What's happening in and around Phoenixville, PA.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Melchiorre Park Update

Well, went to the Melchiorre Park discussion tonight and was able to find out the following. Despite the fact it has been described as a 23 acre park, there is really only about 10 acres of usable land. The rest is either too hilly or wooded. On that 10 acres, the plan is to build two softball fields. Dissecting those two fields will be a multi-use field that is the size of a regulation soccer field.

In addition, two buildings will be on the property. One will be used as a gymnasium that is big enough for two basketball courts. The other, smaller building, will be made up of locker rooms, offices, and classrooms/meeting rooms.

Throughout the park will be paths that will circle the fields as well as lead down to two trails that frame French Creek. From these trails will be various paths to the creek to allow for fishing.

These plans are considered the 'pre-final' plans. What this means is that, after a couple of years of study, this is the way things appear to be heading. A number of questions were asked but none really challenged the overall design. Some suggestions included a skate park as well as additional parking (current plan is for a little over 100 spots).

All things said, it seems as if completion of the park is a ways off. Apparently, the next step is to finalize the design. Once that is done, they will start to go through the cost of what they have proposed to see what stays and what goes. Then, they will start to actually build everything.

Annual Candelight Holiday Tour taking place this Saturday

The annual Phoenixville Candelight Holiday Tour is taking place on Saturday, December 1st from 4-8pm. The tour, which is entering its 7th year, opens the doors to a dozen private residences around town. From the press release on the PASD website:

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The 2007 tour will be the largest and most comprehensive in the candlelight tour's seven year history. A major attraction on this year's tour will be the new home of the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation. This stately mansion houses a circular staircase which was featured in the comic strip "Bringing Up Father". For many years Phoenixville has been a popular site for motion picture filming. The film "4D Man" with Lee Meriwether was filmed in the dining room of another home showcased on the tour. The Schuylkill River Heritage Center will be open to patrons. Among the 12 private homes on the tour is a meticulously restored house that served as the original Phoenixville Hospital in the 1890s. Each year the tour features beautifully decorated homes, houses of worship, adaptive re-use, music and entertainment.
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Tickets, if purchased by tomorrow, are $15 and can be purchased at the following locations: Artisans Café, Hipster Home, Ellie’s Choice, Heidi Sue Variety, Charmed Spirit, Foresta's Market, The "G" Lodge, Valley Forge Pizza, Shawn Staska State Farm Insurance and Scarlet Begonias. Tickets can also be purchased on Saturday starting at 2pm at the Phoenixville Civic Center and St. John's United Church of Christ. Day of tickets are $20.

Proceeds from the 2007 tour will benefit The Phoenixville Area Children’s Learning Center, St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter, Phoenixville Area Community Services, and the Phoenixville Area Dog Park.

For more information, please call 610-933-9181.

Source: Phoenxiville Area School District Website

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Blog Look

What do you think? I felt the old look was getting a bit cluttered. Hopefully the new links at the top will make things easier to find and will allow the blog to be a bit easier to read. I'd love to hear your thoughts however.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Local Business Spotlight: Thai L' Elephant

For those of you who enjoy authentic Thai food, look no further than Thai L' Elephant. Several readers have sent me emails raving about the food and I am happy to announce that they are the feature of our most recent Local Business Spotlight. Located on Rte. 23 in the shopping center behind O'Grady's (address is 277 Schuylkill Rd), Thai L' Elephant is open 7 days a week and for both lunch and dinner (dinner only on Sunday's). Like many of our area's top restaurants, Thai L' Elephant is a BYOB.

I received the following from one of their managers, Jennie Johnson

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A Gastronomic Adventure in Phoenixville

Thai L' Elephant has been established by chef/owner Michael Raethong who has been in the restaurant business for over 15 years as a chef. Michael relentlessly creates innovative and exotic dishes. He has won several awards including 'Best of Philly' and '50 Best Meals Under $50' from Philadelphia Magazine, 'Best Presentation' by Philly Cooks, 'Best of Mainline' by Main Line Magazine, 'Best Presentation' and 'Best People’s Popular Award' by Dishes for Wishes – NJ, and 'Best of the Show' by Taste of South Jersey.

