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Thursday, May 1, 2008

CDC Projects Update

Twice each month, the Main Street-Community Development Corporation has been updating Borough Council on the status of issues and projects under the CDC’s wing. The updates from Council’s April 28 meeting are here reported, as they were reported to Council, as elements of larger developing stories:

The Steel Site: After a long drought, it may soon begin to rain. Bruce Moore’s Brandywine Financial, negotiating purchase of the property from our old friends at the Phoenix Property Group, appeared to be at last resolving property judgment debt problems. Brandywine’s choice would then be to develop the property or to resell. CDC director Barry Cassidy reported that he had shopped the property to two potential buyers.

Once I built a railroad: The Green Line rail proposal will be under public discussion tonight at 7:00 at the Columbia Bar and Grill, when the results of the initial consultants’ feasibility study will be released. Meanwhile, the CDC is also working on two other sets of rail rights-of-way: Cassidy reported an upcoming meeting with Valley Forge Railways “to discuss the potential for the [Green Line] train project being extended to Oaks.” Current discussions regarding a SEPTA R-6 extension now currently exclude Phoenixville, he said. In addition, “we will be seeking,” said Cassidy, “to broker a deal with the property owners to purchase the easement for the entire Pickering line, that runs directly behind the stores on [the north side of] Bridge Street.”

Housing: The CDC has been in communication with HUD with a request for review of the “competence” of the Housing Authority of Chester County to administer its properties. “We still contend that the HACC is subject to all laws governing private owners of apartments and that no one should live with a bag of waste over their sink,” Cassidy said, in reference to the conditions in Apartment 413 at Fairview Village. Additionally, reps from the CDC, the police department, the DA’s office and Borough administrators met with the owner of High Street’s Pennsylvania House; official notice was given him, Cassidy said, “that the place has to clean up [regarding drug and other matters] or we will take action.”

Downtown marketing: The long-expected downtown retail market analysis is scheduled for delivery to the CDC today, which will kick off a major business recruitment effort focused on “businesses that are compatible with the arts and entertainment economic development strategy,” Cassidy said. On a related issue, “we will attempt to bring in a nationally-recognized consultant in retail enhancement…to advise the [current downtown] merchants on solid retail practices.”

Flower power: Cassidy reported that the CDC has passed off the responsibility for installation and maintenance of downtown “flower power” to the Phoenixville Area Business Association, and that PABA will be holding a benefit concert June 1 to help fund the project.

Posted by
G.E. “Skip” Lawrence


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