Accomplishments from 2000 and 5 Year Goals through 2015
See the Report in PDF format.
The mission of the West Chester Business Improvement District is to create partnerships among the business and property owners of downtown and the Borough of West Chester to achieve long-term economic growth in downtown West Chester.
The BID is grateful to the Borough of West Chester for the continued support and leadership given to the downtown revitalization efforts.
The West Chester BID has three primary goals that govern the on-going activities of the BID. Below is an overview of the accomplishments for each goal since 2000.
1) To bring more customers downtown
To position downtown West Chester as a shopping, dining, and professional center, the BID instigated dynamic marketing strategies that included the distribution of over 400,000 brochures and magazine advertorials, sponsored Swingin' Summer Thursdays and West Chester Restaurant Week, produced TV and radio campaigns, and created a website that serves each of the businesses downtown.
The BID has contributed to over 766 books, articles, presentations and advertisement campaigns promoting downtown West Chester as a destination. This includes 418 newspaper articles, 130 articles in 33 magazines both regionally and nationally, news items on 144 radio stations nationally, and 14 books including travel books and economic development books.
Since 2001, DowntownWestChester.com has received over 1.2 million visits.
As a result of the enhanced market postioning of West Chester, 163 regional, national and international downtown organizations have contacted the BID for information and technical advice.
2) To bring more businesses downtown
In 2000, there were fewer than 300 business within the BID. Today there are 525. The BID provides resource services for everyone who wishes to invest in downtown. Several downtown developments over the last decade have provided opportunities to expand businesseses into the downtown.
New development projects include:
Eli Kahn development, 121 N Walnut
MacElree Harvey development, 17 Wilmont Mews
Walters Company development, High & Chestnut
Bill Wood development, 116-118 W Market
Brian McFadden Darlington Commons development, Gay & Darlington
Van Grofski development, 211 N Walnut
Redevelopment projects include:
Zukin Properties, 40 E Market
Carlino's Market, 128 W Market
Brian McFadden Gay Street Commons, 117 W Gay
Zukin Properties Village Record, 15 N Church
YMCA, 1 N Chestnut
Public development projects include:
West Chester Wayfinding program, Borough of West Chester
Chester County Justice Center, Market & Darlington
Justice Center Parking Garage & Transportation Center, 220 W Market
Market Street Sidewalk Improvement project
High Street Sidewalk Improvement project
Chestnut Street Garage, Chestnut & Walnut
Pending projects include:
Warner Hotel, 120 High
West Chester Hotel, Gay & Walnut
McCool Properties, 124 Market
Downtown building permit values from 2001 through 2009: $32,490,000
3) To advocate for the downtown business community
The BID insures that issues and opportunities are addressed by establishing partnerships with local, regional and national agencies. By doing so, the BID has seen over $2 million in grant funds for such projects as the Elm Street Program ($550,000), the Wayfinding Program (500,000), the Facade Enhancement Program ($110,000), and various marketing projects.
Strong partnerships with local, regional, and national agencies provide valuable resources to the BID and are an integral part of the successful strategy for downtown revitalization.
The following agencies have provided significant funding, sponsorship or resources:
Borough of West Chester
Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development
Chamber of Commerce of Greater West Chester
Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau
West Chester Parks & Recreation Department
West Chester Historical & Architectural Review Board
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
County of Chester
Greater Brandywine Cultural Alliance
Fox Chase Bank
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
Triton Web Studios
Citizens Business Alliance
First National Bank of Chester County
Penn Mutual Insurance Company
MacElree Harvey, Ltd
Chester County Historical Society
Greater Philadelphia Tourism & Marketing Commission
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
West Chester Downtown Retailers Assoc
West Chester Restaurant Association
Main Line Today Magazine
County Lines Magazine
Chester County Community Foundation
The West Chester Downtown Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, manages fund-raising efforts. Since 2000, $45,000 has been raised for BID projects.
The BID is a member of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, the National Main Street Center, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
On February 19, 2010, the BID Board of Directors held a Strategic Planning Session to establish goals and objectives for the next five years. The following is an overview of what was decided divided into the five general committees that address BID activities.
Support public transportation such as cab service at night, WCU shuttle, and train service.
Support the divestment and adaptive reuse of the First Block including the establishment of a visitors center and public space.
Participate and facilitate the advancement of the Alcohol Enforcement & Mitigation Plan.
Participate in the planning and development of the Wyeth property.
Participate on parking committees and the development of the Chestnut Street Garage.
Enhance partnerships with the County, WCU, and other agencies.
2) Business Attraction
Participate with the development of a Conference Center.
