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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Places to Live

West Goshen Township made Money Magazine's 2009 list of best places to live. Since I became sentient, "best" lists have puzzled me.

Why? Because though they are usually compiled by uninformed and overworked hacks, the general public treats them like scripture.


According to Money, West Goshen has a population of 8,800. According to the 2000 census, its population is around 20,000. (The 2010 number will be higher.)

According to Money, West Goshen's virtues are: quiet suburban feel, nearby shopping centers, an hour's proximity to Philadelphia, four parks (one with an ampitheater), a fitness boot camp for women, field trips for teens, and a summer bicycle parade.

Which means, it sounds like all upper middle class suburban towns. It also sounds like almost every town on Money's list.

The giveaway that Money's list should be taken with a grain of salt is not the population count error; rather, it is that Money overlooked West Goshen's proximity to West Chester Borough - West Goshen surrounds the borough on three sides! The borough is unique enough, I think, to merit mention. It has a university, it is the county seat, it has a ton of historic buildings, and it has one of the best downtowns in the Philadelphia suburbs ... certainly its downtown is more attractive than the nearby shopping centers? And, hey, isn't a pretty big chunk of the university in West Goshen?

West Goshen Township is a nice enough place. I have no qualms. The problem is "best" lists - fortune cookies are more informative.

I write this post because, during yesterday's meeting of the West Goshen supervisors, a woman who was unhappy about the township's plan to take a park and make it into a public works garage used the Money ranking as ammunition. I got to the meeting just as she was launching into:

"Money said we are one of the top ten best places to live in the country. They said it was because of our parks. If we lose one of our parks ..."

And so began a heated discussion between the resident (whose name I did not get) and the township officials.

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Blogger tracey said...

You couldn't be more correct. "Best Place to Live" - Obviously they dont have a quality of life category that asks how many men march through backyards with AR15s and shot fully automatic weapons for three months in the spring and three months in the fall from from Uwchaln to Newtown Square from 9-5. Its like a war zone. Our noise nuisance complaints go totally ignored by the police day in and day out. One person told me I was the noise nuisance for complaining. Its like a war zone. In New Haven, CT they got a 53 foot state of the art mobile trailer and allowed 400 men to train/certify in 3 weeks. Why then does it take 6 months to do the same in WG with less men being certified??? Best places- not feeling it. Everyone says get a lawyer - we're in a recession and who has one red cent to chip in. We were told in 1/08 at the BOS meeting that the range subject was not open for discussion any longer and that $300,000 was set aside for upgrades and soundproofing. NOTHING DONE YET!! and here we sit day after day being tortured yet they can build a 4,242 garage on the same property. We invite anyone to come down and get a dose of the the Best Places to Live type atmosphere - NOT.

November 8, 2009 6:16 AM 
Blogger tracey said...

Dan, Money Magazine also needs a catetory that asks availability to constituents to discuss concerns. In 1999 there were 23 BOS meetings at 4pm. In 2009 there are 16 meetings. Intentionally these meetings have dwindled down and been changed to 4pm to diminish their availability to hear concerns from the people in the township. Combined with the intentional bullying style from the board, the meetings are truncated after 20 minutes. This BOS clearly has no intention of addressing any concerns of the residence. They count on people not being able to take time off at 4pm to bring their concerns to the meetings. Money Magazine needs to add that category to the criteria when choosing the winners. Wonder if the entry to this poll is self-submitting by West Goshen Township officials.

November 8, 2009 6:53 AM 

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