The monthly West Chester Borough meeting held on Tuesday Nov. 13, 2007 in the Borough Municipal Building of West Chester, pertained to the Planning, Zoning, Business & Industrial Development Committee (PZBID). This meeting was held to discuss many concerns dealing with the Borough of West Chester and mainly the preliminary Land Development Plan application for the University Student Housing LLC- two seven story student residence facilities.
This meeting completed two of its nine topics on the listed agenda. It was evident that the meeting was not going to be one of a friendly manner when entering the room filled with representatives, lawyers, and West Chester Borough residents.
The focus was the residence hall situation. After discussing the issues at hand, it was made clear that neighboring residents are concerned with the attraction of vehicles as a result of the construction of new dormitories which will require additional parking.
As a result of the needed parking spaces, construction on the new student recreation center will not take place until phase one of the three phase dormitory project is completed. This is because the expected location of the student recreation center is needed to fulfill the parking requirement.
The future of West Chester University’s new student recreation center currently lies in the hands of the completion of the dormitory project.
To fulfill ample parking when the residence halls are complete, parking lots will be adjacent to the new dormitories, allowing construction to finally begin on the student recreation center which was planned to be completed in 2010.
With the completion of the student recreation center, a parking garage located at the intersection of New Street and Nields Street is in the plans to accommodate the Student Recreation Center’s attracted vehicles.
The discussion of this parking garage did not receive a positive reaction from the neighboring residents in the borough of West Chester. Residents clearly expressed their feelings concerning the draw of additional traffic by objecting to the building of the parking garage.
Agreeing that the planned F-Lot is not an appropriate site for the construction of a new parking garage, West Chester University promises to explore other options concerning solutions in respect to the New Street parking garage dilemma.
Some suggestions were made by Council members urging West Chester University to choose an alternative site for this necessary garage, commit to future communication between the University and neighboring residents with a notification to any resident residing within 500 feet of the project, and provide residents with the opportunity for conversation and feedback before a final decision has been made.
Approval was given to move forward with the resident hall project, allowing for progress on the rec center as well.
The meeting showed that the new Student Recreation Center does not hold the number one position on the University’s agenda.
Though hopes are still high and faith is not lost, it seems that there are higher hurdles that need to be cleared before any further thought can be put into the new Student Recreation Center.
This issue will move forward at a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2007 at 7:30, again being held at the West Chester Borough Municipal Building.
Maggie Cosgrove is a second-year student majoring in elementary education. She can be reached at MC626229@wcupa.edu.