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It’s Friday, Oct. 14. Staycation will get a whole new meaning if regal Greystone Hall is granted its wish to become a 4-star inn. The plans and what a “very upscale” guest room could look like. Plus, the latest on the search for a serial burglar terrorizing the southeast end of the Borough – seven break-ins were reported in September alone, the Borough’s first selfie wall and enough treats to make the rest bearable. Who’s ready? Let’s catch up.
“We have a good system. It can handle a pretty big storm. We did reasonably well with Ian and I think that’s a pretty good sign.”Will Williams, West Chester Sustainability Director
Your Stream Protection dollars at work
Last month we looked at the science behind the borough flooding. Now we get to see what the Borough of West Chester plans to do about it. In 2017 Borough Council implemented a stream protection fee – don’t call it a tax – on impervious property in the borough. The money generated by the fee is used to “manage the pollution and associated stormwater effects from impervious surfaces.”
To date, we have seen mitigation projects like the installation of bump-outs, rain gardens, and pervious road materials like those used in Hoopes Alley, as well as larger restorative projects at Plum Run and Marshall Drive but we haven’t seen a long-term plan. This year, we get a look into the future.
The Stream Protection Program’s 5-year plan
- Public Works Building, Lacey Street
Project type: Flood mitigation
What’s proposed: Rain gardens, bioswales, and inlets to Maple Alley and the Public Works parking area.
Watershed/Timing: Goose Creek, 2023
- Greenview Park, alley, and parking lot
Project type: Flood mitigation
What’s proposed: Rain gardens, bioswales, and inlets added to Greenview Alley and the Greenfield Park parking lot. More on the full plan.
Watershed/Timing: Goose Creek, started in 2022, this project will be completed in 2023.
- Hannum Avenue
Project type: Stream restoration
Watershed/Timing: Taylor/Plum/Blackhorse Run, 2024 – 2025
- North High/Ashbridge Streets
Project type: Maintenance
What’s proposed: Replacing five old and deteriorating city inlets with a new drainage basin.
Watershed/Timing: Taylor/Plum/Blackhorse Run; Project scoping is taking place now, construction is planned for 2023.
- N. Walnut Street from Clarke Street to just past E. Ashbridge Street
Project type: Stream restoration and mitigation
Watershed/Timing: Taylor/Plum/Blackhorse Run, 2024 – 2027
- Neilds/Linden/Franklin Streets
Project type: Flood mitigation
Watershed/Timing: Goose Creek, 2024 – 2026
“We have a good system. It can handle a pretty big storm. It’s just when those storms take the form of a historic downpour when we really get in trouble,” said West Chester Sustainability Director Will Williams to the Public Works Committee this week.
However, as we discussed with Dr. Fork and Mike Dunn of the Goose Creek Alliance, not everything is within the control of the borough. There are several unknowns that could have a big impact on which way the flood waters flow, so to speak.
Market Street Apartments, West Chester Borough, 219 mostly one-bedroom apartments with ground-level parking are planned for 250 Market Street. This project sits right above Goose Creek and offers an opportunity for improved stormwater management.
Spellman lot, 829 Paoli Pike, West Goshen, land has been set aside behind the new development (ALDI and Popeye’s Chicken) for stormwater improvements. What will be tackled with the space is not yet known.
611 E. Nields St, West Chester Borough, plans are underway for the construction of two warehouses and significant impervious parking at the former home of a Wyeth penicillin plant. Stormwater features will be incorporated as part of the plan but will they offset all that pavement?
West Chester University lawsuit, West Chester Borough, not a land development project but if the borough was to win its legal case against the university, the Stream Protection program would see an influx of cash.
Meet you at the Inn at Greystone Hall
I remember touring the grounds of Greystone Hall when we were looking for a wedding venue. The stately Renaissance-style manor home tucked in 45-manicured West Goshen acres is a popular wedding destination. So popular in fact, when you Google “Greystone Hall,” West Chester wedding venue comes attached to the description.
