letter by Catherine Quillman, Daily Local News, 1/8/14
As we enter the new year, I always think it’s a good time to continue the season of gratitude.
With that in mind, I would like to thank an important part of our local government whose members rarely get a “shout-out” or public acknowledgement of their hard work. I am speaking of the Borough Council of my hometown of West Chester.
In recent months, council (which includes the mayor) has faced development pressures that have demanded the weighing of many factors — economic, quality of life, and sensitivity to West Chester’s historic and small-town character, to name a few considerations.
Judging from my study of the loss of what historian Jane Dorchester calls “pieces of the (historic) fabric,” the gaps seen today in West Chester’s streetscapes have come about because of certain development trends. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was municipal parking lots and banks, and now it appears to be condos and hotels.
Even for the casual observer, nothing compares to the present open-minded council and the shooting gallery of issues that seemingly pop up at every turn. What has stood out for me is council’s willingness to be flexible: to adapt and to accommodate when a crisis arose.
As an early promoter of the “Save the Barclay Grounds,” I find no need to put quote marks around the word crisis. This summer, my fellow volunteers were not exaggerating when we distributed fliers announcing that the towering specimen trees on the Barclay Grounds would be “clear cut” if residents did not join our cause and stop a proposed development.
I found it commendable that the council not only held a special meeting on Dec. 4 about the issue, they notified residents through the robo-call system normally reserved for community events or leaf removals….
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