Running as a Democrat
Jordan Norley is the current Acting Mayor of West Chester, and the former President and Finance Chair of West Chester Borough Council. As a husband, father of two kids, and a small business owner in the Borough, Jordan approaches Borough decisions through a collaborative lens — ensuring all stakeholders who may be affected are heard.
Jordan’s small business plan stems from this idea of collaboration, stating that the goals of the Borough, BID, and community organizations around West Chester align more than they differ. Taking advantage of these similarities is how, in Jordan’s words, “we can achieve continued progress for West Chester.”
1 – Do you think our main street/downtown is healthy and successful? If not, what would you do to change that?
- As former Finance Chair of West Chester Borough Council, and current Acting Mayor, I’ve seen downtown West Chester at its heights — and during its toughest battle during the pandemic.
- This question is more different this year than it ever has been. COVID, objectively, has led to a difficult time for a healthy downtown. However, success and health in these terms should be determined by innovation and tenacity — the ability to safely conduct business downtown despite COVID.
- Open Air Market Place is an example of that. New businesses opening up is an example of that. West Chester is TENACIOUS, but the Borough and Mayor can do things to assist.. A permanent Gay St. pedestrian corridor (flexible times) could create great success in the future, too, for restaurants and businesses, while also increasing quality of life for residents.
2 – How would you rate the borough’s support of small businesses? What else can be done to help promote our locally owned small businesses?
- Just last week, Borough voted to give parking credits to businesses/restaurants who open up outdoor platforms because of COVID. The Borough is constantly seeking mutually beneficial ways to support businesses and the community.
- The borough also provides a significant contribution to the Business Improvement District to support operations and growth in the downtown.
- The BID is doing a good job working on effective communication between the borough, businesses, and residents, while highlighting and celebrating our business owners.
3 – How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in our city? Do we have enough options? If not, what will you do to increase those?
- Transportation options are decent, but could be significantly improved.
- I’m currently spearheading an effort to re-establish rail service to West Chester. This project would:
- provide amazing opportunities for businesses (more traffic from other southeast regional locations and Philly to visit WC restaurants and businesses)
- expand travel regionally and pave the way to more equitable, efficient travel
- significantly increase tourism and hospitality.
- Bike Boulevards, Bike Racks, and Circulation could be significantly improved. I’m currently exploring the possibility of acquiring equipment that would allow public works to lay the materials on the roadways for Bike Boulevards
4 – One topic that is always of concern to small businesses is parking. Do you think the borough has challenges with parking? How would you mitigate those concerns or change the situation?
- Parking will always be challenging in the Borough as it is in all urban areas. We need to provide feasible transportation alternatives, like Rail Service, biking, walkability to encourage fewer cars in the borough. The better our alternative transportation options, the less vehicular traffic and parking demands will be put on the borough.
5 – If you could change one thing in our zoning code, what would it be and why?
- It’s not zoning, however, permanently swapping Gay St.(which is a State owned road) to Chestnut St., will provide the borough total flexibility to close Gay St for pedestrian mall usage. Right now we rely on the state for permission for anything to do with our main street (Gay St).
- I support the current proposed zoning changes with a conditional use process for any new drinking establishment locations for public safety purposes.
6 – How do you plan to involve small business owners in the decision-making process in our town?
- I am a small business owner, and therefore I know the importance of including small business owners in WCB conversations. I was formerly Finance Chair of West Chester Borough Council, and as Acting Mayor in 2017 and 2021 and a former BID Boardmember, serving as a liaison to Borough Council.The vibrance in our Central Business District is directly related to the vibrance of West Chester as a whole. I will continue to actively listen to, gather input, and champion our businesses. I will directly engage business leaders for regular meetings and seek full input from the business community to firmly inform decision making processes.
7 – If someone came to you with a proposal to build a new piece of public infrastructure in our city (road, bridge, etc.) how would you evaluate whether that project was worth implementing?
- I would engage with stakeholders. I would try to determine who would be affected by this: who could benefit, and who could be hurt.
- I would talk with residents, families, business owners, community leaders. Everyone deserves a say in the changes we make for our community.
- Proper due diligence, patience, and a cost-benefit analysis should be part of any major public infrastructure project.
- This is what we’re doing with Rail Service — evaluating stakeholder relationships and having an open dialogue on just how beneficial the service could be to our residents AND businesses. This isn’t an “if,” it’s something being done right now.
