Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan


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The Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan was developed over a period of 5 months to tackle urban challenges in Coatesville, PA. The plan was created by students in the Master of City Planning program at University of Pennsylvania.

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Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan

  2. 2. 2 Introduction CUSP EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Forty-five miles west of Philadelphia, in a picturesque valley once considered the agricultural and industrial powerhouse of Chester County, live over 13,000 residents divided into four neighborhoods who are transforming a declining city into a growing, vibrant place. Cusp : noun ˈkəsp: a point of transition (as from one historical period to the next): turning point; also: edge, verge (as, on the verge of success) Coatesville is at a crossroads in its trajectory. The city’s rich historical past has become obsolete or irrelevant in the context of current quality of life concerns. Yet the many projects and partnerships now unfolding in the city prove that residents are actively working to create a sense of community and a public realm that is diverse and dynamic. These initiatives could be strengthened with the support of the city government. The municipality continues to struggle with raising enough revenue to meet the needs of residents, and is increasingly disconnected from its constituents’ concerns. With many divisions of class, race, income, educational attainment, and interests, Coatesville is on the cusp of either becoming another dying Rust Belt city or reinventing itself as the cultural and economic center of Chester County. This plan was born in collaboration, the product of focused and critical thinking about the interests and concerns of all stakeholders who want to see a better Coatesville. By studying the city’s demographic and socioeconomic conditions, completing scenario planning, establishing goals, researching precedents and best practices, and presenting strategic actions, the Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan—or CUSP—represents one vision for the city. This plan acknowledges challenges that the city and its residents face, and proposes concrete solutions for overcoming them. This plan is divided into seven chapters: Context & History, Existing Conditions, SDOC Analysis, Goals & Objectives, Strategic Actions, Implementation, and an Appendix containing scenarios and sources. The plan identities specific actions and names the persons and organizations that, if they support this vision, can follow through with the implementation steps. This is a living document, and the city should revisit and update if often to regularly ensure that the goals and priorities listed here continue to match the interests of Coatesville’s residents. Coatesville exists on the cusp—a rare moment in its history. This document is intended to act as a vehicle and forum to help the city’s residents define what a successful Coatesville looks like and to pursue it.
  3. 3. 3Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan The planning team produced this plan in fulfillment of the requirements of the CPLN 600 Planmaking Workshop course at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design in Spring 2014. The team did not consult with Coatesville’s elected leaders, city staff, or residents to create this plan. The authors would like to thank our instructor, Danae Mobley, for her continued guidance and encouragement. Context & History 04 12 32 38 44 86 90 Existing Conditions SDOC Analysis Goals & Objectives Strategic Actions Implementation Appendix CONTENTS
  4. 4. 4 Chapter 1 : Context & History
  5. 5. CONTEXT & HISTORY Coatesville has experienced an era of decline and disinvestment similar to that of many American industrial towns. Yet this betrays a prosperous history dating to the 1700s. Beginning as a rural village, Coatesville grew into a dense industrial city and reached peak population in the 1930s. Much of the city’s development is connected to the Lukens Steel Company, once the largest employer in Chester County. Formerly the midway stop on the route to Lancaster, Coatesville has been bypassed by the postwar spread of metropolitan Philadelphia. The twenty-first century presents new opportunities for this sturdily- constructed city with a dense street grid. Investment in Coatesville’s Amtrak station will provide momentum for stabilization and revitalization. This is the time for Coatesville to reinvest, reconnect, and reactivate.
