Melton Center’s summer program and its 30 kids and the new program will incorporate some sort of STEM curriculum. 
  • The cost of the program is $1500 for the summer plus $200 for extended hours (to 6 p.m.), paid upfront. While this is a noticeable increase from last year, it is still less than many other local options and does include any field trips the camp takes.  
  • There will no longer be Friday swimming trips to Marsh Creek. 

What we don’t know: 

  • Where the camp will be held. While there were promises to keep it associated with the parks, latest discussions indicate it will be at the Melton Center with “walks” to Borough parks. I put “walk” in quotes because I am not sure which parks they are planning to walk 60 kids to from the Melton Center.
  • If it will be open to non-Borough residents. Currently the overview only mentions residents.
  • We also don’t know what the kids will be doing with their time. We know they are working with Uncommon Individual Foundation to develop STEM activities, but those activities will only consume three hours a week. In previous years the kids just ran around the parks all day participating in a variety of playground activities (kickball, basketball, climbing, chalk). I am not sure how that translates at the Melton Center. 

One more thing we do know, registration opens March 1. I’ve heard from people close to the project that this should be a really great option for Borough families, but all these changes, plus lack of any official communication from the Borough, are making many parents wary about the program. I’ll be curious to see how registration goes, or if this is the beginning of the end for the Borough Summer Camp Program. 

“We have been presented with a fantastic opportunity around the bike race.”

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

bike race2019
According to the Daily Local, 20,000 fans packed downtown to watch 2019 West Chester Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic.

What are you doing the second Saturday in September? The Chester County Chamber of Commerce wants to push the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic from August to September this year. According to a letter from the Chamber to Borough Manager Mike Perrone, West Chester has been offered the opportunity to host the official championship race of the USA Crit Series. The change promises more high-profile racers and potential out-of-town guests, but the new date would be a mere eight days before Restaurant Festival. The date change will need the approval of Borough Council when they meet next week. 

Same *&^$, different day. After their first application was declined by a Pennsylvania court, Toll Brothers was back in front of Westtown Township this week with a new proposal. This new configuration keeps the 319-homes of the original plan but moves them 600 feet to the east. By doing this the developers leave open 80 acres to the east of New Street, most likely the site of soldier activity during the Battle of Brandywine. Opponents of the project are in no way appeased by the proposed change. As one put it, “nothing has changed other than a shift of the same amount of houses further east.”

All this new development is straining local resources including the school system. West Chester Area School District released its second redistricting plan in less than a decade just last week. See the details here

All this development is also taking a toll on the environment, see what the Borough is doing about that here.

What’s old is new again. Hello, this is the Borough of West Chester speaking. In December, West Chester began using robocalls to notify residents of road closures. They used the white pages data to locate resident numbers and completed 12 calls. 

Road closure information is also posted in the alerts section of the Borough website and shared on their social accounts, just in case your kids are hogging the land line.  

Speaking of people sharing things on social

The warnings. Do not attack a cop. A West Chester man, Jeremy Guerra, is facing a host of criminal charges after assaulting a police officer last week. Mr. Guerra reportedly charged the police officer and threw a glass beer bottle in his direction after the officer arrived to investigate a domestic dispute. Luckily no one was hurt except perhaps, Mr. Guerra who can now add aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and propulsion of missiles, to his list of charges. 

Leave the guns at home (locked in a safe). Half-brothers Tyrell and Timothy Jacobs were sentenced this week for the murder of Eric Brown in the Star Social Club in 2018. After a brief altercation, Tyrell shot Eric in the chest. Timothy will serve 31-62 years, Tyrell life.  

Lock your dorm door. A sexual assault was reported at a West Chester University dorm last weekend. The incident is still under investigation. Police urge students to remain aware of their surroundings. 

Actually, just lock everything, West Chester police are reporting car break-ins are once again on the rise in the area.  

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Downtown West Chester.

The accolades. Congratulations to the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce who was recognized this week with a U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service Salute award for their ongoing support of recruitment efforts.  

A round of applause for West Chester schools which were once again recognized among the best in the state. Niche.com released its report of top PA high schools. The list includes both public and private schools ranked on academic performance, student-life data, and user feedback.   

Here’s how West Chester High Schools ranked: 

  1. Westtown School
  2. Henderson High School, West Chester Area School District
  3. Bayard Rustin High School, West Chester Area School District
  4. East High School, West Chester Area School District

Finally, more high fives to West Chester East boys basketball team – who just keep rolling

Pay it forward. Next week join the West Chester Police Department as they formally honor and say goodbye to Chief of Police Scott Bohn. The special recognition ceremony will be held February 19, 7 p.m. at Borough Hall. Share with your neighbors, all are welcome. Thirty-four years is a long time to dedicate to anything, and Scott dedicated it to us.  

Since you’re at Borough Hall anyway, West Chester is looking for residents to fill two vacancies on the Zoning Hearing Board. If you are interested, send a cover letter and resume to ddidomenico@west-chester.com.

Hello. To a new school resource officer, aka police officer, at Pierce Middle School. The added police presence is part of the school board’s Safe Schools Plan. 

Also, say hello to Esports in Education, the new book from Paul Richards, Chief Streaming Officer at West Chester-based StreamGeeks. The book explores technology-related career paths in the growing esports industry. You know, like, Chief Streaming Officer. 

spicy pig cafe
Sunday brunch. We stopped into the Spicy Pig Cafe for brunch and were pleasantly surprised. It’s not often mentioned in the roundup of West Chester breakfast options, but the food was good and the coffee strong. Both wins for me.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? Big Valentine’s Day plans? Not here. We are bowing out this weekend. We’ll head out when there is less strain on the babysitting population. We are however, heading over to West Chester University to see my niece’s team take on the Golden Rams in basketball. Then we are having everyone over for pizza. I’m guessing we’ll go here, but honestly, I can not find a local pizza place I consistently love. If anyone knows what I’m missing, please share.  

For those of you lucky souls with an evening to kill, the Murder Mystery Masquerade Party at the library tonight sounds like so much fun. Send pics. 

Mark your calendars: 

  • An evening of Jazz: Love Songs, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 14
  • Murder Mystery Masquerade Party, West Chester Public Library, Feb. 14
  • Transitioning from 5th to 6th Grade 101 Parent Meeting, Stetson Middle School, Feb. 18 
  • Kenny Rogerson Comedy, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 21
  • Live Planetarium Show: A Star is Born, Mather Planetarium, Feb. 21 
  • First Female President of Ireland to speak at West Chester, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Feb. 25 Details
  • Meeting on gun safety, Grove United Methodist Church, Feb. 26 @ 7:15 p.m.
  • Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2020, West Chester Historical Society, Feb. 27
  • Beer and Girl Scout Cookie pairing, Iron Hill, Feb. 29

That’s it. We made it. Have a lovely week surrounded by those you love. If you missed last week’s West Chester Round Up you can find it here. If you’re planning to head out tonight, but it’s been a while since you’ve hit the bar scene, here’s a little refresher, and for tomorrow.

Not following the blog, yet? Stop. Do it now. You know you don’t want to miss all this.

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