The easiest way to be in the know.
It’s Friday, Mar. 10: Construction galore is happening around the Borough and beyond. What exactly are they doing and where you should avoid. Plus, Price Street neighbors lobby for a stop sign, a Church Street history lesson, a big win for Rustin and new details emerge about the Burger King property, like how many apartments they’re going to try and squeeze on the lot. Who’s ready? Let’s catch up.
Everything Everywhere All at Once: Your West Chester Utility Work Update
It’s not even spring yet, and construction projects galore are popping up around the Borough and beyond. Below is a recap of areas you may want to avoid if you can.
Linden St and Matlack St.
- Project lead: PECO
- Trucks on the street: Danella Companies, a PECO contractor, will be completing the work.
- When to avoid this area: Work is expected to begin next week and will continue through May.
- What’s happening: PECO is replacing existing natural gas equipment to enhance service in this area.
Anything else I should know? If you live in this area your gas service will need to be turned off and reconnected by PECO. Of course, if you live in this area you should already know this because you should have been contacted by PECO. If not, or if you have questions you can send them to GasWorkInquiries@exeloncorp.com. For everyone else, know they will be repaving the streets when finished.
“Any areas impacted on your property will be repaired, the streets will be repaved, and all areas will be restored to their original condition,” shared Amy Hamilton, VP, PECO Gas Operations. See, it’s right there in writing.
Church Street between Market and Miner Streets
- Project lead: PECO
- Trucks on the street: Infrasource, a PECO subcontractor, is the one actually doing the work.
- When to avoid this area: Work is being conducted during the day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- What’s happening: This is a continuation of the Harmony 1 project that was started last year by PECO. Infrasource believes Harmony-1 will be completed by May. (Yay.)
Anything else I should know? Once work is completed on Church Street, which should happen shortly, the crews will be pulled from the job until the asphalt mills reopen in April.
Here’s a map of other PECO Gas work planned for the Borough, (EP neighbors it looks like they are coming for us too.)
N. High St. from Biddle to Washington Streets
- Project lead: Aqua
- When to avoid this area: Now. The project started at Ashbridge St. and crews are working their way south until they reach Gay St.
- What’s happening: Aqua is replacing the water main in the area.
Anything else I should know? Work should be completed by April with restoration (which better be code for “road paving”) to follow.
West Chester 322 Bypass
- Project lead: PennDOT
- Trucks on the street: This project will likely involve a subcontractor, we just don’t know who it is yet.
- When to avoid this area: TBD. According to Construction Journal, a contract has been awarded and construction is expected to start this year.
- What’s happening: PennDOT is planning to spend $3 million to improve the nearly three-mile stretch of the 322 Bypass from Downingtown Pike to Route 202. Outlined improvements include signal upgrades, new left turn lanes, and fixing the shoulder.
Everywhere all at once
- Project lead: PECO
- When to avoid this area: Depends. Tree trimming has already been reported. Construction projects are set to begin in April. Hopefully, we will get more details as individual projects get closer.
- What’s happening: The PA utility is investing millions of dollars in Chester County to help prevent customer outages, modernize the electrical grid, reduce the impact of extreme weather on electric infrastructure, and cut operations-driven emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
Anything else I should know? This project is set to involve a lot of streets in the Borough and West Goshen. According to an article in the Daily Local, you can expect work along the following streets: Parke Hollow, North Locust, South Locust, East Locust Lanes, Walden Drives, North High, West Ashbridge, East Ashbridge, West Biddle, East Biddle, North New, West Lafayette, North Darlington, West Chestnut, East Chestnut, West Washington, West Marshall, North Brandywine, North Wayne, West Gay, North Walnut, and North Matlack Streets, North Everhart, West Virginia Avenues, and Prescott, Jean, Weaver, and Potters Alleys.
And in West Goshen along Pottstown Pike, Crosspointe, Caswallen, Woodview, Frederick, and Melvin Drives, Chrislena, Embree, Crownpointe, Primrose, and Monteray Lanes, Carol Circle, Taylors Mill Road, and North New Street.
100 Years for Charlie
This year, actually two weeks from now, will mark the 100-year anniversary of a “Charlie’s” Barber Shop on N. Church Street.
“I had no idea,” said Amy Rose Trout, owner of Charlie & Co. Barbershop.
Amy, a West Chester native who started cutting hair 19 years ago, was on her way to leaving the industry when fate stepped in. She had moved away from styling full-time to using her skills to earn extra cash while completing her degree. Degree in hand, she was ready for a new chapter, when her dad asked her to meet with his barber.
