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It’s Friday, April 7: West Goshen reviews plans for a new Wawa that would require demolishing half of the Parkway Center and closing the Pennsylvania chain’s 25th store. Plus, restaurant inspection reports and a new store opens featuring grab-and-go egg rolls from a West Chester Grower’s Market favorite. Can you feel it? Spring is in the air. Who’s ready? Let’s catch up.
In One Wawa; Out Another
Last month West Goshen Township reviewed the preliminary zoning application for 929 S. High Street. For those unfamiliar with the street numbers, this is the site of the Parkway Center, home of the Colonial Meat Market, UPS Store, Second Reading Used Book Shoppe, and, perhaps most visibly, Timothy’s on the far southern end.
Under the proposed plan, Timothy’s and the southern half of the center, much of which is currently unoccupied, would be torn down and replaced with a new Wawa convenience mart and gas station. In total more than 28,000 sq. ft. of retail space would be removed; 20,533 sq. ft. would remain.
“The applicant is proposing the demolition of a portion of the existing shopping center and the construction of a 6,049 sq. ft. convenience store with the retail sale of gasoline,” read the memo to the West Goshen Board of Supervisors.
Parkway Center Redevelopment Specifics
- 28,727 sq. ft. of the existing building to be demolished
- 20, 533 sq. ft. of the existing building to remain
- Wawa store to be built
- 6,049 sq. ft. convenience store
- 4 rows of gas pumps
- 8 EV-ready charging stations
The proposed design includes gas pumps adjacent to High Street behind which will sit the convenience store. Parking will be available directly adjacent to the new building and in a lot to the east of it. There is also space for 8 future EV-charging stations.
“The store we are looking to do here is our typical store,” said Mike Speigel, Construction Project Manager for Wawa. “It is the store we are building today in several locations, not just in this state but several states. We have a larger prototype, but for this particular site, we did not choose it.”
The project, if approved, would also mean the closing of the Wawa at 2 East Rhoads Ave. That store, #25, was built in 1968. Describing the site as “cozy,” Mike told supervisors the company has been looking to close that location for a while now.
So, is this goodbye Timothy’s, hello, new Wawa? Not quite yet.
On May 3 the Zoning Hearing Board will hear the application. The developers are asking for four variances (for the dumpster location, the convenience store square footage, the amount of impervious coverage, and conversely, the amount of green space), but the Township has indicated it will not send a solicitor to contest these requests. That does not mean the project is approved. After obtaining Zoning approval, the applicants must sit for a Conditional Use hearing and Land Development review at which time Supervisors will dig into Wawa’s stormwater management plans and raise questions about traffic and parking.
You can watch the entire Township Supervisor discussion including the out-of-focus video here.
Restaurant Inspection Reports for March
Perhaps, it’s a case of spring fever or earlier burnout on the part of the new Health Inspector, or maybe it’s local restaurants rising to the cleanliness challenge? Whatever the reason after months of massive violations, March is going out like a lamb. Even Saucey’s was in compliance this month.
Stone Tavern, out, 4 violations, including the hostess cutting lemons at the hostess stand and employees touching the food with bare hands. “One staff member was slicing lemons for beverages without gloves and another staff member was handling/cutting/plating a hot beef sandwich with his bare hands. Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods is prohibited,” the inspector wrote.
Radley Run Country Club, out, 4 violations, including a malfunctioning exhaust fan and missing handwashing signs.
I am happy to report, Saucey’s, after failing their opening inspection in February, got it together and passed their follow-up inspection with only a single violation. Also, back in compliance after follow-up inspections Greystone, Scoops & Smiles, Side Bar, Cookie Dope, Poke Bros., 7-Eleven, Sam’s Pizza Island, and, after its second follow-up, the West Chester Diner.
You can find all reports here. Search by location for more detail.
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Your time is up. Under the original terms of the Westtown Township-Robinson family agreement, the township had until last Friday to secure funding to purchase Crebilly Farm. That, however, did not happen as the township and its nonprofit partners fell just short of the goal. According to an article in the Daily Local this week, Natural Lands, and the township reportedly collected $20 million of the $25 million needed. Fortunately for Westtown Township (and the rest of us), the Robinson family is offering an extension. The money will now be due on March 31, 2024.
Put that down. The West Chester Police Department would like to remind you that April is Distractive Driving Awareness Month. “When driving make that your sole purpose,” they wrote in a social post. “Leave your phones out of reach, make yourself look your best in front of a mirror at home, and pay attention to the road in front of you!”