Greystone Hall was built in 1907 by West Chester inventor Philips M. Sharples. Since then the home has only seen two owners – the Sharples and current owners the Jerrehians – which has limited changes to the original buildings. While the grounds have been open, the home itself has remained mostly out of the public view. That could soon change.
The Jerrehians recently took their plans for a “very upscale” 60-room, 4-star inn complex to the West Goshen Township supervisors. The idea is to offset the cost of owning and operating the property by opening it up to paying guests. The plans as presented would add new buildings to accommodate additional guests but strive to preserve “much as possible” the existing buildings.
Main home, first floor: Look for a reception area in the Great Hall, fine dining in the library, breakfast in the dining room, and a fitness area off the kitchen; Second floor: 11 guest rooms, the rooms will remain largely as they exist today with the addition of some bathrooms; Third floor: 8 guest rooms, club lounge
Carriage house: Spa, casual restaurant, and pub
South lawn: walking trails, outdoor pool, outdoor spa pool
New buildings: 22 rooms in newly built guest cottages and pavilion sites; 16 rooms in a guest suite and carriage house complex.
The building plans passed West Goshen review and have been sent to the Chester County Planning Commission which has 30 days to take a look. A public hearing, while not yet announced, will likely be planned for sometime around the first week of December.
Fall Treats: Gemelli’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Gelato Cake
Earlier this week I shared a number of events and festivities to help you get into that holiday spirit, now I’ve got a real treat for you, Gemelli’s decadent Pumpkin Cheesecake Gelato Cake.
What is that, you say? It’s nothing less than a layer of Madagascar vanilla gelato, a layer of pumpkin spice gelato, on top of a handcrafted butter cookie crust and drizzled with dark chocolate glaze.
“The vanilla gelato gives that “a la mode” feeling and here we use hand scraped one by one, fresh vanilla beans for a beautiful floral and bold flavor,” says Vincenzo Tettamanti, owner and gelato maestro at Gemelli. The pumpkin spice gelato is made with local organic squashes that are baked in-house and blended with warm, fresh spices for a unique (and gorgeous) treat you won’t find elsewhere.
While you may not naturally think gelato and fall, this seasonal gelato cake is just one-way Vincenzo and team are taking advantage of farm-fresh local produce to bring new flavor experiences to the borough (and their new location in Phoenixville). “We have many amazing local produce, spices, and flavors to work with during fall,” he says. To prove the point you need not look further than flavors like apple pie, pumpkin spice, maple caramel, black fig, and refreshing pear & ginger.
Gemelli is open all season long but closed on Mondays starting in November. Cakes take 48 hours to make so make sure to get those orders in with enough time to surprise and delight your guests. Follow them on Instagram for the latest mouthwatering flavors.
Thank you to Gemelli for their support of Hello, West Chester. Stop by this weekend and let them know you saw their post in this week’s issue!
Standing on principle is going to cost you – or rather – us. According to a recent report in the Daily Local, the Borough of West Chester has spent more than $100,000 on legal fees and arbitration defending the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees it initiated last year. In the end, one additional police officer received the vaccine, one quit, one was fired then reinstated and three sought and were awarded exemptions.
There is a serial burglar in the borough. Last month saw a spike in burglaries in the borough largely due to the work of 22-year-old Francis Bango. Mr. Bango, who is believed to be working alone, has been targeting residents in the southeast quadrant. In a bit of positive news, Mr. Bango has not attempted another entry since the warrant was issued last week. If you have any information contact Bborough Police at 610-696-2700. P.S. Here’s his picture, if you need it.
WCU homecoming is back to full alcohol consumption. According to a debrief on the event provided by West Chester Chief of Police James Morehead, officers issued 62 citations, responded to 156 calls for service, and made one criminal arrest. “It was very active,” said Chief Morehead. Unfortunately, the game really was not.
Actions have consequences. This week former West Chester University student Bryce Emery was acquitted of sexual assault charges stemming from a drunken encounter with another West Chester University student in 2019. Regarding an evening the victim and defendant remember very differently, the jury, nine men and three women, found Mr. Emery’s account, if not entirely without question, left reasonable doubt.