“Why don’t you talk to my barber? He’s looking to retire,” he suggested. Her father was a long-time patron of Al Cook’s barbershop on Church St. Amy too knew the shop well, having gone there as a kid with her dad. As a courtesy, she met with Al. “Just 5 minutes,” she remembered him insisting.
“3 hours later, I owned a barbershop,” she said as if she still can’t quite believe it.
Perhaps, due to circumstances, it’s no surprise that Amy named her shop after her dad, Charles Trout. The rest, however, gets interesting.
For the last century, the shop at 130 N. Church Street has been a barbershop. There was William Lawlard who ran a shop there from 1933-1948. Then there was Dominic “Dom” Bullotta whose grandson still lives in West Chester and stops by the shop every now and then. Then from the 1970s, when men’s hair started to get long right through the mullets, the hightops, the fades, and back, it was Al’s shop. In 2020, he sold it to Amy.
“I am the first woman to own it,” said Amy but she is not the first “Charlie.”
“Wait, a second, I have a story to tell you,” she remembers Al telling her not terribly long after she had put her own tasteful spin on the shop’s next era (In case you forgot, Amy is the visionary behind the paper heart movement that took over downtown during the start of the pandemic and the People’s Choice Winner of this year’s downtown holiday decorating contest.)
The information came from an old St. Agnes Yearbook clipping someone had saved. From 1923 to 1933 the shop, was owned and run by Charles Keener. A hundred years of Charlie.
“April 1, 1923. I know it’s nuts,” said Amy who sadly lost her father this summer but not his influence – or his name. “Sometimes you can’t plan your life. I love going into work. We have a great family [of barbers] right now. I’m on fire again.”
P.S. Have scissors skills? Amy and the team are looking to add a new barber to the roster. Need not be named Charlie to apply.
Read those job descriptions closely. West Chester Police officers found themselves responding to an unusual request this week, wrangle loose cattle out of an East Bradford development. West Chester Borough Police on Facebook.
Have you seen this man? West Chester Police are seeking assistance locating Javier Camacho of West Chester. The 48-year-old man was last seen on Feb. 24 operating a white Jeep Cherokee. If you have any information about this situation, please contact the WCPD at 610-696-2700.
How about this one? At around 6:45 p.m., last Friday, the driver of a white Nissan Altima (or Sentra) hit a pedestrian at the corner of W. Rosedale Ave. and S. Church St. Then he ran. The driver is described as a 20-year-old, white male with scruffy facial hair and brown curly hair. As a result of hitting the person, the car sustained passenger-side damage and a broken windshield. The police are asking anyone with any information, to contact them at 610-696-2700.
Or this one? For a third time this week, West Chester Police took to social media for assistance. This time for help identifying an apparent Cory Hart fan, wanted in connection with a fraud investigation. If you have any information see above (and above).
You can NOT recycle that. West Chester police and the Montgomery County Bomb Squad were called to Lacey Street after someone spotted Korean War area military equipment in the recycling bin. Fortunately, there was never any danger. However, should you have hazardous household waste to dispose of – there is a proper way to go about it.
Don’t play with fire, you’re going to get burned. Last month, West Chester Police and Fire tackled an arson investigation after a man deliberately set fire to a W. Miner Apartment building. Fortunately for all involved, he did not do it well. The fire was contained and the suspect was quickly apprehended. He has since been arrested after confessing to starting the blaze. “It was a scary situation there that put a lot of people at risk,” West Chester Fire Chief Steve Pelna shared with Borough Council this week. The building housed six units.
A round of applause this week to the Rustin Girl’s basketball team and seniors Laine McGurk, Ava Panetta, Lola Flynn, and Elizabeth McGurk. Together they led the team to the school’s first District 1 Championship. The Lady Knights secured the win Saturday afternoon at Temple’s Liacouras Center over a simply outmatched Villa Maria team. Already the Chest-Mont Champions and now District Champs, the girls will next take their winning ways to the State Tournament where they secured the #1 seed in District 1. They will play Susquehannock, the 7th-place team from District 3 at home on Saturday.
The girls are not heading to states alone; the boys’ teams of all three area high schools will be there as well. Here’s the first-round schedule if you would like to cheer along:
- 6A – Henderson boys will take on Parkland High School Saturday, 3 p.m. at Parkland
- 5A- Rustin is facing Archbishop Ryan tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Archbishop Ryan High School
- 5A – East will play against East Stroudsburg South tonight at 7 p.m. at East Stroudsburg South
- 5A – Rustin will play Susquehannock Saturday, 2 p.m. at home
In college hoops, West Chester University women’s basketball team secured a spot in this year’s NCAA Division II tournament. They enter the field as a 2 seed and will face #6 Cal, today at noon at Glenville State’s Waco Center. This will be the Lady Ram’s first appearance in the tournament since the 2017-2018 season.