Messing with the mail is a Federal offense. This week Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police responded to a reported burglary at the Westtown Post Office (844 E. Street Road). When they arrived they found mail scattered, packages missing from P.O. boxes, and employees’ desks rummaged through. Jordy (JO) De La Cruz Fernandez has been identified as a suspect. If you have any information as to his whereabouts, please contact WEGO police at 610-692-9600. Judging by the photo they have on file, he has not yet heard the news.
Allergy season is going to be bad this year. In one day last week, three different people, all from the Philadelphia area, were arrested for stealing $900 worth of goods from Giant in Bradford Plaza, among the items taken – over $600 in allergy medications.
Congratulations Mr. Shakespeare on relevance after 400 years. In honor of this achievement, West Chester University is hosting a Fortnight of Festivities. The events celebrate the anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, a collected edition of plays first published in 1623. Of the original run of 750 copies, only 200 remain in the world – and West Chester University has one of them. The book will be on display multiple times during the planned two-week period starting on April 10 from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Francis Harvey Green Library. In addition, to book viewings there are a variety of activities planned from poetry readings and play performances to bookmaking workshops and craft talks. Visit the WCU website for a complete listing of events.
Also, our compliments to Chef James Jones. The Santino’s Table chef won this year’s ACT In Faith Chef’s Best Culinary Competition with his saffron butter poached halibut with orzo and arugula salad, fire-roasted corn, pistachios, cherry tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette, romano, fresh cracked pepper and a blood orange and persico agrodolce sauce. (That’s a mouthful.) This is the third time he has won this event.
Snaps to East Goshen residents Richard Donze and East Junior Ethan Altshul on being named the new East Goshen Township Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate respectively. Richard works at Chester County Hospital and has been writing poetry in his spare time for 40 years. Ethan has been writing poetry for five years now, penning his first poem inside the East Goshen Township building.
Also, this week:
- A round of applause to Joseph Iozzi and Brooklyn Callaghan. The West Chester East students are headed to the state National History Day competition after taking first place in regional for their presentation, “Susan LaFlesche: Doctor. Reformer. Trailblazer.” The state competition is on April 22 and 23 at the University of Scranton.
- Have you been watching the West Chester University Women’s Lacrosse team? Well, you should be. The undefeated Lady Golden Rams are currently the number one team in Division II. This week they proved once again they are deserving of the hype beating the fourth-ranked University of Indianapolis by a score of 15 to 11. They then followed that victory with an easy win over Millersville to improve to 11-0 on the year. They are taking a break but will be back in action on Wednesday at home against Shippensburg.
- Kudos to Rustin’s Kyle Kearns. The Rustin pitcher allowed just two hits in a 6-0 shutout against previously undefeated Henderson. The 2-2 Golden Knights have found mixed success so far this season but came up big in the cross-town matchup.
- While we are lauding big wins, high fives to West Chester University’s baseball team who racked up 32 runs in a victory over Salem. Apparently, not a school record, but the most runs scored since 2009. Not to be outdone, Rustin Softball has won their last four games – including an 18-0 pounding of Henderson this week – by a margin of 61 to 6. Swing those bats, girls!
- Finally, a belated goodbye and good luck to Henderson wrestling head coach Rob Rob Beighley. Coach Beighley has led the Warriors since 2013. He leaves with an impressive record of 164 wins and 40 losses. “Great run Coach. Thanks for bringing Henderson wrestling to this level,” wrote the Henderson Soccer team on news of his leaving.
Say hello to Easter entertaining success with a few easy, guest-pleasing snacks for those early arrivals from Madi’s On a Roll, an egg roll specialty shop opening tomorrow. Grower’s Market regulars may already know West Chester resident Madi McShane and her rolls. Madi with the help of her husband Brian started selling them at the market about six months ago. The response was so positive, they are now full-time vendors.
Madi’s adventure started five years ago when she decided to quit her corporate job and bring her mom’s specialty egg rolls to the masses. “It all originated with the cheesesteak egg roll that my mom would make me,” says Madi.
If the cheesesteak were good, then more varieties could only be better. Madi started experimenting with flavor combinations and selling them made hot-to-order at local events and festivals until the pandemic hit and events shut down. To keep going Madi learned to vacuum-seal and started selling her popular egg rolls frozen. It was a switch that opened a whole new world of possibilities.
“I would progressively like to turn into a one-stop shop for appetizers. That’s the dream for me,” says Madi.
