West Chester Weekly News Roundup

everhart park_winter2020-3
Enjoying last weekend’s mild weather at Everhart Park.

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

It’s Friday, February 28. West Chester Area School District has a plan to save $2.3 million a year – and all they have to do is write a letter. Plus, new parking restrictions, the Borough Summer Program is finally(!) complete, and a local institution gets a second chance 10-months after it was forced to closed. Grab a chair, February’s going long this year. 

market street
West Market Street, West Chester, PA

Can you move your car, please? Borough Council recently voted to amend the Borough Code to modify the “Vehicles and Traffic” section to implement alternate side of the street parking on Market and Poplar Streets. This change was made to allow for street cleaning.

The new schedule is as follows:

  • Market Street – parking is restricted on the south side Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. from Bradford Avenue to Wayne Street and on the north side on Mondays 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. from Potter Alley to Everhart Street. 
  • Popular Street – parking is restricted on the west side Thursdays 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. from Market to Bernard Streets. 

“We have done an analysis of the cost to operate our own cyber school, and it is significantly less than what we are paying to cyber charter schools.”

 -Chris McCune, President, West Chester Area School Board

Let’s talk cyber currency for a minute. This week the West Chester Area School board voted to publicly show their support for a resolution that would change the way cyber schools are funded. Under the proposed bill, WCASD cyber charter school tuition would be reduced by $3600 a student, from $13,100 to $9,500. The proposal also establishes a tiered tuition formula for special needs children. It’s is currently a single figure that does not take into consideration the severity of the need. Using the tiered formula the school district estimates it will save just over 11,000 per special education student. According to figures provided by WCASD, the district currently spends $7.7 million for charter school tuition. If this legislation passes, WACSD will save approximately $2.3 million in tuition payments. 

Who wants to take the lead? Update: Lt. James Morehead will be nominated the next Borough Police Chief.  Lt. Morehead will serve as acting chief until his nomination March 18. Mayor Dianne Herrin is ready to make her recommendation for the next Borough Police Chief, The Daily Local reported this week. Three candidates, all internal, were interviewed by a 10-member panel for the position. The mayor is reportedly looking for a candidate that that is a strong leader, can be a conduite with the community and Borough Council, and is adept at modern policing techniques.

The recommendation and the vote are expected at the March 18, Borough Council Meeting. Read the full article to see who’s vying for the job.

Plus, while, the job of Chief is pretty much set, there’s still time to join the force.

Pretty please, with a cherry on top. Earlier this year, Everhart Park revealed the design of their new playground, featuring five slides, a ninja warrior obstacle course, ADA-approved merry-go-round and… wait for it… a zip line. This week, they revealed how they are going to pay for it. The Friends of Everhart Park have put together a touching video in hopes you’ll help bring the Borough kids’ dream playground to life. If you’d like to help make the playground really special, go to Friends of Everhart Park and make a tax-deductible donation today.  

Welcome to the neighborhood. Ten-months after the death of its owner left it shuttered, the Dilworthtown Inn has new owners. The historic landmark and eight surrounding buildings were purchased by Painter House Suites, a developer of historic properties. Their plans for the property call for a blend of restaurants, offices, and residential space.

melton3
It’s official, if not surprising, the Borough Summer Camp is moving to the Melton Center.

Better late than never. After months of uncertainty we finally have the official program for the new Borough Summer camp. And just in time too, registration opens Monday!

Where we landed: 

  • The camp is now being called Camp Discovery
  • It is open to Borough kids ages five to 12 and it will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an option to extend it to 6 p.m.. While all the kids will attend the same camp they will be split into three different age groups. The camp will not be open to non-residents and children must have completed kindergarten to attend (this is new from last year.)
  • The program will be held at the Melton Center. Drop off will be on Market Street in front of the mural. 
  • The new program will incorporate some sort of STEM curriculum for three hours every two weeks. They will also be partnering with West Chester institutions like, WCU, the library, the historical society and Knauer Performing Arts to fill in the rest of the time. 
  • There will still be field trips, including to the Philadelphia Zoo, Lego Land and Lancaster Science Factory.
  • The cost of the program (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) is $1500 for the summer
  • Update: Extended hours (to 6 p.m.) are being offered at $50/week, paid upfront. This is an increase from the originally proposed $200 for the whole summer. 

Despite significant effort by members of the Park & Rec Department, Park & Rec Commission and the Melton Center, to save the program, I am curious to see how well it is received. Many of the Borough parents I talked to were turned off by the process, the secrecy and what I would describe as condescension from the Administration and Members of Council (none of which, I’m pretty sure have any kids actually in the program.)