Actions have consequences, part 2. On October 2, at approximately 7:14 p.m. West Chester police were alerted to a stolen vehicle traveling west on West Chestnut Street. A high-speed chase ensued. Somewhere around the 800 block of W. Miner Street, the driver, Gordy Tate of Philadelphia, lost control of his vehicle and drove it into a tree on the right hand side of the road. Sadly, his passenger did not survive the crash.
Watch for low-hanging branches. Christopher Lang of W. Ashbridge Street visited Borough Council to warn against the danger of low-hanging branches in the borough. “We have a system that is not functioning right now,” he said of what he deemed the Borough’s complicated street tree policy.
Congratulations to the West Chester Rotary Club, organizers of the West Chester Chili Cook-off, on a wonderful day. A special shout out to Ryan’s Pub, the Parrot Troopers, Arthur Hall Insurance, Church Farm School, and Hammacher and Schlemmer all winners of their respective chili divisions. (See all winners here.) Sunday marked the event’s 20th anniversary and the first time it was held since 2019. Thanks in no small part to some gorgeous weather, it was an undeniable success. Perhaps, too much so, any complaints tended to regard the length of the chili lines.
Also, high fives to the winners of the 2022 Westtown Sustainability Contest. Paul and Sherryann Plesse won for their suburban farm where they grow all your standard West Chester garden vegetables as well as more specialized ones like figs, grapes, ginger, and cotton. Suzanne Lauer won for energy conservation, and Karyn and Kevin Heym for their commitment to local biodiversity and preventing water pollution. They maintain a National Wildlife Federation-recognized rain/meadow garden on their property. Want to green your own space? The Westtown EAC has a list of resident resources for that.
Air guitar salute to Zach Marsden of West Chester. The local high school student recently got a chance to showcase his real guitar skills on stage with Billie Jo and the boys of Green Day at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE. See him shred here.
And a hearty pat on the back to the Borough on successfully completing its Chestnut for Gay Street swap with PennDot. “We have ownership of Gay Street,” Borough Manager Sean Metrick shared with Borough Council members this week. Having Gay Street under Borough control will make future closures of the street easier to execute.
Finally, some sports shoutouts –
- High fives to the West Chester Area School District which ranks as the #8 school district for athletes in Pennsylvania, and the #25 district overall according to Niche.com.
- Congratulations to West Chester seniors Simeon Shappell Smith (Henderson) and Ellie Keefer (Rustin) who both took second at this year’s Ches-Mont Cross Country Championship. While Ellie is a known distance entity this marks Simeon’s first year with the sport. After three years on the Henderson soccer team, he decided to take up cross country his senior year.
- A round of golf claps to Rustin golfer Sam Feeney who finished second in districts this week with a 5 under par. He is now headed to state.
- And a keep it up to the still unbeaten West Chester University Women’s Soccer team. The 12 and 0 Golden Rams currently sit number two in the nation with just five games remaining in the season. The girls are back in action on Saturday against Lock Haven at Lock Haven. Catch them at home next Saturday against Kutztown. Go Rams!
This week we get to say “cheese” in front of the borough’s first selfie wall. The wall on the south side of the Safe Harbor building is the work of local artist Stephanie Birl and features three sets of colorful wings – butterfly, dragonfly, and angel – perfect for posing. Not only is the mural a marked improvement from the site’s original artwork, but selfies taken at the wall will help raise money for Safe Harbor. That is – if you follow a couple of quick steps.
- Post to social
- Tag Benchmark Credit Union
- Add #ForLifesBenchmarks
We also welcomed a couple of new programs from West Chester University. First is a new one-day science program designed to generate interest in STEM careers among middle and high-school-aged girls. Participants will spend the day exploring science in action with hands-on activities led by WCU’s female STEM faculty and majors. This event is free and open to girls in grades 6 – 12. Registrantion is required. Also new, is a WCU Museum Studies exhibit paying tribute to Philadelphia’s diverse heritage. The exhibit, the result of the work of 15 WCU students in partnership with the Global Philadelphia Association, tells the authentic stories of the diverse communities that have made Philadelphia what it is today. The exhibit pushes beyond the well-told tales of the Liberty Bells, continental congresses, and its colonial fame. It is open now at the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology on 775 S. Church Street.
