Willistown Township

“If walls could talk, what stories they could tell!” — Historic House Tour tickets available

The 11th Annual Historic House Tour (hard to believe that it’s been 11 years!) is coming up in a few weeks and final preparations are in full swing!

Tickets for the 2015 house tour on Saturday, September 19, noon – 5 PM and Jazz & Just Desserts, the house tour preview party, on Sunday, September. 13, 6-9 PM at Duportail House are available online at www.tredyffrinhistory.org . The house tour is the largest annual fundraiser for Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and all proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships support historic preservation and the completion of the Living History Center at Duportail.

The 11th Annual Historic House Tour features an interesting mix of eight private historic homes in Tredyffrin, Easttown and Willistown Townships plus the Diamond Rock Schoolhouse, an octagonal one-room school house in the Great Valley.  Discover the beauty of historic preservation on the tour, everything from a mid-1800’s French Normandy hunting lodge on Valley Forge Mountain to Deepdale, the original 19th century stone farmhouse and the 1915 English Cotswold revival estate, ‘Deilwydd’.  Enjoy stops at two different 150-year old carriage houses and marvel at how the owners skillfully adapted the buildings to 21st century family homes.

Also included on the tour is a sprawling 1900’s brick farmhouse in Malvern built by sisters, Ellen and Rebecca Winsor. Pro-suffrage activists from Haverford, the Winsor sisters were among 17 Pennsylvania women imprisoned for their “Silent Sentinel” picketing of the White House under President Woodrow Wilson.

We are still accepting sponsorships for the house tour, which helps to make the annual event possible. Ticket and sponsorship information is on the Trust website or you can email me at info@tredyffrinhistory.org.

It’s great to see many individuals and companies supporting historic preservation through the house tour, along with a number of elected officials and candidates. Its history and the preservation of our historic buildings helps to make this community special!

As the saying goes, “If walls could talk what stories they could tell.” Each featured property on the house tour has generations of original stories to tell!  Hope to see you on the tour!

11th Annual Historic House Tour Poster

 

Tweets by @WillistownPD Help Alert Public of Paoli Bank Robbery

By this point, many of you are probably aware that TD Bank in Paoli was robbed this past Tuesday afternoon and the robber escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash. Although located on Lancaster Avenue in Paoli, the bank is actually in Willistown Township, across from Good Samaritan Church.  As an interesting aside, this was the first day on the job for newly elected Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

An interesting twist to the bank robbery is how social media played into the story.  The robber escaped but almost immediately, a photo of the suspect and details were released through a social media account, on Twitter.  The Willistown Township Police Department set up a Twitter account  @WillistownPD  this past October.  As a result, they were able to tweet a photo of the suspect with the following message, “If anyone recognizes or has information on the subject in the photo please contact Willistown Police at 610-251-0222”. 

Although I believe the suspect is still ‘at large’, this application of a social media tool helped to alert the public of the incident and of the danger of the suspect on the run.  Local police departments, like Willistown, are starting to use various social-networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to not only communicate with local residents, but also track down criminals and missing persons.  Although social media tools should not be viewed as taking the place of old-fashioned police work, it certainly is a great asset in criminal investigations.  However, aside from helping to solve crimes, Twitter and Facebook function as an outreach and communication tool for police departments to keep residents informed.  Outreach efforts help build trust among residents in a similar way that beat cops walking the streets and getting to know people does.

Some police departments are being even more proactive, are reaching beyond announcements and informational use of social media, and are now using Facebook and other social media sites to detect illegal activity.  Often users are not very discriminating when it comes to posting information on these sites, and law enforcement agencies are within their right to use this information to investigate crimes, solicit tips and otherwise engage the community. Police have noticed that individuals share a tremendous amount of personal data over social-networking sites.  In addition, it is not unusual for suspects to brag about their crimes and how they ‘got away with it’ and the best place for them to brag about themselves is on social networking sites.

Of course, there is always the other side of the argument of the use of proactive social media by police departments.  Critics of police patrolling Facebook and Twitter for tips say it is an invasion of privacy and goes too far.  A quick search on Facebook indicates that our country’s FBI has a very active page:  http://www.facebook.com/FBI — which gives every indication that the linkage of social media and law enforcement is our future.

I could not find any evidence of a Twitter account for Tredyffrin Township Police Department.  A Facebook page has been set up for the Tredyffrin Police Department but it is not an active site. Tredyffrin Township has a Facebook and Twitter account but maybe dedicated social media sites for our police department, like Willistown Township Police Department, would be a good idea.

Paoli Transportation Center Project Takes Big Steps Forward – A Letter-of-Interest Request Issued by Tredyffrin Township and Request-for-Proposal Issued by SEPTA!

Plans Afoot For Troubled Paoli Rail Yard, Can It Become A Transportation Center With Buses And Better Parking?”

This Philadelphia Inquirer headline above was not written this week, this month, this year — no, the article is seventeen years old, dating from September 14, 1994!

This years-old Inquirer article focused on the possibility of turning the “problematic Paoli rail yard into a sophisticated intermodal transportation center” which would accommodate “a transportation center, complete with buses and improved parking.” Can it be that the dream, this vision for the future may still be possible?  Maybe so.

At the last Board of Supervisors Meeting, I was disappointed that the supervisors did not update on the process of the Paoli Transportation Center.  There had been previous discussion about an upcoming issuance of a Request-for-Proposal (RFP) on the N. Valley/Central Avenue road and bridge improvement project (part of the Paoli Transportation Center project) and I was seeking an update — specifically was an RFP issued?  If so, what was the status, how many bidders, due date, etc.