Thai L’ Elephant is located at 277 Schuylkill Rd (Rte. 23) in Phoenixville. It is in the heart of the thriving Kimberton Square (behind O'Grady's restaurant, across from Staples) and has plenty of parking. Experience the flavor and excitement of Thai-French Flair, enchanted by the Authentic Artificial Antique Wooden Thai Décor. Another goal of Thai L' Elephant is to adapt popular Thai dishes to American palates and modern lifestyle by combining influences from French and Southeast Asian cuisine. Chef Raethong has created innovative dishes based on both countries' traditions and his passion for world cuisine. You will find Thai L' Elephant enjoyable and exciting with spectacular presentation. Each dish is decorated and garnished of carved vegetable. Our diverse menu has something for everyone, from mild to hot, vegetarian or not.

Thai L' Elephant has long been considered a symbol of Thailand and revered in Thai society. At Thai L' Elephant Thai cuisine, we continue Thai tradition to treat our customers like royalty. We aim to please you by maintaining the service and quality of food you expect.

Lunch Special $7.95 – 3 courses, Mon-Fri 11:30am-3:00pm, Sat 12:00-3:00pm
Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5:00-9:00pm, Fri-Sat 5:00-9:00 pm, Sun 4:30-9:00pm

(610) 935-8613
www.thailelephant.com

Take-Out/ Catering/ BYOB/ smoke-free
All major credit cards accepted

Thai L' Elephant is proud to be part of your growing town!
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Thai L' Elephant's website has a full menu as well as a coupon for 20% off dinner if used before November 30th.

Based on the feedback I have already received, Thai L' Elephant definitely sounds like a place worth trying out. Best of luck to Jennie and Michael!


Interested in having your business profiled? Send me an email at tips@bridgeandmain.com.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Want to wish all of my readers a very happy Thanksgiving. If you are going to be in town tonight, don't forget to check out Bridge St. as the holiday lights are supposed to be turned on for the first time!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meeting regarding the future of the St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth scheduled for 12/18

On Tuesday, December 18th, a meeting will be held to discuss the future of the Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth located on Phoenixville's north side. The garden is currently run by St. John's United Church of Christ which leases the land from the Housing Authority of Chester County Board. On September 1, 2009, this lease expires, and the church is trying to save the garden by having the HACC either extend the lease for another 30 years or to have them sell the land under the agreement that it will continue to be used as it has been for the past sixteen years.

From an email I received regarding the meeting:
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Proposal
The Consistory of St. John’s United Church of Christ proposes that the Housing Authority of Chester County either extend the current lease to the long-term (30 years) for the water access and land on which St. John’s United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth has stood for the past 10 years or permit this land to be donated or purchased by the Borough or County as a recognized public park dedicated to community gardening, community integration, environmental awareness and local hunger relief as it has done so successfully for the past 10 years.

The current lease expires on September 1, 2009. Consistory believes that keeping this de facto public park as much-desired public open space and continuing our multi-award winning programs on this particular site of public land provides services to the Fairview Village tenants and the greater Phoenixville community that are too valuable to lose. The reasonable solution is for St. John’s United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth, as it is, where it is, to become a du jure, rather than de facto, public park

Sue White created the following YouTube video which highlights the community garden in August 2007 and illustrates many of the themes in this proposal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3z0ysB7NfY

The Next Step:
Tuesday, December 18, 4:30 pm, Housing Authority of Chester County Board Meeting, King Terrace Apartments, 300 High Street, Phoenixville, PA.

At this Board Meeting, during Public Participation, St. John’s United Church of Christ will formally present the attached proposal to the HACC Board and state why it believes that the lease for the community garden should be continued, rather than allowed to run out on September 1, 2009. Public Participation begins at 4:30 pm. Anyone from the public may address the Board during Public Participation – like Borough Council Meetings, you can speak for up to 5 minutes.

Questions about this Consistory action may be addressed to the Pastor, the Rev. Linda Gruber at 610-933-5311 or at gruber@stjohnsucc.com
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About The Gardens

The St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden was founded in 1991 in response to the denominational priorities of Hunger Relief and Integrity of Creation, Justice and Peace. Today, the St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden is the primary supplier of in-season, fresh produce to the food bank at Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS). Anyone in the Phoenixville area who wants to grow their own food organically can join the community garden. We ask only that gardeners use organic growing techniques and donate 10% (the Biblical tithe) to someone in need or to a local agency which works on behalf of others (Phoenixville Area Community Services ["PACS"], Philibundance, etc.)

There are no required fees to join St. John's Organic Community Garden -- only a desire and a willingness to grow one's own food organically and return to the community at least 10% of the produce. St. Johns United Church of Christ remains the largest in season provider of fresh produce for the food bank administered by the Phoenixville Area Community Services, located on Gay and Church Streets in Phoenixville.

