Discussing the Future of Chester County with Students

The future leaders of Chester County have some items on their wish lists when it comes to features they are looking for in their communities. In particular, they are hoping for affordable housing options in Chester County along with more sidewalks.

That was the message that about 60 West Chester University (WCU) students delivered during a Chester County 2020 forum on March 1. The majority of students who attended the forum were pursuing degrees in public administration and geography. The meeting took place at the new College of Business and Public Management Center on WCU’s campus. 

“The purpose of the meeting was to gather input on the future of the county from future leaders of the county,” said Bill Deguffroy, a transportation planner at the Chester County Planning Commission.

Bill attended the meeting with Heather Martin, who is another transportation planner at the Planning Commission. They discussed accomplishments of Landscapes and Landscapes2, the two initial versions of the county’s comprehensive policy plan. They also described Landscapes3, which will be the next update to the comprehensive plan, and how the Planning Commission is gathering input from various stakeholders, partner agencies and residents throughout the process.

“A lot of (the students’) input was that sidewalks are really important in Chester County, but people also want affordable housing and a variety of affordable housing choices,” Bill said.

Heather made similar observations about the meeting.

“During the open forum section of the meeting, the biggest discussions revolved around affordable housing,” she said. “The majority of them (the students) want to live in single-family homes.”

Other major topics included walkability and public transportation.

“The students were engaged and had some interesting ideas on solutions – not just problems – so that was hopeful,” Heather said.