Oxford Borough receives $575,000 grant for Wheeler Boulevard streetscape improvements
● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough has been awarded a $575,000 Community Revitalization Program grant from the county for streetscape improvements on Wheeler Boulevard.
“The Borough of Oxford thanks the Chester County Commissioners, the Department of Community Development and the Chester County Planning Commission for their continued support of Oxford,” said Borough Manager Betsy Brantner. “Receiving the Wheeler Boulevard grant is a very important step in continuing the revitalization in the Borough of Oxford. Wheeler Boulevard has seen an increase in traffic due to the Tastykake expansion, the Oxford Main Street First Fridays, and the build-out of the Oxford Square Mall and Oxford Commons.”
According to borough officials, the project will include replacing waterlines, valves, hydrants, and a stormwater system which will improve water pressure that is vital to fire protection in the area. The streetscape improvements will also include street paving, sidewalks, and ramps on Wheeler Boulevard between North Third Street and Lincoln Street.
The Chester County Commissioners announced the grant awards, totaling $2,995,000 for projects in the City of Coatesville and six boroughs, on July 21.
“Community Revitalization grants have benefited a number of Chester County urban centers over the years,” said Terence Farrell, the chair of the Chester County Commissioners. “These funds greatly improve the overall health of communities and provide for growth, as well as spur significant increases in taxable assessments.”
In addition to the grant to Oxford, Coatesville is receiving a $500,000 grant to partially fund a parking structure at the corner of First Avenue and East Diamond Street. West Grove Borough is receiving $400,000 for a reconstruction project of Hillside Avenue, which will include water main replacements and a project aimed at improving fire protection. Elverson was awarded $590,000 for a wastewater lagoon closure and landscaping improvements. Downingtown is receiving $180,000 for a sanitary relief line at Bradford Avenue. Honey Brook was awarded $250,000 for its White Birch Street infrastructure and a transportation reconstruction project, while Phoenixville is receiving $500,000 to replace water mains.
“Many of our urban communities are in need of updating their infrastructure, and a majority of this year’s CRP grants are helping to fund stormwater and water main projects,” said Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. “The municipal leaders are being prudent by replacing aging infrastructure and not waiting for an emergency.”
Commissioner Michelle Kichline added, “Chester County’s VISTA 2025 plan calls for improvements to make the county’s urban centers viable, livable locations. The county has planned for a bright future and the CRP grants help to make it a reality.”
Since the Community Revitalization Program began in 2002, the county has awarded more than $57 million in Community Revitalization Program and Community Development Block Grant program grants to the sixteen urban centers in the county for infrastructure improvements, according to Pat Bokovitz, Director of the Chester County Department of Community Development.
According to Brantner, this support from the county through these grant programs has been important to the borough's revitalization efforts.
“Oxford Borough continues to grow and thrive due to the vision of our Oxford Borough Council, the support of Oxford Mainstreet Inc. in supporting local businesses and bringing in new businesses, and our residents who have charged the Borough with creating a vibrant community where we can all live, work and play,” Brantner said. “Our community is continuing to thrive, our library has completed a very successful expansion, making it one of the best libraries in Chester County. A new restaurant will be opening soon. We have resumed building with three major building projects going on at the moment. And we are completing Phase 3 of our Streetscape projects, and waiting to apply for Phase 4. The Borough of Oxford is without a doubt up and coming. We invite everyone to come visit us and watch us grow.”