  6. 6. 6 Chapter 1 : Context & History Source: Chester County 2009 Figure 1-1. IN THE LIVABLE LANDSCAPES MAP, CHESTER COUNTY IDENTIFIES COATESVILLE AS ONE OF SEVERAL URBAN AREAS (RED). THE CITY IS SURROUNDED BY THE SUBURBAN LANDSCAPE (TAN), INTERSPERSED WITH SEVERAL SUBURBAN CENTERS (TEAL).REGIONAL CONTEXT A Multi-modal Suburban Corridor Coatesville has the distinction of being Chester County’s only incorporated city. The city’s location along the Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30) and the Amtrak Keystone Service makesitrelativelywell-connectedtoPhiladelphia, Lancaster, and Harrisburg. However, Coatesville’s location has also made it vulnerable to sprawling development patterns. Coatesville finds itself increasingly surrounded by edgeless development spreading westward from metropolitan Philadelphia. The areas around the city are characterized by large-lot single family residential subdivisions and cul- de-sacs. A number of places between Coatesville and Philadelphia, such as the boroughs of Downingtown and Malvern, as well as Census-Designated Places (CDP) Exton, Paoli, and Thorndale, have become suburban centers of commercial activity. Exton, for example, is a veritable “edge city,” complete with a highway interchange and shopping mall. These development patterns have significantly impacted Coatesville. Roughly six miles to the west of downtown, a Walmart-anchored strip mall has developed, and there is another big-box commercial retail strip four miles to the east. A new hotel sits at the city’s northern reach, near an exit on the Coatesville-Downingtown Bypass, and the city has assembled the surrounding land in hopes of creating an office park. Coatesville’s residents do not seem to receive much benefit from the city’s connections to Philadelphia and Lancaster. According to the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimate, 84.6% of Coatesville’s workers commute to locations within Chester County. While Keystone Service ridership grew by 3.2% between 2012 and 2013, and a number of stations posted records in 2013 (e.g. 578,731 in Lancaster), only 16,626 persons passed through Coatesville’s station (Amtrak 2013). SEPTA regional rail service does not extend to Coatesville: the closest station is in Thorndale, three miles to the east. The city also has also not captured regional employment growth. While the city of Coatesville has the highest population of the six nodes along the corridor between Lancaster and Philadelphia, it has only the third most jobs. Recent employment trends show that Coatesville’s residents are increasingly employed in educational and social services, or “eds and meds.” However, as the city itself has few such institutions, this means that these persons are working elsewhere in Chester County (such as the nearby VA Medical Center, Immaculata University in Exton, or the Main Line HealthcampusinPaoli)orperhapsasfarafieldasLancaster’s General Hospital and Franklin & Marshall College. Chester County’s Comprehensive Policy Plan expects continued suburban growth throughout the county. According to this plan, Coatesville will continued to be surrounded by the “suburban landscape” abong the Lincoln Highway,pepperedwithseveral“suburbancenters”(Chester County 2009, See Figure 1). While the plan hopes that these areas will “incorporate Smart Growth principles to replace sprawling development” (Chester County 2009, 30), there seems little indication that the county’s rural and suburban development patterns will change dramatically. Nearly 88% of Coatesville’s workers commute to locations outside the city.
  7. 7. 7Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan COATESVILLE PHILADELPHIA 44 miles (50-75 min.) LANCASTER 30 miles (25-45 min.) 30 PARKESBURG DOWNINGTOWN EXTON PAOLI ARDMORE Coatesville is one of six nodes along the U.S. Route 30/Amtrak Keystone corridor between Lancaster and Philadelphia. While Coatesville has the largest population of these places, it has only the third most jobs and, by a large margin, the lowest Amtrak ridership. Amtrak Ridership (2013) Source: Amtrak Coatesville: 16,626 Ardmore: 67,942 Downingtown: 68,918 Paoli: 175,299 Exton: 113,499 Parkesburg: 55,290 Employment (2011) Source: U.S. Census Bureau Coatesville: 10,385 Ardmore: 5,082 Downingtown: 12,300 Paoli: 7,155 Exton: 28,033 Parkesburg: 2,100 Population (2010) Source: U.S. Census Bureau Coatesville: 13,100 Ardmore: 12,455 Downingtown: 7,891 Paoli: 5,575 Exton: 4,842 Parkesburg: 3,593