- “My favorite right now is our Bangin’ Shrimp. Fresh and delicious.” That’s shredded cabbage, carrot, green onion, and shrimp in homemade spicy mayo.
- “Buffalo chicken. Homemade chicken dip inside in an egg roll. I haven’t changed the recipe once since I first made it.”
- “I also love our apple pie egg roll. It reminds me of the old McDonald’s apple pockets.”
Madi’s On a Roll is holding a grand opening celebration on Saturday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) at 290 E. Lincoln Highway (sorry, you’ll have to drive to Exton). The store is big, spacious and friendly. “We’re always going to be out front if you want to come and hang out with us,” says Madi. When you enter you will see large freezers stocked with 15 to 20 varieties of egg rolls. Choose from breakfast to savory to sweet. The homemade rolls come in packs of three or five. There will also be complimentary dipping sauces for purchase and lots of opening day vibes – think giveaways to the first five customers, social promotions, and a chance to win a year’s supply of egg rolls.
Also, this week say hello to greener pizza deliveries. West Chester’s E. Gay Street Domino’s Pizza location is one of several in the state that have added new electric vehicles to their fleets. Owner Mike Khan said he purchased the vehicles because they provide “hiring, business, and environmental benefits.” If you are considering employment at Domino’s, you too could find yourself behind the wheel of one of these shiny new Chevy Bolts. Just know you must be 25 to drive the EVs, and your driving record will be reviewed. Hey, electric vehicles aren’t cheap – yet.
Finally, tis the season for al fresco. Totally, stole that line from someone off social but that makes it no less true. Patio season is here!
You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. With no immediate solution to its housing crisis and another record-breaking class expected this fall, West Chester University is looking to get creative with its housing solutions. The Philadelphia Business Journal recently spoke with WCU President Christopher Fiorentino about the situation. While there is supposedly a new residence hall in the works it will not be completed for at least three years. In the meantime, WCU is looking both off and on-campus to find additional rooms for students.
“It’s very exciting to just kind of look at the campus not as a completely blank canvas, but as a flexible canvas where we have the latitude to do some things because of the increase in the use of technology and some other factors that have come into play in recent years,” President Fiorentino said.
By way of specifics, WCU is looking at rooms left vacant when their services moved to the new Sciences and Engineering Center and Commons.
Also, say goodbye to emergency wait times if you are a West Chester University student. The university recently partnered with Good Fellowship Ambulance to return an EMS presence to campus opening student-run Station 355 in December. Not only does the partnership provide valuable emergency coverage to the campus and surrounding areas, but it also gives students the opportunity to earn up to 57 credits toward a health sciences bachelor’s degree. Win. Win.
Pay it forward.
Are you particularly good at something? Math? Writing? Graphic design? Relating to kids? The West Chester Area School District needs your help. The district is looking to pair the community and its talents with the district’s students and their needs.
“One of my priorities is to mobilize parents and community members to volunteer as mentors and tutors for students in K-12, ” said WCASD Interim Equity Director Una Martin via email.
“The ultimate goal of this initiative is to capitalize on the wealth of human capital in the district in terms of education, wisdom, experience, and talents,” she said.
The district, of course, has tutoring and homework help, but this initiative Dr. Martin says, is different. “I am hoping that in addition to assisting students to achieve their personal best, another outcome will be a true bonding of all people in our beautiful West Chester.”
The program kicks off with an information session on April 16 from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Peirce Middle School. Childcare and interpreters will be available. Not sure what you have to offer? Don’t worry about that. “Students have a diversity of needs, so we are looking for mentors and tutors who are skilled in a variety of areas,” said Dr. Martin. Those who decide to participate will be paired with a student beginning with the fall term.
Complete the short Google form if you are interested in participating.
The Borough of West Chester is also hoping to take advantage of your skills and expertise. West Chester boards and commissions are a great way to get an inside look at how local government runs. The borough currently has open positions on several committees – the Human Relations Commission, the Planning Commission, the West Chester Library Board, and the Sustainability Advisory Committee. If you are interested in being considered for one of these voluntary positions, submit a letter of interest and your resume or a brief bio to Dana DiDomenico. Use the subject line “Resume for Vacancy.” Submissions are due by April 14.
New to the West Chester area or just want to get better acquainted with it? The Newcomers Club of Chester County wants to welcome you to their next meeting. The club is open to all Chester County residents and strives to provide members with social gatherings and fundraising activities. “Women new to the area, those who have experienced a change in family, marital, or employment status, and women interested in meeting new people are welcome to join in the fun, service, and festivities,” they shared in an email. The next meeting is planned for April 11, 7 p.m. at the Downingtown United Methodist Church. Visit their website for more details.
