West Chester Weekly News Roundup

sweater weather
Just a sweater weather. So far temperatures for February are roughly 8 degrees above average according to data from the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

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

It’s Friday, February 21. Get ready for spring with a new ice cream shop and an oyster bar (!), the Borough gets into the buy or lease debate, and finally something for all those fur-babies. Plus are sewer rates going up? And why living in West Chester could extend your life. Grab your beads. This one’s doozy. 

sunset
Sunset on Price Street.

Are sewer rates going up? The West Chester sewer system is in trouble. West Chester Borough owns and operates two waste treatment plants and four pumping stations, and according to a report pulled together by Keystone Alliance Consulting, that system will lose $12,354 dollars this year. That’s after wiping out a revenue surplus of more than $600,000. By next year the losses are estimated to reach $800K and by 2024 the wastewater treatment facility will be facing a deficit of more than $3 million. 

Much of this can be attributed to growing operating costs, needed capital upgrades and static revenue sources. Which can only mean one thing, rate increases. Currently three pricing models have been proposed.

Current Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Minimum monthly charge $26 $30.71 $27.11 $31.67
Water Allowance a month 2,000 gal 2,000 gal
Cost per $1000 gallons $6.90/ per 1000 gal over allowance $8.15/per 1000 gal over allowance $6.90/ per 1000 gal $4.50/ per 1000 gal

This week Borough Council approved forming a sub-committee to review all options and make a final recommendation to the full council. The group will include Council persons Donald Braceland and Bernie Flynn, and Borough staff from the Sustainability, Finance, Public Works, and Wastewater Departments, no date yet on when we can expect their recommendation or when a rate increase would go into effect.

If you want to dig into the numbers, you can find the full report here

Speaking of things that are going to cost you. West Chester approved its fee schedule for 2020 this week. Planning a renovation? Buying an income property? Want to open a daycare in your home? Get a pet chicken? There’s a permit for that. See what that new kitchen (or chicken) is going to cost you in permits here

borough vehicles
West Chester has been swayed by the sales pitch. The Borough will no longer buy its vehicles outright instead they will lease the vehicles on three year terms.

To buy or lease, that is the question. West Chester Borough will no longer be purchasing small cars or trucks. Borough Council voted this week to enter into a leasing program with Enterprise. Currently Borough cars and trucks are kept an average of 10 years, under the leasing program vehicles will be traded out every three years. The measure, which passed 6-1, will reportedly save the Borough on vehicle maintenance while allowing staff access to newer vehicles. This program will not apply to any specialty or police vehicles, at this time, but may expand to include detective and administrative vehicles in the future.   

Here’s to your health. Chester County Hospital is among the best hospitals in the country according to health care information company Healthgrades. The ranking which looks at treatment for heart attack, stroke, sepsis and respiratory failure, found that patients treated in the top 250 hospitals listed have a 26.6 percent lower chance of dying than those treated in unranked hospitals. Chester County ranked in the top 50. Feeling pretty good about your life choices, aren’t you?

This one’s for the fur babies. Earlier this year, Everhart Park revealed the design for its new playground. Now it has some exciting news for all you dog parents, this week Borough Council approved the request from the Friends of Everhart Park to install a dog drinking fountain in the park. 

St. Agnes
St. Agnes Catholic Church, West Chester

Finally some good news for West Chester Catholics. Former St. Agnes pastor Nelson Perez was installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia this week. His message to the people, “It’s time to come back to the church.” Personally, I think he’s still got a little cleaning up to do before he’s ready to have people over, but I wish him luck in his mission.   

Mark your calendars. It’s official. The Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic will move from August to September and West Chester is now proud host of the 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.  

“Stop the feel good and punitive anti-business legislation. Enjoy your straws.”

-The Silent Majority 

The warnings. Threats are not free speech. UPDATE: This has been resolved. Cheers to talking it out! Councilman Don Braceland reported he had a package of straws anonymously dropped off on his doorstep this week with the ominous note, “Stop the feel good and punitive anti-business legislation. Enjoy your straws.” Signed the Silent Majority. I don’t think cheap plastics is the hill we want to die on, people. West Chester’s single use plastic bag and straw ban goes into effect July 2.