Also coming in last weekend were the results of the Class 3A Southwest Wrestling Regional. Congratulations to Henderson’s Carmen Cortese (133) who took second after dropping a hard-fought match to Boyertown’s Gavin Sheridan, and East’s Max Parnis who took 3rd at 145 and earned the Outstanding Sportsmanship Award. I can only assume this made his parents quite proud.
Both wrestlers are now in Hershey. After an early loss, they enter today facing a must-win scenario in the second round of consolations. Good luck, boys.
In non-sporting news:
- High fives to world-class care. Chester County Hospital is among the best hospitals in the world, according to Newsweek. Last week the news magazine released its list of World’s Best Hospitals where it ranks institutions based on medical personnel feedback, patient experience data, and hospital quality metrics. Chester County Hospital placed 76th out of the 2300 institutions evaluated.
- Congratulations to Tish Boutique on 10 years in the Borough. Stop by Friday and Saturday and help them celebrate. There will be music, treats, and $10 off every $50 spent.
- Shout out to Fern Hill second grader Aayansh Agarwal on winning the 2022 U.S. Chess National Championship for his grade level. Impressive.
Spoiler alert: one of those traffic signs that say your speed may soon be coming to Price Street.
This week residents of Price and Brandywine streets met at the Public Safety Committee Meeting to lobby for the addition of a four-way stop sign. “We are here to ask for a multiway stop sign at Price and Brandywine,” Patty Stanton, a resident of Price Street, told the committee. The request was born of a Traffic Calming Study that suggested the intersection did not meet the state’s requirements for adding a stop sign.
Those requirements include:
- Crash data in a 12-month period
- Vehicular volume
- Combined Pedestrian-Bike-Vehicle volume
- Road geometry
“There are criteria that need to be met in order to justify the addition of a stop sign,” said report author Remington & Vernick engineer Kelly Goff. “You cannot use stop signs as a vehicle to reduce speed.”
While residents conceded the intersection did not meet all state requirements, they were not convinced a stop sign wouldn’t help. They argued the speed of traffic was only one concern.
“What we are talking about is crossing the street. Getting from point A to point B,” Price Street resident John Nolan told the committee. Several residents shared stories of “motorist confusion” and perceived danger when crossing at the intersection which lies two blocks south of Everhart Park.
While Police Chief James Morehead acknowledged the residents’ stories of near misses, he was not convinced of the corner’s actual danger. Stating that police reports show only six accidents occurring at the location in the last 6.5 years. That is compared to a yearly average of 703 accidents in the Borough.
“Ms. Stanton speaks for Price Street. She also speaks for High Street, for Rosedale, for Ashbridge. It’s a Boroughwide problem,” Chief Morehead said. “We cannot put stop signs at every single intersection so that people can cross and slow people down.”
For now, it seems like residents will have to settle for traffic calming measures including a speed display radar sign that will show the driver’s speed. “When that sign comes in, the first place it is going is Price Street,” said Chief Morehead.
This is just a preliminary discussion. Residents can still petition PennDOT to make further changes. Borough Council will vote on the addition of traffic calming measures next week.
You can read the entire study here.
Also, this week:
- Good Fellowship Ambulance has welcomed a new leader. Thomas Wilcox III is joining the organization as Executive Director and will take over day-to-day operations for the 70-year-old ambulance and EMS training institute. He is replacing Kimberly Holman who left in August.
- The borough will say hello to 100 new trees this spring. Public Works Director Don Edwards shared that this week his team has been working with the Borough Arborist to identify locations for the new saplings.
- The skies are the limit, but if you would like to say hello to tickets to West Chester University’s latest planetarium show about the sun, you had better act fast. Previous shows have all sold out including “Astronaut” showing on March 24. Tickets for “Our Amazing Sun” went on sale today.
- Saucey’s is back. They open today at 5 p.m. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Bye, bye Burger King. Last week we learned plans had been submitted to the Borough for a new development planned for 410 S. High Street, former home to the Burger King. This week new details about the project have emerged. According to the Borough Engineer, the project as scoped is a mixed-use building including:
- 9,200 SF of commercial use
- 125 residential apartment units
- 170 off-street parking spaces
Remington & Vernick Engineers reviewed the plans last month and submitted comments on the project on behalf of the Borough including “engineering concerns related to parking and traffic.” We also learned that the project plans were shared with PennDOT to help coordinate planned improvements along the corridor.
