Gay hiking

Tree-lined linear park at the intersection of Gay and Adams streets in West Chester backed

WEST CHESTER – A little greenery could make a big difference.

Following a unanimous vote by the West Chester Planning Commission recommending the installation of a tree-lined linear park at the intersection of Gay and Adams streets, the Smart Growth Committee voted 3 to 0, at the meeting of Monday, to recommend the project to the borough council.

The Borough’s Tree Commission spearheaded the creation of the park which would beautify the Borough and hopefully attract desirable business and residential development, as is usually the case in the neighborhood of neighboring business.

West Chester is considering adding a new park opposite Borough Hall. (BILL RETTEW-MDEDIANEWS GROUP)

“We’re trying to be proactive on the tree commission and improve the tree canopy,” tree commission chairman Jeff Beitel told the committee. “We are looking for areas where we could have a large and positive impact.

“If the town center moves this way – just opposite Borough Hall – we can really make a statement.”

Beitel said much of the Town Hall area along the eastern entrance hallway is “visually unattractive”.

A sketch of the proposed park opposite Borough Hall in West Chester. (SUBMITTED)

The linear park would follow a gently curved east-west line entirely along the public right-of-way and sidewalk adjacent to Gay Street. An improved streetscape would include plants, trees, permeable paved sidewalk and rain gardens. There would be three sidewalk cuts left, two on Gay and one on Adams. Sidewalks at the four corners of Gay and Adams Streets would be installed to calm traffic and improve pedestrian crossing safety.

The price is around $200,000, according to Tree Commission member and landscape architect Chris Pugliese. The tree commission suggests that the borough look for grants to finance the project.

“Love it,” said councilman and committee member Patrick McCoy. “If we can get somebody to pay for it with grants, that would be the best.”

Councilman and committee member Brian McGinnis is a supporter of the proposed linear park.

“It’s a great project that creates a more welcoming atmosphere as you walk into West Chester,” said McGinnis. “It’s great for the environment and it beautifies the streetscape.”

Stormwater management of Goose Creek, which is regularly flooded, could be a component of the project.

A sign illustrating the benefits of the linear park could also educate pedestrians. Improved walkability would be created by providing a pedestrian friendly streetscape.

Demolition and construction could take as little as three months, but securing financing could take years.