Watch where you are going. PECO is back and that means so is the construction. This time on the 50 block of N. Church Street. Construction will begin February 24 and continue for two weeks. According to a notice on the Borough website, the worksite will be active Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.   

Flu season is in full effect.  

The accolades. Congratulations to West Chester University freshman Robbie Heath who scored 50 points in Saturday’s basketball game against Bloomsburg. This makes him the first WCU player in nearly 80 years to score 50 points in a game. 

Also congratulations to West Chester-based law firm Lamb McErlane on being named a “top workplace” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Finally congratulations, to Sid Baran, the West Chester YMCA employee of the year. If you are a member of the Y, you know Sid. Give him a hearty handshake next time you see him. 

“Thank you to the Chief, for the leadership that has made West Chester a model not only in the county but throughout the state.”

-Denise Polk, West Chester Borough Council

Pay it forward. A variety of local notables from Mayor Dianne Herrin to Superintendent Jim Scanlon and former Mayor Jordan Norley crowded council chambers on Wednesday night to recognize, now-retired, Police Chief Scott Bohn on his 34 years of dedicated service to the West Chester Borough Police Department. Mr. Bohn has accepted an executive director’s position with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

Also looking to make a difference in her new role, Miss West Chester University Alison Short. She is looking to raise awareness around student homelessness by sharing, she’s living it. Alison is one of about 70 West Chester students who are homeless. Read her story here

stove and tap
Spring is bringing a fresh crop of restaurants to West Chester. See who here

Hello. To Sedona Taphouse. The restaurant and bar franchise with 100s of craft beers to choose from has announced it is opening its second location in Pennsylvania, right downtown, at the corner of Church and Gay St in the new 44 West Plaza. Welcome to the Keystone State. 

To oysters again. Since Doc Macgrogans left in 2016 there really hasn’t been a go to place for oysters, but looks like that could be changing. Word has it Greystone Oyster Bar will be opening in the newly renovated 7-9 N. Church Street. 

To Scoops and Smiles. A new ice cream and water ice shop, brought to you by the people behind, Scoops and Smiles on King Street in Malvern. Scoops and Smiles is moving into number 6 E. Gay Street in West Chester. Interestly, they are already ranked the fifth best place to get ice cream in West Chester by Yelp despite not being open yet, and subsequently…  

Goodbye to Coffee + Ice Cream Bar on Gay St. I am not exactly sure when they officially closed their doors, but their last post on Instagram was in November. Oops missed that one, but really, who’s getting ice cream in December? It was a cute little place, if often sold out of most of its ice cream selections.  

dominoes
Dominoes at La Baguette Magique.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We will be supporting the kids’ school by playing cheap carnival games and taking our chances on the cake walk. Kids couldn’t be more excited. 

Dozens of sugared up screaming kids not your thing? Got to love the range of activities you can find in West Chester on a Saturday. 

Future ballers, West Chester Wildcats are holding AAU tryouts this Saturday at the Melton Center. Registration is $20 – open to 7th graders, 13 and under. 

Notice to all you trumpeters out there, West Chester University is holding its 13th annual Trumpet Fest this weekend. This is your chance to play with some world-class musicians. For the rest of us, it’s our chance to listen. 

Mark your calendars: 

  • Kenny Rogerson Comedy, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 21
  • Live Planetarium Show: A Star is Born, Mather Planetarium, Feb. 21 
  • 13th Annual Trumpet Fest, West Chester University’s Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center, Feb. 21-22
  • 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
  • Drug and Alcohol Show & Tell, East High School Auditorium, Mar. 4, adults only
  • Literacy Links Family Fun Round, West Chester Public Library, Mar. 14

That’s it. We are done here. Here is last week’s Roundup if you need it, and we now have more details on West Chester’s plan to transition to 100% renewable energy. You can read about that here. And while, I am officially scared of climate change, I still plan to make the best of this unseasonably warm weather. Maybe I’ll see you around? 

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