8 – If elected, what three steps would you take to put our borough on a firmer financial footing?
- Help ensure equitable dispersal of COVID relief funds in coordination with Borough Council
- $1.9 million being sent out to WCB in two parts (over two years)
- Manage the police department budget effectively.
- Continue to explore the cost benefit of selling our waste water treatment plants and if determined to be more beneficial, facilitate the process.
9 – If you received a $1 million grant to use for the borough any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
- This isn’t theoretical, as WCB is receiving $1.9 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan. Borough Council will have to determine how to spend this wisely. Three members of WC Borough Council will be new in January 2022, and will benefit from my guidance and recommendations on how to efficiently and fairly allocate these funds. These monies, however, will be restricted to Covid related needs, half coming soon, and half coming in a year.
- If we received non-restricted money, I would utilize the funds, toward what the community determined to be the priority items. In a void of that information, my initial thought is toward nomadic bollards (can go up and down for emergency purposes) and other infrastructure along Gay St., to allow flexible and safe pedestrian corridor options.
10 – What would be your expectation and commitment regarding engagement and communication with the BID, through its Board and/or members?
- As a small business owner in the Borough and a former BID board member, my expectation and commitment would be to gather BID’s input on decisions which would, in any way, affect the landscape for businesses in the Borough. The BID executive director and all members are valuable stakeholders in the Borough and it is important to collaborate and communicate transparently.
11 – How might we work together to help optimize the BID as a municipal authority of the Borough, such as through grant opportunities, strategic planning and goal development, initiative prioritization?
- As Mayor, I am always looking for new ways to collaborate with organizations and communities around the Borough. Whether it’s the West Chester Green Team, WCU, or the BID, it’s important to have consistent communication on the endeavors we want to achieve. In many cases, our solutions for a financially secure Borough align, and this kind of cooperation is a necessity moving forward.
- The BIDS finite resources need to be utilized efficiently and effectively. WCU should not be overlooked to help with important projects. WCU has excellent resources and capable students in a whole host of different subject matters. The WCU Center for Community Solutions should be engaged in projects.
- There are graduate degrees in academic areas like: Applied Statistics, Communications, MBA, Sustainability, Geographic Information Systems, Organizational Psychology, Math, Music, Public Administration, Urban and Regional Planning. Imagine the Possibilities.
- There should be consideration to expanding the BID footprint and a dedicated campaign and planning process to garner more resources and help more businesses reach their potential in West Chester. The BID could explore expanding to include the Rail Station area on Market Street making this part of town more attractive and adding a big tourism and attraction to draw more people into town. People come from all over the world to ride the West Chester Railroad Heritage historic trains and yet it is in our own backyards and often overlooked. There are possibilities of festivals and events, even examples nationwide of wine and beer themed train ride events that are very popular (would need WCPD & Borough Council approval).
- We’ll help support grant opportunities and engage in stakeholder conversations and planning through active engagement with the BID’s strategic plan, the Borough’s Comprehensive plan, planning commissions, etc. Prioritization should be weighted and informed by appropriate planning processes & available resources.
12 – How can businesses and police department work together to help control “nuisance” issues in the downtown? How can business owners assist the borough in keeping West Chester as a safe environment?
- Supporting the WCPD camera plan in town will provide our dispatch with the eyes to quickly respond to and mitigate major and minor issues in the downtown.
- Bars and restaurants serving alcohol can also get and maintain RAMP (Responsible Alcohol Management Program) certification and the necessary training not to over serve customers. The vast majority of nuisance incidents are caused by heavily intoxicated individuals.
- Likewise, a major source of nuisance derives from vehicle and motorcycle noise. A Gay St. pedestrian corridor would greatly assist the Quality of Life in terms of noise issues from vehicles passing through the Borough during the appropriate times of the week and year (warm months, perhaps Thurs-Sun).
- It should be noted that special attention should be paid to businesses that do not fall on a proposed more permanently programmed Gay St. pedestian coridoor. An open air marketplace, during the appropriate times, should help all businesses in West Chester as whole. Focus should be paid on how best to accomplish this goal.
- Separately, and while difficult to enforce, any purposeful motorcycle revving, should have a zero tolerance policy from the police. This is an issue I’m currently working on with WCPD. If there are suggestions that the office of the Mayor can help with, my door is open at any time.