Encourage the development of Theater.
Support the development of Hotels.
Expand retail including compatible retail chains.
Expand the Clean & Green Program
Encourage Bike / Pedestrian linkages
Support new sidewalk development projects
Encourage redevelopment/restoration of rundown buildings
4) Marketing / Customer Attraction
Prepare to market hotels
Increase national public relations programs
Focus on heritage tourism
Create customer loyalty programs
Review staffing needs
Explore an affordable loan program
Expand the BID
Review office space needs
Increase effective communication w/constituents
Maintain superior relationship with the Borough
NOTE: Ongoing activities within each of the four committees may not be listed.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Downtown West Chester has received 24 awards or recognitions.
2009 - Selected as a Most Livable Place by Livability.com
2009 - Featured on Gozaic.com, a travel heritage website developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
2008 - Selected as one of the Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
2008 - Selected as one of the Main Streets of the Brandywine Valley by the Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau
2008 - Eleven businesses selected as Neighbors' Choice Award winners by the Philadelphia Inquirer
2008 - Rated as Walkers' Paradise by WalkScore.com
2007 - Listed as one of the Top 40 Future Blockbusters in Philadelphia Magazine
2007 - Listed in the Top 100 Best Places to Live for Singles by CNN Money.com
2007 - Recognized as an Inclusive Community by the National League of Cities
2007 - Eleven downtown businesses listed on MyFoxPhilly HOT LIST
2006 - Selected as a Distinctive Destination by The National Trust for Historic Preservation
2006 - Designated as a Preserve America Community by the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
2006 - Given the Distinctive Leadership Award by West Chester Sunrise Rotary Club
2006 - Included in the Annual Best Places to Live by Main Line Today Magazine
2006 - Listed in Top 100 Best Places to Raise a Family and Top Ten for Best Small-town Downtowns by Frommers
2006 - Listed in Top Five Best Places to Live by Philadelphia Style Magazine
2006 - Listed as one of 25 Best Affordable Suburbs in Business Week Magazine.
2005 - Awarded Best Overall Design by Pennsylvania Downtown Center
2005 - Given the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Government Initiatives Award by Preservation Pennsylvania
2005 - Recognized as Best New Development for 121 North Walnut by Philadelphia Business Journal
2004 - Designated an Achiever Program by Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development
2003 - Given Best Family Event of the Year for Swingin' Summer Thursdays by Pennsylvania Parks & Recreation Association
2003 - Recognized as Best New Shopping District by Philadelphia Magazine
2003 - Honored for Excellence in Landscape Design by Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association
Beginning Balance $9,410
Property Assessments $184,393
Grants / Sponsorships $116,038
Total $291,386 [ending balance $18,500]
Beginning Balance $18,500
Property Assessments $183,300
Grants / Sponsorships $104,100
Total $299,883 [ending balance $6,017]
The Board of Directors of the West Chester Business Improvement District Authority, commonly known simply as the BID, is the governing body for the organization. The statutory authority for the BID is the Municipal Authorities Act of 1945, approved May 2, 1945, P.L. 382 and the Neighborhood Improvement District Act, approved December 20, 2000, P.L. 949, No. 130. Each of the 15 board members is appointed for a five year term by the Borough Council with recommendations from the board. As per the bylaws of the BID, reasonable efforts are made to ensure that board members adequately represent the diverse interests and organizations located in the Borough.
In 2009, the Honorable Carol Aichele of the Chester County Board of Commissioners finished her service on the Board. The BID thanks Commissioner Aichele for her contribution to the downtown.
2010 BOARD of DIRECTORS
H. Paul Fitzpatrick, Chair
Richard May, Vice-Chair
RKM Advisors Inc
Cyndi Meadows, Secretary
A. Roy Smith, Treasurer
Jacqueline H Van Grofski, Past-Chair
Arthur Hall Insurance, Inc.
Frederick T Gusz, Jr.
First Mortgage Home Loans
The Honorable Terence Farrell
Chester County Board of Commissioners
Christopher P Blakely
Patrick J Comerford
Barnaby's of West Chester
Ernie B McNeely
Borough of West Chester
Lance J Nelson
MacElree Harvey, Ltd.
Ray H Ott, Jr.
Ray Ott & Associates
William J Scott, Jr
Chamber of Commerce of Greater West Chester
Malcolm Johnstone, Executive Director
Elizabeth McGuire, Administrator
Dan Price, Clean & Green Manager
Donna Bonner, Bookkeeper
West Chester Business Improvement District, a municipal authority
PO Box 3109
119 North High Street
West Chester, PA 19381