– 11/23/14 Two big wins for the Barclay Grounds during the Council meeting last Wednesday

Dear Friend of the Barclay Grounds,

I am writing to inform you of two big steps forward during last week’s Council meeting toward preserving the Barclay Grounds.

First, though, I would like to tell you about a fun, new event that will take place in West Chester on Thanksgiving morning. Bring your family, friends and neighbors to join in an energizing 3-mile walk that begins and ends at the beautiful, historic Barclay Grounds (corner of W. Marshall Street and N. Church Street) and will lead through the streets of West Chester, visiting Marshall Square Park, Everhart Park and neighborhoods along the way. Registration begins at 9.00 am for a 9.30 am Start. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome to join in the fun. Bring your thermos cups – as coffee, hot chocolate and donut holes will be provided.

There is no “entry fee” but we ask that you make a monetary donation in an amount of your own choosing – so that the Barclay Grounds and events like these will be here for years to come.

For more information or to register in advance and/or buy a commemorative 2014 Turkey Trot T-Shirt visit http://www.savethebarclaygrounds.org/west-chester-turkey-trot-2014/

Two Big Steps Forwards Towards Saving The Barclay Grounds In Council On Wednesday, November 19th

First, Council vote 5-0 in favor of accepting a $100K open space grant towards the purchase of the Barclay Grounds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Second, Council passed a resolution (5-0) to send a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) guaranteeing the additional $381K that is needed to complete the required “match” for the $606K DCNR open space grant request for the Barclay Grounds purchase. This does not mean that the Borough is at risk for this full amount as the Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance (BGPA) has guaranteed to cover any shortfall (up to $200K) between the purchase price and the total amount of grants received for the Barclay Grounds purchase.

You may be aware that in the recent round of DCNR grants announced the Barclay Grounds was not included – even though it scored higher than several projects that were awarded funds. The reason for this was that DCNR wanted to make sure that the matching funds were in place before making a grant. So the Barclay Grounds were put on a High Value Projects list pending confirmation from the Borough that the full match was available.

So where does the funding for the Barclay Grounds currently stand?
The Borough has already received $225K in grant awards towards the purchase of the Barclay ($125K from Chester County; $100K from DCED). If DCNR awards the full $606K requested and the BGPA’s guaranteed $200K is added to this then the total raised would be $1,031,000. The Borough would then need to find only an additional $169K to complete the purchase.

To make up the $169K in a way that would ensure there is no additional burden on the residential tax payers of the Borough, the Borough is looking to use funding from new sources (including a proposed new Commercial Recreational Fee in Lieu which would be charged to new Commercial property developments if they do not set aside the required minimum amount of open space) and other creative means (e.g. potentially looking for sponsorships related to the park). The Borough also has the option of requesting additional grant money from the County Commissioners – as the Commissioners previously stated.

One additional fact that you should be aware of is that in July of this year, when the Borough completed the first “closing” under its contract to buy the Barclay Grounds – by which they acquired the two lots that border N. High St. (out of the four lots that comprise the Barclay Grounds) the sellers agreed to extend the date of the second closing (originally scheduled for December 2014) until December 2015. This will provide a realistic amount of time for the BGPA (which has now been granted tax-deductible donation status as a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization by the IRS) and the Borough to meet their fundraising targets.

For more information or to submit a question please visitwww.SaveTheBarclayGrounds.org.

Best wishes,

John (Cottage)
President, Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance (BGPA)