  8. 8. 8 Chapter 1 : Context & History HISTORY Figure 1-2. THE BRANDYWINE IRON WORKS AND NAIL FACTORY Figure 1-3. SEAL OF THE CITY OF COATESVILLE 1810 Pennock purchased 110.5 acres of Coates’ farm along the Brandywine Creek and converted its sawmill into the Brandywine Iron Works and Nail Factory, which exported products nationally. At this time, the area was known as “Coates’ Villa.” 1834 The Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad established a station on the west side of the Brandywine. Because of its location at the halfway point between the two terminals, the station was designated as “Midway.” 1865 The Coatesville train station was built at 3rd Avenue and Fleetwood Street. In 1867, the villages of Coatesville and Midway joined to form the Borough of Coatesville. 1911 Zachariah Walker, a black man accused of killing a white mill policeman, was dragged from a hospital and burned to death in front of hundreds of Coatesville citizens. The lynching—the last in Pennsylvania—stained the city’s reputation and prompted the NAACP to call for an end to lynching nationwide. 1915 A majority vote of Coatesville’s citizens made it the first and only incorporated city in Chester County. 1932 By 1900, the population was 6,000. The school system and religious community also expanded: in 1932 Coatesville was home to 22 churches and Chester County’s only synagogue. 1945 After World War II, the steel industry began a long decline and Lukens Steel was sold for the first of many times, forcing workplace reductions to 5,000 and eventually to 2,000. 1714 The first settlement in this spot along the Brandywine Creek was an Indian village, which became a market for fur trapping. Records indicate land holdings as early as 1714 by William Fleming, a native of Scotland. 1787 Moses Coates, a prosperous farmer and the area’s first postmaster, purchased land which now comprises the city’s center. Meanwhile, a few miles south, Isaac Pennock formulated plans for his Federal Slitting Mill. The mill was operating by 1793 and furnished much-needed iron products for the growing region. 1794 Rural life in the valley changed with the construction of the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, now U.S. Route 30. It was America’s first privately-funded, paved road. A rich past divergent from the present Source: Greystone Society Source: City of Coatesville
  9. 9. 9Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Figure 1-4. A RECENTLY-PAINTED COMMUNITY MURAL Figure 1-5. A STRING OF ARSONS DESTROYED DOZENS OF HOMES Figure 1-6. A VISION FOR RAIL IN PENNSYLVANIA 1980s Coatesville began an ambitious redevelopment project, which included tearing down abandoned public housing structures and building new single-family and townhouse developments, a regional recreation center, and a mixed-use project that would include retail, office, and condominiums. 1997 SEPTA discontinued regional rail service to Coatesville. 2005 Controversy around the city’s redevelopment plans, which included eminent domain in a neighboring township, led to the ousting of four incumbent city councilpersons in November 2005. 2007-2009 A fire on the 300 block of Fleetwood Street burned 17 rowhomes, causing $2 million in damage and leaving dozens homeless. By March 2009, police had arrested six suspects, buthavesolvedonly20ofthenearly70arsonsthatoccurred in a two-year span. 2009 The city began a HOPE VI funded Revitalization Plan. The first project involved 47 rental units. Downtown Revival, the second phase, featured 22 apartments over six downtown commercial spaces. The final phase consisted of 84 new, detached, for-sale homes on the former Oak Street public housing site. 2010 Ten steel columns, forged by Lukens Steel in 1969, were returned from the World Trade Center in New York City, having survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The columns are slated to be the centerpieces of a proposed National Iron and Steel Heritage museum. 2011 Federal and state agencies committed $20 million in funding to build a new Amtrak station as part of a larger effort by PennDOT to improve service along the Keystone corridor. Chester County committed over $700,000 in 2013. 2012 A new Marriott hotel was built along Route 82 on the outskirts of Coatesville. The project received more than $10 million in state funding, $5 million in county funds, and $2.4 million in financing from the city and school district. The hotel is the first phase in a private developer’s overall project, which is expected to include an 80,000 square- foot office building and a restaurant. In total, the campus is expected to bring 330 jobs to the city. 2013 Residents ousted a school board member after learning about racist and sexist test message exchanges between the resigned superintendent and athletic director. The scandal led to public outcry over personnel management in the school district. Source: Coatesville Times, November 15, 2013 Source: Coatesville Times, November 15, 2013 Source: Plan the Keystone, 2012
