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Chester County Press

Kudos to county for making investments in communities

09/15/2015 11:52AM ● By Steven Hoffman

Kudos to county for making investments in communities

The Chester County Commissioners last week formally presented Oxford Borough with a $575,000 Community Revitalization Program grant to make extensive streetscape improvements to Wheeler Boulevard. Borough manager Betsy Brantner noted at the time that residents are fortunate that Chester County provides this kind of financial support because not all counties do.

Oxford is a good illustration of why Chester County’s investments in communities are important. Since 2002, Oxford has received approximately $4.6 million in funding from the county for streetscape and infrastructure improvements. This funding made it possible for a major upgrade to Third Street, which is the heart of Oxford’s commercial district, as well as water main and sewer repairs.

Small boroughs like Oxford typically have limited revenue sources as most of the commercial and residential development now takes place in townships. These boroughs all face numerous challenges when it comes to remaining vibrant, and one of the most pressing challenges is certainly how to pay for the maintenance of aging infrastructure.

To put it simply, Oxford Borough would never be able to consider the infrastructure and streetscape upgrades that have taken place during the last decade without the funding from the county.

Borough officials have long known that Wheeler Boulevard needed improvements, but without the Community Revitalization Program grant, there’s no telling how much longer this project would have been delayed.

We applaud the Chester County Commissioners for making the revitalization of urban areas a priority. This year, the county targeted about $3 million for seven different revitalization projects throughout the county. Since 2002, the county has awarded about $57 million in Community Revitalization Program and Community Development Block Grants. These investments in the urban areas encourage economic development where it is needed the most, which is in line with the county’s long-term strategic plan.

Honoring military veterans and local heroes

Before the start of the Sept. 11 football game between Avon Grove and Oxford, there was a short ceremony to honor U.S. military veterans and local heroes—firefighters, police officers, and emergency responders. The game was the home opener for Oxford, and attracted a large crowd of supporters for both teams. The ceremony was a brief but fitting tribute, and we applaud the Oxford officials who planned it.