What's happening in and around Phoenixville, PA.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

First Fourth Music Series

Note, this is for the 2008 July 4th Celebration, click here for the 2009 schedule

July 4th promises to be an activity packed one as we are faced with a sort of perfect storm of events. Not only are fireworks once again planned, we also have First Friday and the Summer Street Music Series. Because of this, this year the fireworks will be held downtown to coincide with the rest of the events.

The Alexandra Day Band kicks things off at 2pm with a concert at the corner of Bridge and Main. Following them at 3pm will be Telleri Band and at 4 the Michael Packer Blues Band takes the stage. Finally, headlining the day is Craig Newell's Evening with Elvis.

All of this will be accompanied by the usual First Friday festivities. The evening will end with a firework celebration scheduled to begin around 9:30.

And for those of you who missed the fireworks last year because of the weather, the early report is for a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms, which is pretty much par for the course this time of year.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Things To Do This Weekend

As promised a while back (and not followed through on), here is an overview of things going on around town this weekend:

Molly Maguire's Summer Street Music Series - 6-9pm. Headliner this week is Beatnik Brown who takes the stage at 7:30. From their website, Beatnik Brown is described as "Philly Improvisational Rock with a side of Funk. Always out to make it new, this is a jam band that actually jams!".

Phoenixville Farmers Market - 9am-1pm

Canal Day 2008 - 9am-4pm Lock 60 on the Schuylkill Canal and Saint Michael's Park, Mont Clare, PA. Annual Canal Day celebration featuring "5.5 mile Trail Run & 2 mile Loop Walk; Paddle Boat & Canoe/Kayak Races; 3 Lock Openings with audience participation; K-9 Rescue Demo; Always Exciting CANAL JOUST; Back by popular demand CANAL VAULTING!; Fishing Derby; Highland Games; Face Painting; Kids Games and Arts & Crafts; Orbitron and Trampoline Thing; Business Expo with lots of give-aways! Flea Market and crafters at St. Michael’s Park; Lots of Food and Lots of FUN!

Coming Soon, The Fenix

For those of you who have been looking for a more upscale drinking experience, you may soon have your wish. Coming later this summer will be The Fenix, "Phoenixville's Only Martini & Whiskey Bar". The Fenix is owned by the same people who run Molly Maguire's and will be located right next door, at 193 Bridge Street.

There is a website setup at thefenixbar.com but there isn't a whole lot there just yet.

Update 7/6: Reader Pete L. was able to confirm that the Molly Maguire folks are planning to open the Fenix at the end of August. Thanks Pete!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

101 Bridge to Open Tomorrow

Received a phone call from my sister (who happens to be moving into Phoenixville on Saturday) who said there is a sign in front of the new 101 Bridge Restaurant saying that it will be opening tomorrow(6/25). It appears they are having a private opening tonight. If anyone here attended tonight or plans to attend over the next couple of days, please write in with your thoughts on Phoenixville's newest restaurant.

Editor Note 6/25: This has been confirmed by a couple of the commenters.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Help Me Help a Great Cause

On Saturday, September 27th, I will be participating in the 28th Annual Bike MS: City to Shore Ride. I will be participating in the 75-mile ride and my goal is to raise at least $250$400. Obviously, the more the better! :) If you wish to make a donation, please visit the site the National MS Society has setup for me at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/JimNorthcott.

For those of you unfamiliar with Bike MS, here is a brief overview:

Every hour of every day, another American is diagnosed with MS -- we need to take action now to help the growing number of people affected by this disease. I will be riding in Bike MS: City to Shore 2008 to help the 11,000 local people living with this devastating disease.

Today, there is no cure for MS, but we're fighting to change that. This is why I am writing to you: I need your help and support.

This year, I've set a personal goal of raising $250$400 and I'm asking you to make a contribution. Simply, click on this link to visit my personal page to make your donation.

You will be pleased to know that the National MS Society is the leading provider of programs for people with MS and their families. The Society also invests more money into MS research than any national voluntary health organization in the world. This is why I'm asking for your support.

Each one of us can help create a World Free of MS. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Donate. Participate. Join the Movement.

Warmest Regards,

P.S. If you would like more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, how proceeds from the Bike MS are used, or the other ways you can get involved in the fight against MS, please visit nationalmssociety.org.

Thanks in advance!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Phoenixville Federal Trust Sponsoring Summer Concerts at Reeves Park

On select Sunday evenings's throughout the summer, Phoenixville Federal Trust will be sponsoring free concerts at Reeves Park. The concerts, which start at 7pm, kick off this Sunday with the Ringgold Band performing "a medley of show tunes, overtures, and marches."

For more information, please see the Phoenixville Federal Trust Summer Music Festival website.

Source: The Phoenix

More Info on the Baseball Stadium Proposal

Over the past week, a number of articles and a podcast have come out regarding the proposal to bring a minor league baseball stadium to Phoenixville. In Sunday's Inquirer, a brief overview of the timeline for a decision was presented.

The group seeking to build a minor-league baseball stadium in Chester County is writing the criteria to evaluate the 11 sites that have been nominated.