Finally, last call. Please take a minute to complete a short readership survey. It will help me better understand who’s reading and what you’d like to see each week. You can take it here.
The freakin’ weekend.
What are you up to this weekend? My parents are in town for the weekend so in between dragging grandma and grandpa to various sporting events, we will be dying Easter Eggs and trying to convince my mom to make pizza fritta. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and finds a little time for a spring break.
If you are doing that here, don’t forget it’s First Friday downtown. There is an adult Easter Egg Hunt planned including fun prizes and complimentary bottles of wine. West Goshen is hosting their Egg Hunt and Decorated Hat Parade at 10:30 Saturday morning. It was supposed to be last weekend but was rescheduled due to the rain. There are also plenty of options for stocking up on Easter treats from the traditional to the blue.
Finally, a special thank you to this week’s Community Sponsor, Cassie Shankweiler Real Estate! Cassie is a Chester County native who now lives in downtown West Chester. She understands the community and brings a promise of clear communication and fresh energy to all her clients. Give her a call if you are looking to buy or sell a home in the West Chester area!
As an active West Chester borough community member, I look forward to meeting new faces at the many upcoming borough events as the weather gets nicer. I hope you’ll trust me with your real estate needs – whether you’re trying to sell your home or move into our wonderful town. Connect with me today at 484-888-6772 or CassieS@longandfoster.com.
View a list of all our amazing Community Sponsors here. Want to get your business out in front of this wonderful community? I don’t blame you. Community Sponsorships are full but there still some limited ad space available. Send me an email if you are interested – but hurry, spaces are filling up fast.
Like knowing what’s happening in and around town? Same! I figure if regular readers contribute just $10 a year – we can keep the updates coming and the ads limited! Make your donation below.
Brad and Hoops
By: Max Corridoni
Mark your calendars:
- Apr. 7 -8: Hayrides to the Easter Bunny, Highland Orchards, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Reseverations recommended.
- Apr. 8 – Beer & Bunnies, Thornbury Farm CSA, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- April 10 – Opening of Exhibition: “A Great Variety of Readers: Celebrating 400 Years of Shakespeare’s First Folio” 12 p.m. Francis Harvey Green Library. This is part of WCU’s Forenight of Festivities celebrating the 400 year anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Visit the website for a complete event list.
- April 10 – Teri Cross Davis poetry reading, 7 p.m. Francis Harvey Green Library, Room 615; This is part of WCU’s Forenight of Festivities celebrating the 400 year anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Visit the website for a complete event list.
- April 11 – “Time to Eat” Edible Book Contest, 3 – 4 p.m., Francis Harvey Green Library, Room 252; This is part of WCU’s Forenight of Festivities celebrating the 400 year anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Visit the website for a complete event list.
- Apr. 11 – Taiko Drumming & Dance, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 7 p.m. Taiko drumming and dance is returning to WCU after a three year hiatus. Tickets range in price from $12 – $25.
- This is part of WCU’s Forenight of Festivities celebrating the 400 year anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Visit the website for a complete event list.
- Apr. 12 – Energy Input and Economics of Silicon, Sykes Student Union 255 A/B or Zoom, 12 – 12:50 p.m. Presented by WCU faculty and at 50 minutes each, these seminars introduce an array of sustainability topics in easily digestible segments. Presentation are free and open to the public. For Zoom use the link above and passcode: 878376
- Apr. 12 – Who Owns Your Grocery Store? Presentation: Jon Steinman, Chester County History Center, 7 p.m. Author Jon Steinman has visited over 150 food co-ops nationwide and has many stories to tell. This talk will be of interest to anyone curious to learn more about community-owned grocery stores, the West Chester Cooperative and the larger co-op movement. This is a free event. Registration required.
- Apr. 12 – Ukulele Group, West Chester Public Library, 5 – 7 p.m. Looking for a friendly group to play/practice with? Here you go. Meets Wednesdays.
- Apr. 13 – The Weeklings – Music of the Beatles, Uptown Theater, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $40/advance; $45/door
- Apr. 14 – West Chester Public Library’s Trivia Night, Zoom, 7 -8 p.m. Registration required.
Psst. Like to plan ahead? Visit the new Calendar page. I have events through July!
That’s it. Stay safe, stay healthy and I’ll see you next week.
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