COATESVILLE — With 13,000 residents, the city is stronger than ever.
This spring, one inbound win en route is the reopening of the Coatesville Courtyard Marriott on May 1.
The hotel closed on March 13, 2020. Now, a change is near.
Once home to a village of Lenape Native Americans, Coatesville has endured challenges.
Yet, despite, destructive flood waters and in response to sporadic crimes of violence, members of the community continue to unite. There is a phoenix of change emerging in this community. Locals know one another by name and love their community.
West of Philadelphia on the Main Line of Old Lincoln Highway — Route 30 — this is a new season for the City of Coatesville, the beginning of a renaissance.
Concurrently, Chester County’s only city is also the most impoverished municipality. The poverty rate is approximately 33 percent. Even so, the city has seen rental costs increase by nearly 20 percent during the last two years.
Today, the city has a team of advocates who work together, in collaboration with the municipal government, to overcome challenges and build on wins – home runs, such as Coatesville Vintage Grand Prix, the Coatesville Christmas Parade – known as the largest parade in Chester County.
There were plenty of smiles during Coatesville’s Shop With A Cop program. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
On Tuesday, Coatesville 2nd Century Alliance hosted a virtual forum with updates, and presentations from guest speakers, on the community of Coatesville.
“We’re happy to be a resource for sharing information through events such as these,” said Sonia Huntzinger, executive director of 2nd Century Alliance on Thursday. “There are a great many projects happening now and in the pipeline that will impact the Coatesville community and keeping everyone informed is important.”
Presenters included Jack Burkholder, Coatesville ReDevelopment Authority on a citywide parking study, Christina Ferriello, general manager of the Coatesville Courtyard Marriott, Matt Gorham, Keller Williams Real Estate on the city housing market, Amber Little-Turner, downtown manager on small business grant opportunities, Chris Edwards of Jumpstart Coatesville on real estate investment, Jarvis Berry of Coatesville Youth Initiative on a new community center and Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell of Downingtown.
There are angel investors from across the Northeast working with local leaders for the city’s rebirth in which, for instance, vacant buildings with gorgeous, historic architecture are restored. Concurrently, locals are advocating for city residents to lead by launching their own businesses within the city.
And there are funds available for entrepreneurs and charitable heroes — striving to make a difference in Coatesville — and elsewhere.
“Just over a year ago, the American Rescue Plan Act was passed to help communities address economic fallout from the pandemic and lay the foundation for equitable recovery,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell on Thursday.
Chester County has been allocated nearly $102 million in ARPA funds, Maxwell said.
“The application window for municipalities, public authorities, small businesses, and non-profit organizations to apply for ARPA grant dollars is open.”
Flags fly in Coatesville at City Hall on March 28. (JEN SAMUEL — MEDIANEWS GROUP)
Last month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced to the American people a slated plan to potentially close the Coatesville VA Medical Center, as well as 16 additional medical centers for veterans across the country, including another Southeastern Pennsylvania site in Philadelphia.
Data compiled in 2019 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was used to determine which facilities might close in the years ahead, as previously reported.
Nearly 20,000 veterans from the region visit the medical center annually. Veterans travel from Delaware and elsewhere to receive the Veterans Affairs services there.
The Coatesville VA Medical Center is historic — on the top of a hill overlooking the city, the medical center is a beacon of hope and place of compassion with 1,300 employees.
The city’s community also includes veterans who work at the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Blackhorse Hill Road in East Caln.
“They provide an essential service to veterans and the community,” said veteran Mike Klaene. “And the downside is, they are not a full-service medical facility. They do not have surgery. They do not have cardiology. There are a lot of things that do not exist there,” Klaene said.
“Instead of tearing it down, what they should do is take what we got and make it better,” the Vietnam veteran said.
U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th of Easttown, has invited Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough to tour the Coatesville VA Medical Center to see firsthand the good work achieved there, as previously reported.
Since 1929, the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center has served American veterans in Chester County.