By Steven Hoffman
West Grove Borough Council officials welcomed the news that the town is receiving a Community Revitalization Program grant award from Chester County at the Sept. 4 meeting.
The grant, which is for $1.1 million, will allow the borough to undertake streetscape improvements for Willow Street and South Guernsey Road, including new street construction, the widening of existing streets, a new stormwater system, a storm sewer system, and a public water line.
“That’s going to be really nice for Willow Street,” said West Grove Borough Manager Sharon Nesbitt.
The infrastructure improvements, which should begin in 2014, will also pave the way for the planned Habitat for Humanity of Chester County project on a six-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Willow Street. The organization is planning to build a total of 40 affordable homes on the property. Five homes will be built each year over an eight-year period. All the homes will be owner-occupied housing.
Nesbitt said that the partnership with Habitat for Humanity was a key factor in obtaining the grant.
“It’s exciting because we partnered with Habitat for Humanity on this,” Nesbitt said. “The borough has done very well with this grant program.”
In more good financial news, Nesbitt told council that the 2014 budget worksheets had been distributed to all the departments. While it’s still very early in the budgeting process, Nesbitt said that the 2014 budget is expected to be nearly identical to the current year’s budget.
“We do not have any major projects next year,” Nesbitt said. “Right now, we’re not anticipating raising millage rates, sewage rates, or water rates.”
Nesbitt credited borough council’s financial stewardship with the good financial position that the borough finds itself in, noting that the council shares her belief that the borough shouldn’t be spending money that it doesn’t have.
In other business:
The borough received correspondence from Kacie’s Cause, a group working to spread awareness about the dangers of heroin addiction.
Mayor Steve Black said that West Grove police have been tracking cases involving heroin. There were five drug arrests in the last month and three of them were related to heroin, an indication of the prevalence of the drug.
Jackie O’ Neil, a principal of Aye Partners LLC, a developer of net zero energy mixed use and residential projects, made a presentation to West Grove Borough Council about the Three Groves Eco-Village, a community being planned near the boundary between West Grove Borough and London Grove Township. The goal is to have the homes in the community be completely sustainable, with net zero energy used. Most of the project is situated in London Grove Township, but O’Neil said that she wanted to update West Grove officials on the progress that is being made.
“We are partially in your town,” O’Neil said. “Only a small portion, where the gardens are, is in the borough.”
O’Neil said that a groundbreaking on the project could take place by the end of the year, although there is significant site work that must take place first that could push the groundbreaking to the first quarter of 2014.