Also, a “hiya kiddo,” to Tish Kids. Last weekend marked the official opening of the new Gay Street baby to tween boutique located write across the street from parent company Tish grownups.
And speaking of downtown, a ttyl to text updates from the Downtown Business District. The BID is launching a new SMS text service to keep you up-to-date on the latest events and promotions going on in downtown West Chester. To sign-up, text DTWC to 610-590-9716 or click this link.
Finally, hello to extended outdoor dining at the West Chester Pizza Cafe on W. Nields Street. The west-end pizza go-to has installed a dog-friendly, heated outdoor tent next to their patio.
Last week the Daily Local reporter Bill Rettew, broke the news: iconic West Chester hydraulic rig maker Schramm is closing its West Goshen location and moving its operations to Australia. “Almost everybody in the area knows somebody who worked for dill rig maker Schramm,” the article declared.
Schramm has been in the community for 122 years, originally as a gasoline repair business then later expanding into manufacturing. In 1917 to support his growing business Henry Schramm and his son Christian set up the new company headquarters on East Virginia Avenue. Locally, Mr. Schramm is credited with helping to get outdoor lights installed at Greenfield park. Nationally, Schramm gained prominence in 2010 when it helped to rescue 33 Chilean miners, Today Schramm employs 47 people at their West Chester location. Well, at least until June.
See a visual history of the company’s innovations from 1900 to today.
This week we are also bidding farewell to West Chester Borough Director of Human Resources Karen Armstead. Karen resigned from her position after nearly four years with the borough. This makes two open managerial positions at the Borough – Human Resources and Parking.
Finally, say goodbye for now to Coffee in the Park at Everhart Park on Saturday mornings. The Friends of Everhart Park are pausing their coffee stand while they evaluate the success of the program. Of course, coffee in the park is still welcome.
Pay it forward.
Volunteers needed! The West Chester Christmas Parade with its renewed community-focused mission is seeking volunteer help to make this year’s parade a success. They are specifically looking for 90 individuals to step up as parade marshals.
Parade marshall duties include keeping spectators safely on sidewalks, moving the parade along, and assisting with clean-up at the end of the event.
“It’s truly an unforgettable experience to volunteer at the West Chester Christmas Parade. Not only do you get the best view of our dazzling floats and performers, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to get to know your neighbors,” Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce President Katie Walker said.
Also, since this wasn’t clear with OutFest, volunteers are ESSENTIAL to the success of these events. No volunteers. NO PARADE. So gather your friends, get in that holiday spirit and sign up here. Won’t be around parade day (Dec. 2) but still want to help? Volunteers are also needed to hang greens around the borough. You can sign up to help with that here.
And while you’re pitching in why not take a moment to clear out those old Halloween costumes? Hillsdale Elementary is collecting new and gently used costumes to ensure no kids miss out on the joy of playing pretend. All costumes are welcome but there is a particular need for girl’s costumes for eight and nine-year-olds. Have any old princesses, witches, or Wonder Women? Drop them off at the Hillsdale Elementary school main office.
Finally, score an environmental win by safely disposing of those old tires. No need to ditch them under a tree on the nearest creek bed, East Bradford is holding a recycling event this Saturday.
The freakin’ weekend.
What are you up to this weekend? We have a packed schedule of sporting events, birthdays, and holiday parties. If I have time I am hoping to turn some of my delicious Growers’ Market apples into a mouthwatering crisp, maybe topped with some fresh vanilla gelato?
If you are around this weekend, the Brandywine Ballet is putting on Dracula. Levante has a Carmel Apple Donut Sour Ale concoction made in part from a semi-dry apple cider made from Highland Orchards that is available only at the West Chester Taproom. Phineas Gage has new Eagles gear. Saloon 151 has a new Pumpkin Pie Martini made with salted caramel vodka to calm frayed fall nerves and Kaly has weekender bags in rich fall patterns if that doesn’t do the trick.