"We hope to have site visits and evaluations completed by the end of summer," said Tom McIntyre of the Chester County Development Council and a member of the Chester County Stadium Project Task Force, which now has 30 members.

Members of the task force's 12-person steering committee are putting together the evaluation criteria. The committee is scheduled to meet later this month with the full task force slated to hold its next meeting July 23.

"We're a volunteer group so there's been no hard schedule," McIntyre said. "We'd like to visit the sites, either impromptu or scheduled. Some of the owners [of nominated sites] have even offered to show us around."

Read More!

The Phoenix followed up a couple of days later with a little more information about what was in the proposal that Councilman Handwerk and his committee put together. In it they highlighted Phoenixville's ties to professional baseball with the likes of Mike Piazza and Andre Thornton growing up here, the fact that we can leverage the stadium with the vibrant downtown scene, and the fact that, with the steel site, we have more than enough land to support the stadium.

Skip Lawrence also did a sit down interview with Councilman Handwerk to discuss the proposal which has been podcast on PhoenixvilleNews.com.

Finally, a reader Bashar M., wrote me last week and asked that I post the following editorial on why he feels bringing baseball to Phoenixville would be a great boon to the community.

Like my father before me, I am a salesman by trade. Normally people shrink away when they hear my profession, thinking of a greasy used-car salesman. I get the look of recognition and then a quick shift to a different conversation topic (as if I am about to sell them something). But truthfully I look at sales differently than most people do. I believe that a sale is the transfer of excitement from one person to another. If the new person is actually excited about something, then I have done my job, sale or no sale.
Now if you agree with what my definition of sales is, then I have been selling something for about the past month. Its not even mine to sell. It might not even be a reality, and I can’t really say that I love the category that it falls under. But, I cant help selling it nonetheless. Baseball, that’s right, I am a 26 year old, American man, that doesn’t LOVE baseball; but I can’t help but get jubilant whenever I hear of the possibility of a baseball team coming to Phoenixville.
As I just said, I am 26 years old, married, and looking to start a family in Phoenixville. My wife, Lacy, and I live in the new French Creek Town home community overlooking the old steel mill site. I have heard talk about train tracks, office buildings, parking decks, etc, being put behind my house. But when I first heard about a possible baseball team in my backyard I told everyone that I possibly could and I started to find out as much information on the opportunity as possible.
My wife and I are from North Carolina, we moved here because of work and this is the first house that we have owned. Because of this, I am very interested in seeing Phoenixville continue to grow, prosper, and improve upon the qualities that attracted us initially. I have spoken with people that don’t like the growth / renaissance that Phoenixville is going through and I always hear the same thing, “People are trying to make Phoenixville into Manayunk...that can never happen” etc. I agree, and honestly, I hope that Phoenixville never becomes Manayunk. Manayunk is a great place to hang out, possibly live, if you are single, or recently out of college. But Phoenixville stands out, to me, for being a great place for young families to start their life and enjoy a thriving downtown experience with the least amount of hassle that comes with a younger and rowdier crowd.
To this point I have spoken only about Phoenixville in general, but what can a baseball team bring into this equation? Now as I said before, I am not a big baseball fan. I can watch and understand a game, but I don’ t even know what all the abbreviations on a stat sheet stand for. What I do know, and what I do like, is the sporting experience. Honestly, what is better than going somewhere with your family for the afternoon that is affordable, entertaining, and keeps everybody happy for an extended amount of time? Multiply that with a close location (walking distance for some), food, beverage, and 4-5 thousand equally enthralled people and most people will have attained some sort of euphoria.
From what I have seen, and I have only been in the area for a little less than 2 years, Phoenixville has a great community spirit. Downtown Phoenixville on a Friday night is a great experience for anybody that comes. We have a great amount of mass appeal with the stores, restaurants, and performing locations. My wife and I never miss a chance to walk around for the evening on a First Friday. In my opinion Phoenixville has proven that it is a great community that will not only embrace the arrival of a baseball team, but enjoy and partake in a team’s presence to the utmost of our ability.
I am sure that many people are aware that Phoenixville was named one of the top 100 places to relocate. Again, my wife and I are a prime example of that, moving here from North Carolina. Being from North Carolina I have had the opportunity to see, first hand, what an opportunity such as this can do for a community. Any baseball fan that was alive in the late 80’s no doubt remembers the movie Bull Durham, with Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins. That movie was actually based on the Durham, N.C. minor league baseball team The Durham Bulls.
The Durham Bulls have been around since the early 1900’s. In 1994 the Durham Bull’s stadium was rebuilt and located right around downtown Durham. The growth to the immediate surrounding areas was astounding. Within a couple of years The American Tobacco Building, an old warehouse next to the stadium, was remodeled with office buildings, restaurants, condominiums, and parking decks. All the business spaces were sold and the restaurants are frequented, not only by local workers, but by families about to attend a game.
It is my understanding that the baseball stadium only needs 15-16 acres of land to be constructed. It is also my understanding that the old steel sight has over 125 acres of land that can be utilized for whatever reasons. As long as it is done correctly there is no reason why that land cannot be fully utilized, for the benefit of Phoenixville, in conjunction with the construction of a new stadium
I do not have to tell anybody that there are pros and cons to every situation. Also, let me be the first to say that I know nothing about funding, zoning, architecture, construction, and all the other pieces of the puzzle that must be put together to build a new stadium. I cannot help but notice the huge amount of pros for constructing a baseball stadium in downtown Phoenixville. Parking, additional retail locations, increased consumer traffic, and regularly scheduled sporting events all greatly outweigh what I can see as being the cons of bringing a team here. As I stated earlier, I live in the town home community that overlooks the proposed location for the stadium. Now, whenever I look at that field I cannot help but imagine a new stadium, season tickets, and watching a game with my wife and a cold beer.
I don’t like baseball that much; hockey is my sport of preference. But I, along with most of the people I have spoken with in my area, have already pledged to get season tickets if the team comes to our town. It’s not just the thought of watching a baseball game that excites me, but what a baseball team could do for our quality of life. Now just imagine if this had been written by a baseball fanatic.

