By Terence Farrell, Chester County Commissioner
I was intrigued by the reported remarks of Senator Andrew Dinniman at the recent Coatesville City Council meeting, stating that he has “…seen what the county has done to the city…” and that he’s going to change that.
The Senator’s remarks were made as he and City Council members, along with representatives of faith-based organizations placed a “call for action” relating to economic development plans in Coatesville, challenging the County and the State to ensure the needs of the community are fully considered throughout the development process. The group’s first community forum, leading to a proposed establishment of a Community Benefits Agreement, is scheduled to be held this Thursday evening, Feb. 27.
I fully endorse the desire to “build a community, not just buildings” in Coatesville. And the actions of the Chester County Board of Commissioners over many years (including the time that Senator Dinniman served as a Commissioner) reflect this.
Through our Department of Community Development, Chester County has invested more than $10 million in recently completed, on-going or new projects in Coatesville, including $1 million for the River Walk, funds for the construction of the Marriott Courtyard Hotel and the 30 West project; $1.3 million for the full rehabilitation of Roymar Hall apartments and a further $1.3 million for the largest ever project for Habitat for Humanity in Chester County – Cambria Terrace – which will result in 45 new owner occupied homes. We have awarded millions of dollars in grants to improve sewer infrastructures, street lights and pavements and parking areas, and towards the development of the Brandywine Center, ChesPenn and Community Dental services and the 24 senior housing units on Lincoln Avenue – all for the betterment of Coatesville.
Through the departments that comprise Chester County Human Services, we support organizations such as the Coatesville Senior Center, Good Works, the services and programs of CYWA and the Child Guidance Resource Center, and help to fund outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, children’s mental health services, child care and the Coatesville Youth Initiative – all of which are important elements that help to build a community in Coatesville.
The $25 million investment in the new Coatesville Train Station, the surrounding redevelopment and the 3rd Avenue streetscape are exciting projects for the city. And Chester County, through its Planning Commission and Department of Community Development, proudly sits at the table alongside other members of the project team, including Coatesville City Council and the Coatesville RDA, as well as PennDOT, Amtrak and the Chester County Economic Development Council. Our purpose is to ensure every aspect of this project helps to revitalize a city with so much history, and that will include working with developers who also see the economic potential of Coatesville.
From infrastructure and public improvements, to rental housing and housing for homeownership; from job creation and economic development, to funding for youth education, training and health services, urban centers like Coatesville are very important to Chester County. The residents of Coatesville are important to Chester County. The County Board of Commissioners believes that Coatesville’s potential as an economically revived city is great, and that’s why we have invested, and will continue to invest in all aspects of community life there.