– 11/10/14 Come and dine out at Iron Hill to help save the Barclay Grounds

The Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance and Iron Hill Brewery have joined forces to do fundraising for the Barclay Grounds. On November 10th Iron Hill Brewery will accept the above coupon when presented with payment for dinner, lunch, and take-out food served at its West Chester location and 20% of the food bill will go towards saving the Barclay Grounds.

Look under our events section to find out more information: https://www.savethebarclaygrounds.org/event/975/



– 07/22/2014 Borough Council voted 6:1 to move ahead with the first Closing

 Success!!! Borough Council voted 6-1 to move ahead with the first Closing

I am delighted to inform you that Council voted 6-1 this evening in favor of going ahead with the first Closing on the Barclay Grounds (by which they will secure the two lots on N. High St.).

I hope you feel a sense of pride in what we have achieved together.

It was a good meeting and I thank those of you who were able to attend in person very much. I know I have asked you to come to a lot of meetings now – but they were all important junctures along the way – and your presence in Council Chambers made the difference on each occasion. 

I would also like to thank those of you who were not able to attend in person but nevertheless took the time to call or write to your Council representative. Please know that this made a big difference. As Ellen Koopland (Seventh Ward) said … “It makes my job so much easier when I hear from my residents about how they feel on an issue”. Don Braceland (Fifth Ward) mentioned to me outside the meeting that about 95% of his mail was in favor of saving the Barclay, which helped him decide to vote “Yes”. Brian Abbott (Third Ward) also said yesterday that he was receiving a significant proportion of his e-mail in favor of saving the property. 

If you were not able to come this evening I am sorry because I know you would have enjoyed it. When it could have become an adversarial meeting Bill Lynch set the tone, as he often does, by putting things into the big picture perspective of the community as a whole and that this is not a win/lose situation – especially if we all put the same level of energy and creativity into solving the Borough’s other needs once we have preserved the Barclay Grounds. 

This then led to some very good “speeches” by members of Council (actually several were so good that I was disappointed when I realized the meeting was not being recorded). The meeting ended on a conciliatory note with many of the naysayers saying they felt less anxious by the end of the meeting about the finances involved . 

Now I am looking forward to being able to turn our energies away from the politics and more towards the work of actually raising the money.

Thank you for your role in getting us to where we are today. It is gratifying to know that we have all carried the ball at some point. I am excited that we now have a clear end-goal to focus on (i.e. getting together sufficient funding to allow the Borough to complete the second (final) closing) – and that, if we achieve this, we will have succeeded in saving this beautiful and historic property.

In closing, I would also like to thank President Norley and the Members of Borough Council for their decision tonight to take a calculated risk in order to preserve something very special for the Borough. While there are so many individuals that I would also like to recognize (and plan to do so in a future e-mail) I would be remiss if I did not single out three individuals at this juncture for their commitment, support, counsel and leadership throughout the past 15 months. These are State Senator Andy Dinniman, Mayor Carolyn Committa and Ward One Council Representative Bill Scott.

With Best Wishes,

John Cottage

– 05/26/2014 Thank you for a wonderful Spring Celebration

What a great night we had at the SaveTheBarclayGrounds Spring Celebration – held at The Barclay on Wednesday night (5/21). The event was held inside the part of The Barclay that was the original Hartshorne Mansion – and on the elegant, spacious covered-porch that overlooks the Barclay Grounds. With the mansion’s pink and grey marble fireplaces, 12-feet high arched doorways and 14-foot ceilings with decorative medallions, this was the perfect venue for such a gathering.

For the 160 people who attended, it gave a vivid sense of the historical importance of the estate that occupied the whole of this block (bounded by N. Nigh, W. Marshall, N. Church and W. Virginia) from 1866. On permanent display in a hallway of the Barclay was a copy of an illustration of the Hartshorne Estate from Futhey and Cope’s 1881 book “The History of Chester County, Pennsylvania”. The Hartshorne Estate was one of only two West Chester estates chosen to be illustrated in the book and is the only West Chester estate of this era not to have been subdivided and built on. Throughout the evening there were expert-led tours of the historic trees on the property.

For much of the evening guests socialized over hors d’ouvres and beverages, and browsed the 81 items in the silent auction. At 8:30, when the silent auction closed, the guests moved out to the porch and grounds where auctioneers from the Smith Auction House conducted a live auction of 11 impressive auction packages. Those who won items in the silent and live auctions got some really good deals – and, like everyone who attended, had the satisfaction of supporting the preservation of the Barclay Grounds.

The Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance would like to say a special “Thank You” to:

Everyone who supported the Barclay Grounds by purchasing tickets
Tony Stancato & Vic Abdala of StanAb LP, and Allan Steenhausen of John Milner Associates for the use of the Barclay Mansion and Grounds
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant for its donation of beer and other beverages
Linda Collier of Collier’s of Centerville for catering arrangements and wine selections
Sarah Hutchins and Rick Ray for guided tours of the historic trees
Anette Smith of Smith Auction House for conducting the live auction
Chaddsford Winery for the loan of the tables
West Chester Friends School for the loan of equipment and assembly space
The many businesses and individuals (soon to be listed on our website) who donated auction items
And last but certainly not least, the Spring Celebration “Committee Members” who worked so hard to make this a memorable evening for all …

Co-Chairs: Eric Lorgus; Arlene Rengert
Committee Members: Martha Carson-Gentry; Julie Cottage; Kristin Gerling; Karen Hamilton; Tandy Joy Hufford; Karen Jackson; Barb Lynch; Lee Miller; Larry (Parker) Parke; Donna Pyne; George Rengert; Liz Sweeney; Anarie Terezo; Margueritte de Wet; Kathryn Wood; Renny Wood

Thank you for your help.

– 04/09/2014 GeoCaching for Saving the Barclay May 31st

Uncover West Chester’s hidden historic treasures through a fun and informational geocaching event. Find out about the important people who established the borough’s early industries and railroads.  Learn about West Chester’s ties to the Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin, and its importance on the Underground Railroad. Visit Buffalo Bill’s winter home! And so much more…….

Find out more: https://www.savethebarclaygrounds.org/geo-caching-event/

– 12/31/2013 Borough Council voted 5-0 to adopt the ordinance to acquire the Barclay Grounds – Agreement of Sale was signed

This evening the Barclay Grounds preservation effort achieved it biggest milestone to date.  In a Special Meeting, West Chester Borough Council voted unanimously (5-0) in favor of the acquiring the Barclay Grounds from its current owners, StanAb.  The deal, however, is a complicated one and the Barclay Grounds will only be saved if, at the end of 2014, the combined total of grants from the County and State plus the funds raised by the Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance (BGPA) amount to $1.2 million.  Otherwise the property will be sold back to StanAb.

Terms of the Contract:

According to the contract negotiated between the Borough and StanAb the Borough will pay StanAb a $20K deposit (which has already been provided to the Borough in the form of donations by supporters of BGPA) upon signing the contract (probably tomorrow, 12/31/13).  The first closing (at which time the Borough will take possession of the two High Street lots – Lots 1 and 4) will occur on June 30th, when the Borough will make an additional payment of $600K.  The timing of this payment is based on the anticipated date of receipt of grant money from the County.  The second closing (for an additional $600K, in return for the two N. Church St. lots – Lots 2 and 3) must be completed by 12/31/14 – a date based on the anticipated timing of any State grants to be awarded.

If the County grant comes in substantially below the $500K being applied for, then the Borough will not conduct the first closing and the property will remain with StanAb – who will also keep the $20K deposit.  If sufficient County funding is received and the first closing is completed but the State grant comes in substantially below the $500K that is anticipated, then the Borough may sell back the first two lots purchased (the “put option”) and not close on the second two lots.  StanAb would then have until 12/31/15 to pay the Borough back the money from the first two lots – but would keep the $20K deposit.

The year ahead:

So the vote tonight basically set up a framework for success – and to succeed in preserving the Barclay Grounds the BGPA needs to generate $17,000/month throughout 2014.

We invite you to join the BGPA in its efforts in 2014 to raise the funding to save the Barclay Grounds.    Please go to the bottom of the Home page and click on the link to Volunteer.

In return we can promise you the opportunity to meet and work with a group of talented, motivated, public-spirited people.  So why not join us for a fun and rewarding year ahead in support of a very worthwhile cause.

– 12/29/2013 Special Borough Council Meeting Dec 30th, 2013 to vote on the acquisition of the Barclay Grounds

12/30/2013       6.00 pm      Council Chambers  2nd floor Borough Hall, 401 East Gay Street:

Special Borough Council Meeting to conduct the public hearing on and consider adoption of proposed Ordinance # 22 – 2013 an ordinance authorizing the acquisition for $1.2 million from StanAb LP. Approximately 1.381 acres of property located at the intersections of N. Church Street and West Marshall Street and North High Street, County tax parcel No. 1-4-109. (Barclay Woods Property)