For more information, please see the website that was setup by St. John's about the gardens and labyrinth.

Tyler James Pub opens its doors


On Sunday, Phoenixville's newest bar, The Tyler James Pub, opened its doors. Located at 210-212 Bridge Street (formerly occupied by Jester's Sports Bar), Tyler James offers 12 beers on tap as well as a full menu of pub fare. The pub has numerous TVs for sports viewing as well as a pool table, electronic dart boards, arcade games and a shuffleboard table.

Good luck to Steve Blair and his staff. Hopefully the reviews will be a bit more positive than the early ones another local establishment has garnered.

Source: The Phoenix

Tyler James Pub website

Thursday, November 15, 2007

La Crêperie Café Bis Opens

Yesterday, Phoenixville's newest cafe opened. La Crêperie Café Bis, located at the corner of Bridge and Gay Streets at the base of the Gay St. Bridge, opened its doors at 11am. As you can probably guess by its name, La Crêperie features both sweet and savory crêpes which, owner Marietou Fanny says, are made with only fresh ingredients. Fanny also owns a restaurant in Center City in Philadelphia called La Crêperie Café, which has been open for nine years.

La Crêperie is open seven days a week. Hours are Monday-Friday from 11am-10pm, Saturday 11am-11pm and Sunday from 10am-7pm.

Best of luck to Marietou and her staff!


Source: The Phoenix

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Public meeting to discuss future of Melchiorre Park scheduled for Nov. 29th

On Thursday, November 29th, the Borough is holding a 'brainstorming session' in which plans for Melchiorre Park will be discussed with its park planning consultants. The event will be held at the High School and will begin 7pm.

For those of you who do not know about Melchiorre Park (of which I am included, even though I apparently live across the street from it), it is a 23 acre park located south of High Street on the land between it and French Creek. It appears, based on the drawing on the Borough home page, to be the land that is next to Westridge Village and across the street from the new Northridge Village community.

As part of the meeting, the consultants will 'provide a brief background of the project and present a pre-final master plan for the park'.


Source: Phoenixville Borough Website

Monday, November 12, 2007

Relay for Life Kick Off Celebration Planned for Nov. 27th

On Tuesday, November 27th, the Relay For Life of Phoenixville will be holding a kick off celebration for the '08 event. The celebration will be held at the Phoenixville High School Cafeteria (1200 Gay St) and will begin at 6:30pm. This year's celebration will feature the following:


  • Meet this year's Co-Chairs and see the passing of the torch

  • Hear from this year's Honorary Survivor

  • Luminaria Ceremony: Celebrate the lives of those who have fought bravely, but have lost their battle

  • Musical selections by The High School's Select Choir & the Guitar Club

  • Spanish Immersion students will read poetry in both Spanish & English

  • Raffle

  • Fighting March & Line Dance by the High School Marching Band


Also, for those who are interested in being a part of the '08 Relay, banking & team registration tables will be open from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., and again after the ceremony.

This year's relay will be held on May 2 & 3, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. As in the past, it will be held at the Phoenixville Area School District’s Washington Field.

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About the Relay for Life


"Relay For Life® is a fun-filled overnight event designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer in your community. At the event, we celebrate survivorship and raise money to help the American Cancer Society in its mission to save lives, help those who have been touched by cancer, and empower individuals to fight back. During the event, teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

But, Relay is much more than a walk around a track. It is a time to remember those lost to cancer and celebrate those who have survived. It is a night for people who have shared the same experience to comfort and console one another. During this event, we honor survivors during the Survivors Lap and we remember those we lost to cancer during the Luminaria Ceremony. We also celebrate life, friendship, and a chance to work together toward a cancer-free future."
-- Relay For Life of Phoenixville

For more information, please see the school district's site at www.phoenixvillerelayforlife.org.

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Thanks to reader Karin for the email on this year's event!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Philadelphia Premium Outlets Open Today


Today marks the grand opening of the Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick. The ribbon cutting ceremony was to happen at 9am this morning. To celebrate, the outlets are planning a four day Grand Opening celebration featuring prizes, live entertainment, special in-store promotions and much more.

For more information on this weekend's activities, see this program from their website.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tis the Season

With the holiday's rapidly approaching, several local businesses are getting into the spirit by holding various events to raise money/collect items for those less fortunate.