Also, a shoutout to Uptown’s $5 Monday night movie. If you haven’t had a chance to check these out yet you should. In a last-minute decision, we hit up the Monday night showing of Ghostbusters. We had so much fun sharing a childhood favorite with kids – and fortunately, no nightmares were reported.
You can find more fall activities here.
Thank you for spending another week with me and to all of you that stopped by to say hello, at the Chili Fest. It was nice to put faces with email addresses! I had a few people ask how they can help keep the Roundup going. Really any help is appreciated but here are 3 easy ideas –
- Tell your friends and neighbors.
- Help spread the word on social media. (Just leaving a comment really helps increase reach.)
- Or click the button above to make a small donation of thanks. (Or Venmo works too if that’s easier.)
You’re the best.
Mark your calendars:
- Oct. 14 – Food Truck Night, Fame Fire Company, 4 – 8 p.m.Food trucks, craft vendors, parking – what more could you want?
- Oct. 15 – Matlack Florist Fall Fest, 201 N. Chester Road, 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Enjoy complimentary apple cider donuts, pumpkin carving demonstrations, fall photo ops, a make-your-own floral bunch bar, and live music from 12 – 3 p.m.
- Oct. 15 – Encanto, West Goshen Community Park, 7:30 p.m. This is a free event.
- Oct. 15 – 16 – Dracula, Emile Asplundh Concert Hall, 4 p.m. (10/15) or 2 p.m. (10/16) This is the fall performance of the Brandywine Ballet. Tickets range from $25-45 depending on the section.
- Oct. 16 – Fall Foliage Express, West Chester Railroad, 12 or 2 p.m. 90-minute historic train ride through the picturesque Chester Creek Valley; Adults – $20; kids 2-12 – $18; kids under 2 are free.
- Oct. 16 – Boo @ the Park with Lulu’s, Marshall Square Park, 9:30 – 12 p.m. character trick-or-treat, spooky sensory stations, games, pumpkin painting, costume contest and more. Tickets: $30/child, $5/adult. For Tickets – Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Oct. 22 – Chester County Flu Vaccine Clinic, Fugett Middle School, 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. flu shots and COVID boosters will be available. Flu shots are available for those 6 mos and older. COVID boosters to those 12 and older. There is no cost to receive a shot but if you have insurance bring your card and wear your mask – and be sure to register.
- Oct. 22, 23 – Halloween Special Train, West Chester Railroad, 12 and 2 p.m. Costumes encouraged on this 90-minute foliage tour with a brief trick or treating stop at the Glen Mills layover.
- Oct. 22 – CommUNITY Dance Fair, East Bradford park, 2 p.m. Enjoy dance performances, vendors, games and more. This event is free and open to the public.
- Oct. 22 – Community Book Discussion: Caste – the Origins of Our Discontent, Melton Center, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Hosted by former WCASD Director of Equity Dawn Mader. This event is free and open to the public. Registration encouraged.
- Oct. 23 – Harvest Festival, West Goshen Park (1023 Fern Hill Road), 2 – 4 p.m. Enjoy hayrides, free pumpkins, and a scarecrow decorating contest (bring your old clothes to use), music and a moonbounce. This is a free event is free for all West Goshen residents. Not sure what happens if you are not from West Goshen. Registration is requested but not required.
- Oct. 24 – Chester County Community Fund Annual Meeting and Legacy Celebration, Uptown Theater, 4 – 6 p.m. RSVP by October 14 to 610-696-8211 or email@example.com.
- Oct. 25, Fall Choral Festival, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 8:15 – 9:45 p.m., The Fall Choral Festival features a variety of choral works written for large and small ensembles, for women’s, men’s, and mixed choirs.Oct. 26 – West Chester Halloween Parade, Downtown West Chester, 7 p.m.
That’s it. Stay safe, stay healthy and I’ll see you next week.
Oh, one more thing, if you think one or more of your friends would like Hello, West Chester, too, please forward this newsletter and tell them to come and join us.
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