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2015 Goals for West Chester BID

West Chester BID logoOctober 2014

Contact: Malcolm Johnstone

The Borough of West Chester and the stakeholders of downtown -- many locally-owned businesses -- share a common interest of the need to attract more visitors. Businesses seek to gain more customers and the Borough seeks to increase parking revenues.

Beyond the regular activities of the West Chester BID, found in the Five Year Plan and approved by the Borough Council, and that have proven to be effective in sustaining downtown West Chester, there are four new goals for 2015 that are considered essential in moving the downtown to the next level for attracting customers and businesses, promoting Historic Preservation, and beautifying the downtown.

By moving beyond the hyper-local market and engaging more of the millions of the leisure travelers that visit eastern Pennsylvania each year, enhancing the West Chester BID programs will continue to add to the economic vitality and livability of West Chester.

Heart of the Brandywine
The Borough’s economy continues to see growth in tourism and visitor oriented development continues to expand quicker than other sectors. Partnerships with the more than 100 regional attractions are becoming an essential component of directing this growth to establish West Chester as a hub for increased visitorship in downtown.

Goal: Expand the tertiary marketing efforts of the BID to be inclusive of the Brandywine Valley through multiple platforms on both the internet and conventional media. Attain a tertiary reach of 1,000,000. Partners: Fig; WC Chamber; Longwood Gardens; VisitPhilly; Pennsylvania Downtown Center; area attractions. Cost: $15,000.

Enhancing the Preservation Ethic
The historic buildings and public spaces of a traditional commercial district enrich civic life and add value on many levels to the community. Enhancing  a historic preservation ethic is an ongoing process of education and discovery for a community. While regulatory agencies have been put into place to insure appropropriate practices are utilized for rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of structures, communities that have balanced that by embracing a strong historic preservation ethic are more successful in maintaining traditional commercial buildings that are compatible to the districts.

Goal: Showcase good development projects where a community can share in expanding its knowledge of local history and best practices for historic preservation that will foster sustainable growth compatible with the architectural characteristics of the West Chester historic districts. Cost: TBD

Banner Program
The light poles downtown have brackets that support banners, all of which have had to be removed due to age and disrepair. An active banner program provides a sense of place while highlighting features of the community that reflect the culture, history, and livability of West Chester.

Goal: Initiate a banner program using the 200 downtown banner poles that would include the various recognitions received by the Borough. This includes the establishment of the historic district, along with the recognition of such designations as Distinctive Destinations, Best of Philly, Classic Towns, Tree City USA, Inclusive Communities, Preserve America, and the accomplishments of BLUER. Cost: $15,000 - $25,000.

Catalyst Program for Retail Expansion
Business Attraction is a regular function of a downtown revitalization program. However, it must be understood that an effective program is more than simply identifying a few business types that add to the downtown retail mix. The National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, characterizes such a program as Economic Restructuring to "strengthen downtown's existing economic assets while diversifying its economic base." It emphasizes that there should be a holistic approach that recognizes the understanding of how the downtown market mix effects the micro-economy and livability of the community.


>> Support the development of the theater project, Melton Center pool project, West Chester Food Co-op (or other grocer), retention of the Post Office, and possible baseball stadium development or similar compatible development at the Pfizer property when appropriate.

>> Develop a list of business categories complimentary to the downtown business mix using ULI Survey of Business Centers to determine base needs and availability.

>> Develop an interactive map and development calendar to identify available space with an understanding of future development projects. | cost: $10,000.

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$15,000 : Heart of the Brandywine
$  1,000 : Downtown Event Card
$10,000 : Downtown Guide Brochure/CTM distribution (50,000)
$  3,000 : MLT Visitors Guide (35,000)
$  1,000 : Marketing Outreach
$  1,000 : CVB Visitors Guide (2x25,000)
$  3,000 : County Lines Magazine (15,000 x 4 = 60,000)
$  2,000 : Direct mailing (5,000)
$  8,000 : West Chester Fig (82,000 plus 3,300 social media)
$  8,250 : West Chester Chamber
$           (   250 : Print ad Chamber)
$           (2,500 : Old-Fashioned Christmas Chamber)
$           (2,500 : Iron Hill Twilight Race Series Chamber)
$           (3,000 : Gallery Walk (sponsorship))
$  7,466 : Pennsylvania Vacation Guide (450,000 w/readers service)
$  1,000 : Parks & Rec Activity Guide full page (16,500 x 3 = 49,500)
$     200 : CVB Road Signage
$  2,500 : Classic Towns (membership)
$  3,000 : TV (Brandywine Visitors Channel, summer quarter)
$  2,000 : Fashion Show (sponsorship)
$  5,000 : History Day/Preservation Month (sponsorship)
$  2,000 : Restaurant Week (sponsorship)
$  2,800 : Swingin' Summer Thursday (sponsorship)
$  4,200 : Website/Social Media (365,000)
$  1,300 : TV
$  6,284 : Print/design/photo
$90,000 : TOTAL

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Preservation Ethic Development

Action Plan
1) Review and integrate the Implementation Program from the West Chester Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan (Adopted by West Chester Borough Council April 20, 2011).

2) Support and promote the following preservation events:
>> March: National History Day; partner: Chester County Historical Society
>> May: Historic Preservation Month; partner: National Trust for Historic Preservation
>> June: Town Tours; partner: County of Chester
>> September: Chester County Day; partner: Chester County Historical Society
>> October: West Chester Historic Preservation Awards; partner: West Chester Downtown Foundation
>> December: Little Lincolns Gettysburg Address Contest; partners: HARB, Chester County Community Foundation

3) Create a West Chester History Walking Map (print & web) as a walking guide to locations and structures that tell the story of West Chester Borough. Partner: TBD

4) Utilize e-books as a platform for historic articles. Examples:
>> Launching Abraham Lincoln's Campaign for the Presidency: the story of how West Chester produced Abraham Lincoln's first biography that helped send him to the White House.
>> Hidden in Plain Sight: the STONE RELIEFS of Harry Rosin.

5) Blog book reviews using excerpts to promote local historic books in the style of Delancy Place. Partner: Chester County Historical Society

6) Promote the Time Machine project that uses enhanced reality overlaid on historic structures that show what they once looked like. Partner: Chester County Historical Society

7) List the interpretive signs extant in West Chester on-line, posting their location. Partner: Explore PA History

8) Use This Place Matters developed by the National Trust to identify structures that may be challenged. Partner: HARB

9) Use the downtown banner program to tie-in with historic recognitions.

10) Continue to develop the Historic Milestones of West Chester webpage.

11) Secure State Facade Improvement Grant funds. Partner: PA Department of Community & Economic Development.


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