  10. 10. 10 Chapter 1 : Context & History Recent Uncoordinated Initiatives PAST & PRESENT PLANS Figure 1-7. TOWER INVESTMENTS’ PLAN FOR THE FLATS Figure 1-8. THE LANDSCAPES 2 PLAN Coatesville has not updated its comprehensive plan since 1986. However, the city has been affected by a number of recent public and private planning initiatives. These include the Chester County Comprehensive Policy Plan, a proposal for a national velodrome facility, the Department of Justice’s Weed and Seed Program, a privately-led mixed- used redevelopment proposal, and the Amtrak-led train station renovation and transit-oriented development. While this document does not specifically endorse these efforts or adopt any of their recommendations, these initiatives informed the analysis of Coatesville’s present conditions and the challenges the city faces. Chester County Comprehensive Policy Plan (2009) Coatesville is the only incorporated city in the wealthiest county in the state of Pennsylvania. Under Chester County’s principle goals of creating livable and sustainable development patterns, protecting the environment, maintaining a diverse economy, supporting an efficient multi-modal transportation system, and enhancing the quality of life for all residents, the county’s comprehensive policy plan specifically promotes smart growth, innovative design practices, and recycling of brownfield sites for urban areas such as Coatesville. Both growth management and resource protection are priorities for the county. A majority of the county remains rural, yet the planning commission expects continued suburban growth (Chester County 2009). Chester County asserts that greenfield development will be balanced with retrofitted commercial and industrial development, made possible through public and private partnerships. The plan points out that regulatory flexibility within local jurisdictions will promote business attraction and development, supported by strategic investment of the Chester County workforce investment board (Chester County 2009). The county hopes to connect jobs, workforce housing and education. As part of a designated growth area, Coatesville’s historic street grid and mixed-use character make it well-positioned to benefit from Chester County’s vision. Tower Investments (2003) In 2003, Coatesville gave Tower Investments, owned by Philadelphia-based developer Bart Blatstein, exclusive rights to develop a 25-acre site along Route 82 and Lincoln Highway known as the Flats (Lowe 2006). Originally owned by Lukens Steel, the site is one of the largest cleared and consolidated parcels in the city. It is ripe for development, and forms the downtown core of the city’s long-planned $600 million revitalization efforts (Lowe 2006). Blatstein partnered with Erdy McHenry Architects to propose a development with 750 apartments, 550,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and 40,000 square feet of entertainment facilities, phased over 10 to 15 years. However, Blatstein failed to produce a comprehensive plan. Residents generally disapproved of the project, voicing their fear of Coatesville becoming “the next Manayunk,” far from the family-oriented and working class culture that defines the city. The Coatesville Redevelopment Authority and Tower Investments never came to an agreement, and Blatstein’s exclusive development rights have expired (Lowe 2006). The Flats remains a vacant site. Source: Erdy McHenry Architecture Source: Chester County Planning Commission
  11. 11. 11Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Figure 1-9. THE COATESVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT Figure 1-10. A PERSPECTIVE OF THE NATIONAL VELODROME CENTER Figure 1-11. THE CURRENT COATESVILLE AMTRAK STATION Weed & Seed Coatesville (2010) Crime is a particularly acute challenge for Coatesville. In 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ) provided a grant to Coatesville to implement a national crime-prevention program known as “Weed and Seed”. The four strategic aims of the program are community policing; law enforcement; neighborhood restoration; and promotion of crime prevention, intervention and treatment (City of Coatesville 2010). The Weed and Seed program empowers urban communities with tough crime problems to lead revitalization efforts based upon the authority designated by the community’s council. In Coatesville, the Police Department has partnered with social and religious organizations to develop award-winning interventions, such as the Coatesville Youth Initiative (CYI) and Coatesville PAL. These programs serve over 700 children and teenagers in the city through leadership in the CYI Game Changers and enhanced mentoring through PAL Badges for Baseball (City of Coatesville 2010). Additionally, evidence-based adult and family mentoring initiatives have been implemented with Weed and Seed Funding (City of Coatesville 2010). None of these interventions existed as recently in 2009, and the city plans to expand them in 2014. National Velodrome and Events Center (2013) In late 2013, the Velodrome Management Group released a feasibility study for a new indoor cycling track on a site adjacent to the steel mill, between Lincoln Highway and the High Bridge. Although the velodrome and a comprehensive cycling program will anchor the facility, the building is designed for multiple uses, including concerts, other sporting events, and community activities. If the facility is constructed, it will be the only indoor