Bashar Massarani

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Canal Day 2008 Being Held Sunday, June 29th

On Sunday, June 29th the Schuylkill Canal Association will be hosting Canal Day 2008. The annual event, held at Lock 60 on the Schuylkill Canal and Saint Michael's Park, features live music and entertainment for the entire family. The event kicks off at 9am and goes until 4pm. Tickets are $3 and children 12 and under get in for free.

For more information, see the Schuylkill Canal Association's Canal Day 2008 webpage.

This Morning's Chamber Breakfast

Unfortunately I was unable to attend this morning's Chamber breakfast. It seemed there were a number of things set to be discussed and I am hoping one (or more) of you were in attendance and could provide some commentary. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hipster Home Moving to Bridge Street

Hipster Home, My Fox Philly's Hottest Housewares Store 2007 Award Winner, will have a new home come July 1st.

Says owner David Friday:
On July 1st we will be moving our store to a new location at 237 Bridge Street just beneath Wolfgang Books. This new space will give us the space we need to expand into new products, more furniture, and more accessible shopping.

Our goal is to become a strong regional urban store for contemporary home furnishings. We are making strides to become a strong source for designers and architects needing contemporary furnishings to outfit their jobs with quality pieces. We have supplied a large investment firm on the main line with furnishings for their entry and waiting room and are now in negotiations with designers for a W Hotel being developed in Boston. The point is we are moving in the right direction and hope to continue this forward movement and reach beyond our goals.

The store will not change much in our new location, initially, but soon after we are planning on expanding our product lines into more furniture, housewares, kitchenwares and contemporary home audio systems.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call or stop by the store (610-917-0121).

Best of luck to David and co. at their new location!

Friday, June 06, 2008

AOH Irish Festival this Weekend

By now you have surely seen the signs up around town. This weekend, over in Mont Clare, the AOH Notre Dame Division 1 will be hosting their annual Irish Festival. The event kicks off tonight with a free concert from 6:30-9:30. The festival continues throughout the weekend with gates opening at 9:30am. Food, vendors and plenty of live music will be featured each day. All proceeds go to AOH Charities.

The festival is being held at the picnic grounds of St. Michael's Church. Tickets are $5/day in advance or $6/day at the door and children under 12 get in for free.

For more information, including a complete schedule of performances and directions, see the website the AOH has setup for the festival.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

PASD Raising School Taxes 5.91%

The Phoenixville Area School District just released their budget for the 2008-2009 school year and it isn't pretty. It calls for an increase of 5.91% which equates to $1.44 for everything thousand dollars your home is assessed for. That means the average home owner (whose home is assessed at $116k), will see a $169 increase in their school tax bill for the upcoming year.

The good news is that approved Homestead/Farmstead property owners will be receiving ~ $164 from the state thanks to gaming revenues to help offset this increase.

Source: The Phoenix

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bridge Street Tasting Series Kicks Off on Thursday

The Bridge Street Tasting Series, the brain child of blogger Dr. Joel (see his blog at grainbill.blogspot.com), kicks off on Thursday evening at EarthMart.

From the EarthMart website:
Here At Earth Mart!
Cost: $3.00
Earth Mart
235 Bridge Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460
at 610-935-1793

There are more than 50 producers of organic beer in the United States, come taste two of the best.

Featuring several beers from:

Peak Organic Brewing Company (Portland, ME)
Wolaver’s Organic Ales (Middlebury, VT)

A $3 suggested donation, try as many beers as you please

Hosted by: The Grain Bill

For more information, see the post on The Grain Bill

O’Grady’s Holding Fundraiser to Help Local Cancer Patient

Tomorrow, June 3rd, O'Grady's Family Restaurant (1009 Schuylkill Rd) will be holding a fundraiser for Lara Phillips, an 18 year-old senior at Phoenixville Area High Shool. Phillips was diagnosed with Stage IV Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a fast growing malignant cancer, in January. To help the Phillips' family, O'Grady's will be donating a percentage of all sales tomorrow as well as holding raffles for a number of different items. Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

For more info, call 610-933-9335 or see the article in today's Phoenix.