Author Archives: kristin

11-29-17 Bulb Planting Party

The BGPA received a generous donation of 3000 bulbs (Daffodils and Tulips) for Barclay Park from
Dutchgrown –
We need all the help we can get to get them into the ground. Please, join us for bulb planting on Saturday. Please, bring a shovel or spade for digging holes.


Saturday December 2nd 2017 from 2 pm -4 pm at Barclay Park

Cycle for the Trees 2014

Cycling fundraiser 09/07/2014

-11-5-2015 Why I support the preservation of the Barclay Grounds – by Senator Andy Dinniman

Why I Support the Preservation of the Barclay Grounds – by Senator Andrew Dinniman

It is local treasures like the Barclay Grounds that allow the Borough of West Chester to be beautiful and bustling at the same time.

That is why I worked so hard to secure $700,000 in state funding for the Grounds’ preservation, and why we must continue our work to help secure the remaining $147,000 needed.

It takes special commitment to preserve a community’s historic and natural resources at the same time it is bursting at the seams. West Chester’s past leaders and residents deserve great credit for preserving the Barclay Grounds from the mid-1860’s all the way through the 20th Century.

When the latest proposal to develop the Grounds surfaced in 2012, it was obvious we had an obligation to both our predecessors and our successors to stand up for the Grounds and preserve them for good.

For five decades I have driven into West Chester and been greeted by the wonderful sycamore and oaks, birches, poplars and maples that frame North High Street and make the Barclay Grounds the most beautiful of open spaces. Each and every time I arrive it is a wonderful reminder of why the Arbor Day Foundation annually bestows its “Tree City” award upon West Chester.

But the Grounds do so much more than please the eye. The 150-year-old specimen trees help me imagine what life was like back in the 1860’s.  I think of the property when John Rutter first turned it into a nursery; and after the Civil War, when Joshua Hartshorne rode his horse through the wrought-iron gates that remain to this day, past the saplings he planted and right to the door of his mansion.

As a historian, I am inspired by all who walked the Barclay Grounds. I think of those who lived there after the property became “The Barclay Home,” a Quaker boarding home for seniors in the mid-1930’s. I am reminded of the veterans who came home after World War II and undoubtedly took pleasure in the shade beneath its trees. I think of the Barclay Grounds’ many neighbors and residents who take joy in its peaceful nature every day.

It was with all this in mind that I convened Barclay Grounds supporters on the first floor of my North Church Street office nearly two years ago.

Since then the process of saving the Barclay Grounds has been like assembling pieces in a complex jigsaw puzzle. But we all got involved knowing it wouldn’t be easy.

Throughout its history, the Barclay Grounds has too often been threatened by development, with residents and friends thwarting such efforts each time. Once, a resident reportedly even stood in front of a bulldozer and said, “Over my dead body.”

It is time the Barclay Grounds receives a permanent lease on life, and we are now just $147,000 away from the finish line. With your continued help we can cross it together.

Thank you, Andy Dinniman

– 12/9/2014 Another big win for the campaign to Save the Barclay Grounds

I am delighted to inform you of another big win in the campaign to preserve the Barclay Grounds. Yesterday the Chester County Commissioners voted unanimously to increase the County’s grant for the Barclay Grounds from the $125K that they awarded earlier this year … to $250K.

We have now raised more than $1 million dollars in the past 12 months to preserve the Barclay Grounds – and are within reach of raising the $1.2 million needed to complete the purchase!!!

This is a tremendous accomplishment and something that we should all be very proud of. Please know that, as with previous votes, the presence of BGPA supporters in the meeting room was important – as were the many e-mails that you collectively sent to the Commissioners. Commissioner Costello – who Chaired his last two meetings of the County Commissioners yesterday, as he has resigned in order to take up his new role as the US Congressman for this area – told me how important the e-mails were in helping him make his decision to increase the grant. He also complimented us, as a group, for having run such an effective and responsible public advocacy campaign on behalf of the Barclay Grounds.

Of course we did not accomplish all this alone and I would like to express my gratitude for all their hard work on this issue to State Senator Andy Dinniman and his staff; State Representative Dan Truitt, Mayor Carolyn Comitta; Council President Jordan Norley and the West Chester Borough Council (especially Bill Scott, in whose Ward the Barclay Grounds is situated); the Brandywine Conservancy; the Natural Lands Trust; and last but not least the new Borough Manager, Michael Cotter.

So, now that the State and the County have really come through, it is time for all of us, as supporters of the BGPA, to make good on our commitment to raise up to $200K. As we enter the final weeks of the tax year it is an ideal time for you to think about making a donation to the BGPA (which now has 501(c)3 status), as donations made before 12/31/14 may be deductible on your 2014 tax return. You can make a donation using a credit card or an existing PayPal account by copying the link below and pasting it into the address line of your web-browser. If you prefer to pay by check, the directions for where to send your check, are also included on the page at this address.

We can think of the campaign to SaveTheBarclayGrounds as having three major phases. The first phase was to raise awareness, mobilize the community, halt the development and encourage the council to buy the property. The second was to maximize the County and State grant awards. We are now entering the third phase – to raise sufficient funding to meet our commitment to the Borough and help it complete the purchase. We have been successful with the first two components – and working together I know we will be successful with the third.

Best wishes,


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