Sunday marked the last day of this year’s Gay Street closure. This year saw an extended closure running from May through October. There were regular live music performances in the evenings and Yoga on the street on Saturday mornings but on-street aesthetics continued to lag behind and closures are still relying on the COVID area concrete barriers. I was hopeful we would see some major upgrades before the street closes again next year but that, my friends, is not looking too likely.
This summer the Borough was notified it was the recipient of a $677,797 grant from Chester County to help fund the Gay Street Open-Air Marketplace Infrastructure Phase 1. The grant, however, comes with a few stipulations including the need for the Borough to provide a $169,449 match. The money can be used to fund public safety improvements but not the gates (or preferably, ballards) needed to safely close the street without those concrete blocks.
“They will not fund the gates through that program,” Borough Manager Sean Mettrick told Borough Council members last week.
The Borough is ready to spend some money on the project. The 2024 Capital Budget, as currently proposed, includes $55,000 to be spent on Gay Street improvements – however, the money is specified for “survey, design and bid” expenses. Actual structural improvements won’t begin until 2025 and, as I mentioned, that does not include the actual closure mechanisms.
The Borough is still exploring ways to fund that portion of the project. With any luck, however, we’ll at least have a freshly paved road.
Originally published, Oct. 27, 2023
This story is part of a longer weekly West Chester newsletter. Curious what else is going on? You can find the full issue here and the latest newsletter here. Even easier? Subscribe here to get future issues delivered directly to your inbox.