Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mayor John Linder addresses the Chester Business Association

Here are some of the points made by Mayor Linder in no particular order.

  • Working arm of Chester’s economic development is CEDA and it needs to be stabilized.
  • Use food, art, and music as an economic driver for the city.
  • Create an environment where Home, School, College, Government, and Marketplace sparks development and entrepreneurism.
  • Major focus on developing the downtown area with a historical and cultural theme and with a mix of residential and business use.
  • Build a parking garage near the transportation center in hopes of getting Amtrak to make a stop in Chester.
  • Buildings are not being torn down because of lack of money.
  • Create a walkway from Ethel Waters park to Upland.
  • Has not seen the plans for Deshong property but knows there is a plan.
  • Form partnerships with the business community, Widener University, the county, and as many resources available to work together.
  • Turn Chester into a hub of entrepreneurial activity.
  • In 4-8 years create a $3 billion build out of Chester.
  • By faith, there will be 2000 new jobs in Chester in the next few years.
  • Applied for millions in grants to perform economic development studies.
  • City is willing to take over the school district but will not allow the school district to be dumped on them.
  • Because the school district fails to educate doesn’t mean learning should stop.
  • Create a school of culinary arts using the kitchen in city hall.
  • Hiring 5 veteran cops. Getting 5 to 12 cops off of desk duty and back on the streets.
  • He did not know the Chester Business Association had as many members as it does and was made aware that the Chester Business Association has a committee to revitalize the business district which he intents to work with.

There were only a few questions from the audience, but two people suggested that a new business district should be built in another area of the city.

I’ve been writing about that for 6 years. I never knew other people felt the same way. 

As Mayor Linder alluded, the money is on Widener’s campus. So, I ask again, why no build your new downtown near the campus, creating a college town environment? With the college, access to I-95, and proximity to a large number of existing residents, it seems like a no-brainer. 


  1. Along whats left of Providence Ave? They are still looking for a lease for the space next to 7/11 and the old Don's...Who owns Minit-Matic? plus whatever that building is that's next to it. I think you have a great point.
    -Chris Rogers

    1. Thank you Mr. Rogers.

      I can't see the old downtown ever being a retail hub again. But, I can see it becoming a professional's business district with accountants, lawyers, politicians, dentist, banks...oh, they are already there.

      Well, let's make it attractive to bring more there. Add a few doctors, townhomes, or lofts like the mayor suggests, and you're done without a need to build new streets or add mega parking.

      The specialty shops will automatically come to support the professionals, like a small grocer, coffee shop, diner...oh, that's already there, too.

      Horrible and unrealistic idea, I know.

  2. Widener already owns the Minit-matic property. They're looking to do the same thing they did with the lofts and 7-11 (lease to a business for $1), but due to the lack of tenants in the largest retail space at the first property, there are no takers

  3. I just find it very funny that Linder was in CITY HALL for two years and did not know how many business was in the Chester Business Association he did not know they had that many members. WHERE has he been? LINDER give up the idea of downtown work on 291 and get businesses on that highway. The city is going to now take over the school district? LINDER you are the mayor not the Superintendent know your lane. SMDH

    1. Two years ago the Chester Business Association only had a couple dozen members. There are over 100 now. They've had a growth spurt in the past year.