The warnings. Don’t take things that are not yours. A Gibson Les Paul guitar was reportedly stolen from the West Chester Music Store back in November and pawned for cash. The police know the identities of the two men but not their whereabouts. If you have any information, contact West Chester Police at (610) 696-2700.

Don’t open your doors to kids or strangers. Last week unsupervised kids selling candy were reported making their way around a West Chester neighborhood, which brought a lot of concern to Nextdoor. No real harm seems to have come to any individual opening the door for the kids except perhaps shelling out too much for a stale candy bar. Just thought you should all be aware. 

The accolades. Happy Birthday to Horace Pippin. The West Chester artist and park namesake would have been 132 this week.  

Also, congratulations to Sterling Pig Brewery, West Chester on their first birthday, and Master Baker on its 50th. 

Finally, congratulations to our Piper on winning the Hillsdale Carnival cakewalk. Your family thanks you for the cupcakes. 

Pay it forward. Mayor Dianne Herrin picked up an extra shift this week behind the Slow Hand bar. She was celebrity bartending in support of an energy-efficient lighting upgrade for the Melton Center. The updated lighting will save the center $662 on their electric bill each month.

Feeling brave? First Fire Company of West Chester is looking for volunteers.

elevate yoga
Elevate Yoga Studio is celebrating their pre-opening this weekend. Official class schedule begins Monday.

Hello. To new ownership at the Spicy Pig Cafe. We were there for brunch about a couple weeks ago and everyone was pleased with their meals (and the coffee was strong, not always guaranteed with the diner experience.)

Also say hello to another yoga studio, this time to Elevate West Chester on N. Walnut Street. The new studio opens February 29 and they would like you to join them on Saturday for a day of classes and celebrations. I’m telling you, we must have to be the most zen population on the planet.

Finally, say hello to changing tables in the Kooma restrooms. Heather, sushi-loving parents everywhere thank you for this request.

“It’s official! Retirement is becoming a reality! Mixed emotions after all these years.”

-Christine Roberts, Librarian, Hillsdale Elementary School

Goodbye. To some of West Chester Area School District’s finest. We learned this week, Hillsdale Librarian Christine Roberts and Westtown Thornbury fourth grade teacher Rene Rodriguez, will retire at the end of the school year. 

Also, retiring: Brian Adger, Head Custodian at Fern Hill, Mary Daniels, ELD Teacher at Hillsdale, Beth Ann Johnson, Special Education Teacher at Penn Wood, Suzan Ogram, Library Assistant at Rustin, Catherine Scott, Paraprofessional at Fern Hill.

7 n church street
Construction continues on 7 N. Church Street, the future home of Greystone Oyster Bar.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? I am going to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, to check out this Jane Austin adaptation. Maybe West Chester could get a community supported movie theater? Wouldn’t that be fun? 

If you’re in town this weekend, West Chester University is hosting its inaugural Orchestra Festival on Saturday. The event pairs high school string students with West Chester University Symphony Orchestra members, faculty and violinist Elena Urioste for a day of learning and practice. The event culminates in a free public concert. 

Also, East boy’s basketball team will be taking on the Penn Wood in the District 1 5A championship on Saturday afternoon. Head down to Temple to cheer them on!

Mark your calendars: 

  • Beer and Girl Scout Cookie pairing, Iron Hill, Feb. 29
  • Orchestra Festival, Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center, Feb. 29
  • Drug and Alcohol Show & Tell, East High School Auditorium, Mar. 4, adults only
  • Consumer Fraud Protection Workshop, West Chester Area Senior Center, Mar. 4
  • Opus One Dance Project, Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, Mar. 6-7
  • Introduction to Meditation, West Chester Public Library, Mar. 7
  • Afrobeats Workshop and Master Class, Oscar Lasko YMCA, Mar. 7
  • Literacy Links Family Fun Round, West Chester Public Library, Mar. 14
  • Social Media Safety Night, Henderson, Mar. 16
  • Kennett Symphony “Compose Yourself” children’s concert, Rustin High School, Mar. 22

That’s it for this week. We are done. Thanks for stopping by! If you need it, here is last week’s Roundup which includes a link to West Chester’s new fee schedule. Handy if you are planning a renovation this year. Plus have you heard? A surge of new restaurants are planned for downtown, finally filling in some of those empty spaces. You can find a list of the newcomers, here, and a list of those that have closed, here.  

If you are new, first, welcome. Second, follow the blog to get the latest West Chester news delivered straight to your inbox. See you all next week!

 

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