Friday, August 16, 2013

The good things that are happening in Chester

There are a lot of people who believe that there are a lot of good things happening in the city of Chester.

They also firmly believe that too often those things get ignored in favor of crime stories that wind up splashed all over the front page.

Yesterday I met a group of them. You'll meet two of them below.

A few weeks back, I got a phone call from Jackie Parker. She's the executive director of the Chster Economic Development Authority. She had concerns about a recent editorial lamenting the latest spike in violence in the city.

She wanted to stress some of the positives taking root in the city and suggested a meeting. I said I would welcome one.

Yesterday she arrived at the Daily Times offices here in beautiful downtown Primos. Actually the first to get here was Reha London, a longtime Chester resident, business owner and property owner, and former head of the city's landlord association. She had a fascinating story to tell me about her decision years ago to leave the Main Line and move into Chester.

Antoinette Trueheart is managing director of Entrepreneur Works of Delaware County. It's her job to try to find money for people  who are looking to set up businesses in the city. She told me of her former experiences in Philadelphia, including being a victim of crime, and never - not once - ever having even a hint of trouble at her job in downtown Chester.

Linda Braceland is the president of the Chester Business Association and a downtown Chester property owner. She's active in the arts, including Art of Avenue of the States. She told me of a push to open a gallery in both Harrah's Casino as well as getting some art displayed at PPL Park.

She also relayed information on what is being touted as Chester Photo Day. On Sept. 21, people are being encouraged to take a photo in the city of Chester. The idea is to catalog a single day in the city in pictures. The shots can be dropped off at 504 Avenue of the States.

Braceland lives in Chester County. She related a story I've heard before. She was in a store out in Chesco buying supplies for an art show, when the clerk asked her what all the stuff was for. When she explained the upcoming show, the clerk wondered where it was. When Braceland replied Chester, the clerk recoiled in horror. "My husband would never let me go there," she said.

It's a common refrain.

There are a lot of people who believe the image problem the city of Chester deals with is caused in part by the way the city is often portrayed in the pages of its daily newspaper.

I guess they haven't yet read today's story on the kids Spelling Bee. You can read it here. Or the many festivals in the city we cover. Or the religion news that runs "religiously" every Friday.

I understand their complaints. There is some merit in what they say.

Don Newton understands better than most the issues in Chester. He knows it is something the entire community has to deal with. Don heads Chester Arts Alive, a group dedicated to bringing arts and culture into the city. He knows it's something that involves the schools, families and administration in Chester. He also understands better than most the issues I deal with every day as a newspaper editor.

I'd like nothing more than to tell a lot of good stories from Chester. Enough from me. Here's two people who can tell you in their own words what is happening in the city of Chester:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chester offers so much to so many. My wife and I moved from Wallingford to Chester. We're "downtown" and enjoy our neighborhood with its history and convenience to all areas of the Philadelphia/Wilmington corridor. The arts community is expanding. A new restaurant is opening. Opportunity to join a good future!

August 16, 2013 at 1:34 PM 

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