The full proposal as well as all expert feedback will be reviewed in detail at the March 28 Planning Commission Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Borough Hall.
Also, goodbye to the Story Walk. If you heard rumors or saw the Daily Local article about the possible new story walk in Hoopes Park, well, sad news, it is not to be, at least not now. The West Chester Public Library recently learned just 11 locations in Pennsylvania were selected for walks and West Chester was not one of them. It also appears the disc golf course planned for Hoopes is paused while the Borough awaits the results of the much anticipated Park Master Plan Study.
On a positive note, Hoopes Park will soon say hello to an owl box, a bat box, and a small meadow. It’s not everything, but it is something.
In other park news,
- Everhart Park is also hoping to attract an owl with the installation of its own owl box.
- Marshall Square Park will add 13 new trees, nine of which will replace trees that have fallen over the course of the last couple of years. All trees selected align with the work of American botanist and park namesake, Humphrey Marshall.
Pay it forward.
This April the West Chester Film Festival is back for its 17th festival. A feat that wouldn’t have happened without you.
“Community is what makes the West Chester Film Festival so special, and we love showcasing local artists at the Fest!” said Victoria Rose, Sponsorship Coordinator for the West Chester Film Festival.
So, perhaps it is not surprising that they reached out to the West Chester Community (with a little help) to find inspiration for this year’s poster design. They received numerous entries but one, in particular, stood out.
“I’m a graphic designer who lives in West Chester with my husband, two kids (both currently away at college), and a black lab. I saw the poster contest for the West Chester Film Festival in Hello! West Chester and decided to submit a design,” shared Linda Collinson, graphic designer.
“I based the poster on the design and colors of the West Chester film festival logo and the festival number symbol. The angles also echo the angles in the West Chester Borough flag,” she said.
“Linda found out about the contest in Hello! West Chester and we are so glad she did. Her poster is a fresh take on our classic logo, and we can’t wait to see it all around town soon!” shared Victoria.
“I didn’t grow up here, but when I moved to West Chester 25 years ago it felt like home to me,” said Linda. “I love the town, and its many parades, festivals, and markets. There is so much creativity in this town!”
The WCFF will be held from April 28 to April 30 this year. In the meantime, keep your eyes out for Linda’s posters which should be hitting storefronts soon.
Last week, the West Chester Area School Board said goodbye to member Dr. Kate Shaw. This week they are hoping to say hello to some good candidates in relatively short order. In a post shared last week, the District announced it would be accepting applicants for the open position through noon on Monday (March 13).
If you think School Board Member might be for you and you’d prefer to skip the hassle of an election, then here’s what you need to apply:
- You must live in District 1 this includes parts of West Chester and West Goshen but not all of either. Check here to see if this is your district.
- Complete the application form. You can find that here.
- Email a copy of your resume to Board Secretary Linda Cherashore.
Also, this week, spring training is cueing up and West Side Little League is in need of some umpires. A training session is planned for March 26 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. “We strongly encourage all of our Junior Umpires to attend. Additionally, we are always looking for new candidates to join our Jr. Umpire ranks. This session is a great opportunity to get some really good exposure and training in the role,” the West Chester Little League group shared via Instagram.
Want to dance your way to a better West Chester? West Chester Play School is hosting a Zumba fundraiser in Marshall Square Park on Mar. 25 at 9 a.m. All proceeds go to support the preschool. You’ll need water and sneakers; meet at the basketball court to sign a waiver.
The freakin’ weekend.
What are you up to this weekend? We will be at the Y on Saturday morning for the 5-6-year-old basketball league, which to be honest uses the term loosely. Viewing requires disassociating yourself from any prior knowledge of how the game is played and continually chanting quietly to yourself, “as long as they are having fun,” “as long as they are having fun.” After that, we are going to try and stop by the Library for their Page to Share event (10am – noon) where there will be coffee among book recommendations, a storytime session, and other cool things.
If you’re around this weekend, the weather’s not supposed to be great but you can always get a little heat going with Mercato’s Sweet & Spicy martini. Santino’s upside-down pizza looks promising, new spring favorites are in the window at Blink and Yori’s St. Joseph’s Day Cakes are back for a limited time.
And a very special thank you to this week’s Community Sponsor, The Kit Anstey Real Estate Team. The “#1 team to know” it’s their mission to provide the ultimate in personal service and sales results. Follow them on Facebook for the latest news and insider tips!