Many of us have followed the saga of the train station for years, and remain interested in the progress (if any) on the project.  My intention in asking for an official public update was certainly not to step on the toes of either the township staff or our elected officials, but just to seek information.  What’s the old adage, “Ask and ye shall receive”? I was asking the questions, but I guess I wasn’t asking the right way or to the right people.

Although not listed on the township website, I discovered with some Internet research that the Tredyffrin Township Engineering Department has issued a ‘Letter of Interest’ for the “Paoli Road Improvement Project – Feasibility Study and Public Involvement Program”. According to the township’s Letter of Interest request, all phases of the Feasibility Study will be 100% state funded and that the township is encouraging responses from small firms and firms that have not previously done work for the township.

The township’s public Letter of Interest advertisement gives the full solicitation details on the Paoli Road Improvement Project and includes the following:

Tredyffrin Township Letter of Interest Request:

Paoli Road Improvement Project – Feasibility Study and Public Improvement Program

Tredyffrin Township will retain a PADOT qualified engineering and public involvement consultant team to provide a feasibility study and public involvement and outreach program to assess the traffic, roadway, infrastructure and community stakeholder needs, and identify potential alternatives for the existing local and PADOT roadway network located in Paoli, in the vicinity of S.R. 0030 (Lancaster Avenue), E./W. Central Avenues, Paoli Pike/ Greenwood Avenue, Darby Road, Plank Avenue and N./S. Valley Roads. The Township seeks a feasibility study that provides cost effective alternatives to allow for traffic calming, streetscape, intersection modification, and signal timing adjustments to address existing congestion and public safety concerns while providing for the needs of motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, rail users and the overall vision for a multi-modal Paoli.

Alternatives included in the feasibility study should emphasize solutions that meet current PADOT design and safety standards, and the local stakeholder and Township vision for the Paoli Transportation and Town Center Districts. In addition to the Feasibility Study, an intensive coordinated public outreach and stakeholder involvement process must parallel the identified Feasibility Study phases to ensure final recommendations have been thoroughly discussed, stakeholder input received while ultimately working toward a consensus on roadway improvements for consideration and prioritization for future design and construction phases of the project.

The township’s Letter of Interest words, “. . .  intensive coordinated public outreach and stakeholder involvement process . . .” aligns with my request that the public remain ‘in the loop’ and informed on the process of this important community project.

The list of companies already registered to submit a Letter of Interest to the township on the Paoli transportation project is impressive!  To date, 50+ companies have registered, including local companies from Wayne, Malvern, West Chester, Collegeville, Exton and Kimberton and several companies from Lancaster, Gettysburg, New Jersey and Delaware.  Source Management Onvia of Seattle, Washington has also registered to bid the project!  Letters of interest are due by bidders to the township by 2 PM on September 15, 2011. It is my understanding that registration does not necessarily imply that all registered companies will submit a Letter of Interest.

According to the Letter of Interest advertisement by the township, the evaluation and selection process by Tredyffrin Twp is:

For the purposes of negotiating a contract, the ranking of a minimum of three (3) firms will be done directly from the Letters of Interest. Technical proposals will not be required prior to the ranking. Only the top three (3) firms will be requested to prepare technical proposals. The top three (3) firms will then be ranked based off the Technical Proposal and the top firm will be requested to submit a cost proposal.

In another big step for the Paoli Transportation Center project, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has issued a Request-for-Proposal, Proposal Number 11-091-DMH for qualified “Consultants for Architectural/Engineering Services for Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center”.

SEPTA’s A&E Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center RFP description states:

Consultant services include, but are not limited: the development of construction documents (plans and specifications) for the construction of the Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center in accordance with the scope of work of this RFP and in full compliance ADA and other governing authorities.   The deadline for proposals is September 7, 2011.

The issuance of a Letter of Interest by Tredyffrin Twp and a Request-for-Proposal from SEPTA is positive and encouraging news for the community on the Paoli Transportation Center project and marks real progress in this long journey.

As Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Paoli Transportation Center . . . “Top Priority for Willistown Township” so says Supervisor Norman MacQueen

As part of the update on the Paoli Transportation Center project, Norm MacQueen, the chair of Willistown Township’s Board of Supervisors, responded to my request – see his response below. 

The success of the Paoli Transportation Center effort is dependent on the cooperation and good working relationship of staff and elected officials in Willistown and Tredyffrin townships.  MacQueen’s message that the project continues to be a “top priority for Willistown Township” echos the sentiments of Tredyffrin’s supervisors. 

Here’s hoping that the Paoli Transportation Center project starts picking up momentum to the finish line . . . !

Pattye,

I can’t speak to the projects in Downingtown and Ardmore, or how they might affect Paoli, but I can assure you that the Paoli Transportation Center remains a top priority for Willistown Township. 

For the past few years our focus has been on drafting and adopting appropriate zoning; especially as it pertains to building height, density and infrastructure improvements. With much valuable feedback from our residents, I believe the ordinances we’ve crafted will serve the best interests of the community.

As far as a current update, I don’t have much to add beyond what you’ve heard from Representative Kampf and Supervisors Kichline and DiBuonaventuro. Most of the current action is on the Tredyffrin side of the township line with the route 252 and related traffic improvements.

Thank you and stay tuned.

Norman MacQueen

Community Matters © 2015 Frontier Theme