West Chester Weekly News Roundup

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

Time to take it in. West Chester has applied to PennDot to extend the Gay Street closure to November.

It’s Friday, August 21. The Borough takes a first look at the 2021 budget and a potential tax increase. See how much. Plus, West Chester to get another fountain, a Gay Street closure extension and everybody gets ready to go back to learning. School not so much. Soak it in these are your last days of summer.

The cost of living in the Borough may go up as Borough Council considers a tax increase.

No need to panic, yet. Last Friday the Borough Department heads met to make their initial 2021 budget presentations to the Borough’s Finance and Revenue committee and things aren’t looking great. While it will take a will to sort through the 48 pages of numbers (here for your perusing pleasure), the general takeaway is if nothing changes, the Borough is expecting a nearly $1.7 million dollar deficit to its general fund next year – a shortfall that may have to be covered with a tax increase. According to the provided documentation, “millage would need to be increased to 9.20 [from 6.96] to fund deficit in the General Fund.” For the average resident this would mean a real estate tax increase of $306.

Buried on page 30 of the Borough’s draft budget proposal this moment of pause.

Not the best news to deliver during a recession. However, this is just the initial proposal much can change between now and the final budget, but one this is for sure the Borough budget problems continue. Makes you wonder where that paving money went to?

“No matter where, Golden Rams CHARGE!”

-West Chester University Facebook page
First Friday of the school year and Goshen Hall dormitory is quiet as a school mouse.

It’s back to that-makeshift-desk-situation-in-the-corner-of-your-bedroom time! There was no big move-in weekend, no street closures to report, no big parties on fraternity lawns, just a quiet post on social media. “No matter where, Golden Rams CHARGE!” WCU wrote on their official Facebook page to mark the first day of classes. 

While the majority of students will be remote for the fall semester, a small subset of roughly 600 students will be housed on campus. These include Promise Program participants, hardships cases, international students and those academic programs require specific location training such as labs, music rooms and classroom and clinical placements. These students will be housed on campus in residential facilities, and will practice social distancing and adhere to CDC guidelines.

School buildings such as the library, student union and rec center will also be open for student use – masks and social distancing required at all times while on campus both in and out of buildings.

Other random things to note: 

  • All collegiate and club level sports have been cancelled for the Fall semester.
  • The creative students and faculty in the Wells School of Music will continue live performances, but in a virtual format via Livestream. 
  • Shuttle bus is running but on a limited schedule.
Acknowledging we may all need a little support to get through this year, students from East, Henderson, Rustin, Fugett, Peirce, Stetson, Exton, Hillsdale, and Starkweather came together with the help of the district’s music teacher record this classic for incoming teachers. 

Up next. West Chester Area School District teachers, administrators, students (and parents) get their moment on Monday and judging by the comments on the Facebook chat there are still a lot of questions about the new virtual programs. Topics of angst include: block schedules, supply lists and login information. WCASD IT department is swamped so trouble-shoot where you can, and embrace the chaos. 2020-2021 here we come. 

Still sorting your childcare situation? Little Faces West Chester has a suggestion for you.  

Get out and play. Also moving along, the Everhart Park playground project. Last week, Borough Council approved an agreement with Stantec Consulting Service to survey Everhart Park for the installation of new playground equipment. It looks like actual construction will take place next year, if the money remains in the Borough budget. Friends of Everhart Park is also accepting community donations in hopes of making truly remarkable. If you’re interested, you can give here

That d*$&# pipeline. Well, that was quick. 

The warnings. Where there’s smoke, there’s a day gone bad. This week the West Chester Police Department and the West Chester Fire Department were called to a stove on the 50 block of S. Brandywine Street. The fire was successfully extinguished but dinner was officially ruined.

The WCPD also responded to a fire at Stroud Preserve after a construction vehicle caught fire.

Accolades. Kudos to West Chester high schools, Rustin and Henderson for making it onto Philadelphia Magazine’s list of top 25 performing suburban schools. For their ranking the magazine uses standardized test performance, graduation rates, college acceptance rates, SAT scores and teacher-student ratios. Both schools have graduation rates of 98% among the best of those listed. The annual list is available in the September issue, if you want to dig deeper.

Also cheers to the Social Lounge which is planning to launch its second location in Downingtown sometime in September. 

Workers putting the final piping in place on the 44 West fountain.

Hello. To another fountain plaza combo. Just as we await the water to be turned on to the fountain at 44 West, we learn of a new fountain/plaza project this time at West Chester University. WCU is planning to add a President’s Walk, or meandering path through campus, which will be topped off with a new plaza and fountain. The walk’s grand finale is planned for the northwest corner of South High Street and Rosedale Avenue. 

“Dress in brightly colored clothes if you want, and then make a donation to [a] Chester County non-profit… in memory of someone you know who lost their life to substance abuse.”

-County Commissioner Michelle Kichline on continuing the spirit of the Color 5K

Goodbye. This year’s Color 5K in support of ending the opioid and heroin epidemic in Chester County. This family-friendly event typically held at Everhart Park is being cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. In place of the formal run, the County Commissioners who sponsor the race, “encourage everyone to set a goal of running (or walking) their own 5K. Dress in brightly colored clothes if you want, and then make a donation to the Chester County non-profit of your choice in memory of someone you know who lost their life to substance abuse, or to honor someone who is still struggling with substance abuse.”

To your commuting options. West Chester University is reporting both Zipcar, the rideshare, and Zagster, the bike share company, have ceased operations with the campus (and in Zagster’s case for good).

West Chester Grower’s Market summer 2019. When we were OK to greet friends with a hug.

Pay it forward. West Chester Grower’s Market is collecting food donations this Saturday (and every Saturday since the beginning of June) for local residents in need. This Saturday they will be collecting for the Salvation Army of West Chester’s Manna from Heaven Food Pantry. Pantry staples as well as garden excess are welcome. As are cash donations. Stop by the market to drop off your extras. 

Also paying it forward, Elevate Hair Studio which is offering free salon services to those in need. Spots are filling up quickly so if you need trim or touch up call them today to reserve you space. Dates remaining include Sept. 20, Nov. 1, and Dec. 13. 

Want to be on the giving end of a good deed? West Chester fire companies are in need of a hand. West Chester is covered by three fire companies – the First West Chester Fire Company, The Good Will Fire Company and The Fame Fire Company. All 100% volunteer.

Relaxing downtown listening to music or taking in a playoff game, seems like a much more enjoyable way to spend a weekend then what we will actually be doing.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We will be loading up iPads, sorting schedules and organizing school supplies. I am debating making a back to school shopping run. Part of me wants our new kindergartner to pick out his first day of school outfit. Part of me would rather just stay home or walk downtown for one of these

Update: This event has been cancelled. Also this weekend, the Melton Center is hosting a Black Lives Matter Festival on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be local vendors including black owned businesses, featured speakers and a DJ. 

And the Library is hosting its now regular trivia night tonight. We haven’t tried yet but a little Q&A could be a good way to get into the back-to-school spirit (which I am clearly lacking this year). The event is free so no pressure to know anything.

Stay safe. Stay healthy and I’ll see you next week. 

New to the blog? Follow along for the latest updates from West Chester. If I’m missing something, and I probably am, or you just want to say “hi,” send me an email

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