The Kit Anstey Team
The Kit Anstey Team has been working with Sellers, Buyers, Landlords and Tenants in West Chester and surrounding areas in residential Real Estate in the past 25 years. Through their personal representation, their clients have transacted 100’s of millions of dollars of Real Estate. Whether you are looking to buy, sell or rent we are here to guide and protect you through the process. Watch their West Chester video!
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Mark your calendars:
- Mar. 10 -12 – Anything Goes, West Chester East, 7 p.m.
- Mar. 10 – Sip and Style, Refinery Hair Studio (106 W. Market St.) 6 p.m. – Join for styling secrets, sips, light bites, live music, door prizes and more.
- Mar. 11 – A Page to Share, West Chester Public Library, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Browse a curated collection of suggested books, meet the West Chester Library Board, and enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry while you’re there. Children’s story time planned for 10:30 a.m.
- Mar. 11 – 2023 Future Stars Benefit, Uptown Theater, 12:30 – 5 p.m. The 2023 Future Stars Benefit will feature The Uptown Singers, Singing Artist, Singing Academy, Broadway Production Number and students from Black Box Studio, Improvisation & Audition Prep. Lauren Henry from Better Than Bacon to MC. Buffet lunch included. Tickets: $40
- Mar. 11 – President’s Speaker Series – Erin Brockovich, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 8 p.m. Tickets – $32/orchestra; $27/balcony
- Mar. 12 – Daylight Savings Time Starts
- Mar. 12 – Kennett Symphony: Family Concert, Rustin High School Auditorium, 2 p.m. The symphony will be performing classics Ferdinand and the Bull and the Hummingbird and the Fire. Tickets are $10/each plus a $6 order fee (so $16/each).
- Mar. 12 – West Chester Dance Works Spring Fundraiser, Uptown Theater, 3 p.m., Tickets in advance: $30/adult; $20/student. Add $5 at the door.
- Mar. 13 – 17 – WCU Spring Break
- Mar. 13 – $5 Movie Mondays: Angela’s Ashes, Uptown Theater, 7 p.m. Includes complimentary popcorn.
- Mar. 14 – Osbourne Perry Anderson & and the African Americans in John Brown’s Army (Zoom), 7 – 8 p.m. This is a pay-as-you-wish event from the Chester County History Center. Registration required.
- Mar. 14 – WCU Live Presents: Rhythm of the Dance, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 7 p.m. Fans everywhere are enjoying 2,000 years, and more, of dance, music, and songs all compacted into a 2-hour concert. Tickets: $25/adults; $20/student/senior
- Mar. 14 – Science on Tap: Bees and Beer, Artillery Brewing, 7 – 9 p.m. Speakers, Russ Lux and Walt Talunas, from the Chester County Beekeepers Association, will discuss everything to do with bees. Registration is required. Space is limited.
- Mar. 14 – West Chester Co-op/Bar Avalon Fundraiser, Bar Avalon, all day, Dine in or out at Bar Avalon and a portion of the proceeds will go to support the Co-op. (Just don’t use Door Dash or it won’t count!)
- Mar. 15 – Ukulele Group, West Chester Public Library, 5 – 7 p.m. Looking for a friendly group to play/practice with? Here you go.
- Mar. 15 – 3rd Wednesday Book Discussion, West Chester Public Library, 1 – 2 p.m. Bring a brown bag lunch; enjoy a lively book discussion. No registration necessary. This month’s book: Bewilderment, Richard Powers.
- SOLD OUT: Mar. 15 – Magical Mystery Doors, Uptown Theater, 7 p.m. Enjoy the music of the Beatles, Zeppelin, Doors. Tickets: $35
- Mar. 16 – 18 – Footloose, Henderson High School, 7 p.m.
- Mar. 16 – Live & Unplugged: Nirvana, Uptown Theater, 7:30 p.m. Tribute celebrates the music of Nirvana’s iconic MTV Unplugged performance. Tickets: $35/adult; $22/student. Add $5 at the door.
- Mar. 17 – 19 – No Green Beer Weekend, Levante Brewing; starts 6 p.m. Friday; enjoy live music and St. Patrick food specials. Check event page for details.
- Mar. 18 – “Sweet Baby James”, Uptown Theater, 7:30 p.m. Enjoy the soft sounds of the #1 James Taylor tribute band. Tickets: $42/advance; $47/door. NOTE: limited seats remain!
- Mar. 18 – Cavalcade Jazz Band Fest, East High School, 6 p.m.
Like to plan ahead? You can now find the full list of events on the new Calendar page of the website.
That’s it. Stay safe, stay healthy and I’ll see you next week.
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