On November 8th, Valley Forge Pizza will be donating part of their profits for the day to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). November is National Pancreatic Cancer Month and PanCAN is trying to raise funds for research into pancreatic cancer and patient support. If you are in the area, please consider stopping in for a very good cause.

On November 9th and 10th, Artisan’s Gallery and Cafe will be holding a 'Empty Bowls Campaign'. On these two days, you can buy a bowl of soup at Artisan's in a hand crafted bowl which is your's to keep. The price for the bowl of soup is $15 and all proceeds go to the following local charities: Phoenixville Area Community Services, Camphill Village of Kimberton Hills, and Community Gardens of Chester County. The idea is to help raise awareness on the issues of hunger and will help these three charities continue to do the great work they do. For more information visit Artisan’s at 236 Bridge Street, or call PACS at 610-933-1105 for information or to reserve a bowl.

Finally, several local businesses will be participating in Toys for Tots this year. They are: The Phoenix, 225 Bridge Street; Redner's Warehouse Markets, 202 Schuylkill Road; The UPS Store, 518 Kimberton Road; O'Grady’s Restaurant, 273 Schuylkill Road; Phoenixville Hospital, 140 Nutt Road; Phoenix Karate, 243 Bridge Street; Gateway Pharamacy, 165 Nutt Road; Amerikick Karate, 280 Schuylkill Road.
All of these businesses will have huge Toys For Tots boxes available for new toys to be dropped off for donation.


Source: The Phoenix - Valley Forge Pizza/PanCAN
Source: The Phoenix - Artisans Gallery and Cafe/Empty Bowl Campaign
Source: The Phoenix - Toys for Tots

Schuylkill Canal Association Annual Luminaria Planned For December 8th

On Saturday, December 8th, the Schuylkill Canal Association will be hosting its annual Luminaria from 6-9pm. In addition to having the canal lit up by approx. 1500 candles, the SCA will also be providing live music and refreshments.


Source: The Phoenix

Thursday, November 01, 2007

First Friday to feature Fire Eaters, Sword Swallowers, a Wine Tasting and much more!

Details for tomorrow's First Friday have been announced and it sounds pretty interesting. Starting with the downtown, the theme this month is a celebration of Halloween/Day of the Dead. The entertainment planned has been described by Barry Cassidy as "a little more edgy than the other First Friday fare but should bring a lot of excitement and energy to the street." Live music will be performed by Hydrogen Jukebox, and there will be all sorts of carnivalesque entertainers, from Fire Eaters to Sword Swallowers. And for those of you who missed out on trick or treating (or want another chance for free candy), several businesses along Bridge St. will be giving out candy to those dressed in costumes. Look for the orange pumpkin in their windows!

Elsewhere, a wine tasting is being held at Byrne Lofts from 5:30-8:30pm. The tasting is complimentary and is being hosted by noted wine expert, Phillip Silverstone.

Sources:
The Phoenix - First Friday to get more 'edgy'
The Phoenix - 'Wine-tertainer' shares wisdom

A warm Phoenixville welcome to Romantic Jewelers

On October 22nd, Romantic Jewelers opened shop at 241 Bridge St. The Phoenixville location is the third Romantic Jewelers, joining sister stores in Malvern and West Chester. The Phoenix reports

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She[owner Debbie Pekala] carries a wide array of fine jewelry, antique and vintage pieces, and handmade sterling pieces with precious and semi-precious stones. When customers walk in they will find a case to their right filled with jewelry they can buy if, in Pekala's words, "their pocket books are a little light." If they take a step further, however, they will find a collection of diamond necklaces and bracelets ranging from 14 to 18 karats as well as platinum.

Romantic Jewelers also carries rare hand-crafted rose-cut diamonds, which Pekala says very few other stores carry. Another display case is arranged solely with precious and semi-precious stones including amethyst, pink and yellow sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.

"They’re pretty things you don’t see everywhere," Pekala said.

Her collection continues with large lemon topaz stones, which greatly resemble diamonds, an estate collection of pre-owned jewelry, perfume, and "eggs" Pekala says make great gifts and are a more appealing alternative to traditional gift boxes in which to store jewelry.

Romantic Jewelers also offers full watch and jewelry repair. The store also offers custom-designed engagement rings and wedding bands, and this particular section seems to be one of Pekala’s favorite parts about the store.
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Romantic Jewelers will be having their ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday night during the First Friday festivities.

Good luck to Debbie and her staff!

Source: The Phoenix