velodrome on the East Coast, and is therefore projected to give Coatesville, Chester County, and the Philadelphia area a unique and visionary economic asset (Conventions, Sports and Leisure 2013) The feasibility study, which included case studies of comparable velodromes and reviews of cycling participation and industry trends, showed that the necessary $27.5 million in financing will need to come from sources such as developer equity, fundraising, grants, and economic development funds (Conventions, Sports and Leisure 2013). Developers expect the velodrome to create nearly 100 new full- and part-time jobs in Coatesville and believe that $25 to $35 million will be pumped into the local economy by some 50,000 annual out of town visitors each year. However, the study also demonstrated that even with non-cycling events and retail space revenue, the facility would not be able to pay for its debt service and real estate taxes or establish a capital reserve, and would largely rely on city subsidies. Amtrak’s Promise (2010-present) While the Coatesville Amtrak station receives little traffic, it rests roughly halfway between Philadelphia and Lancaster on the Keystone Service. The station has therefore received much attention as a possible catalyst for redevelopment. In 2003, Coatesville completed a train station parking and improvements study. This study explored the feasibility of a three-level parking facility, along with other aesthetic, structural, and accessibility improvements. None of these improvements were made, however. Other studies have been conducted over the years, but none have progressed past the planning phase. Currently, Amtrak is leading the effort to implement a station revitalization plan. The plan’s overall purposes include streetscapebeautification,connectionstomultimodaltransit, and privately-driven investment in the neighboring blocks. After federal and state agencies committed $20 million to station reconstruction, Chester County committed $700,000 for community development and leveraged additional public and private funding (Plan the Keystone 2012). The “Plan the Keystone” team worked with Coatesville and Chester County to assess existing conditions around the station and led a series of meetings with community stakeholders in July 2010 and a four-day community design charrette in August 2010 (Plan the Keystone 2012). The train station relocation project obtained federal environmental clearance in March 2012, and the Coatesville Redevelopment Authority has cleared the surrounding blocks through eminent domain. In the intervening years, Amtrak has not published next steps or a detailed design for the site. Source: City of Coatesville Source: City of Coatesville Redevelopment Authority
  12. 12. 12 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions
  13. 13. 13Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan EXISTING CONDITIONS Dramatic growth in Chester County has made it the wealthiestinthestateofPennsylvania,yetCoatesville— the county’s only city—has not shared in this prosperity. Coatesville’s 13,000 residents are sharply divided along racial and socioeconomic lines, and they struggle with rising unemployment, income inequality, and educational disparity. The historical housing stock does not meet residents’ needs. Recent challenges with crime have engendered public perceptions that mask the community’s vibrant culture. At the same time, Coatesville is blessed with a number of assets. Its downtown is a National Landmark Historic District, and many employment sectors have grown since 2000. Coatesville’s resilient residents remain the city’s greatest strength, and the city has the opportunity to channel their power.
  14. 14. 14 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions Population, Age, and Race DEMOGRAPHICS 2 % 4 % 6 % 8 % 10 % 12 % 14 % 16 % 18 % 25-345-90-4 35-4410-14 45-5415-17 55-6418-24 65-74 75-84 85+ Coatesville Chester County Pennsylvania Coatesville has higher proportions of residents younger than 35. Coatesville has lower proportions of residents older than 35. + 40% + 26% + 16%+ 26% + 16% African American + 26% African American + 40% White + 26% White 47%43% White African American Source: US Census Bureau, ACS 2008-2012 16% of Coatesville’s residents are between 25 and 34 years old. Coatesville’s current residents have much different needs than those of its industrial past. The city’s population has steadilyincreasedinrecentyears,growingfrom10,838inthe 2000 Census to 13,100 in the 2010 Census. The population is organized into slightly more than 4,500 households, yielding an average household size of approximately 2.9 persons. The city’s residents are rather young compared to those of Chester County and Pennsylvania (See Figure 2-1). Whereas the greatest proportion of persons in the county and state are 45 to 54 years old, the largest age cohort in Coatesville is 25 to 34 years old. Coatesville has comparatively higher proportions of residents below the age of 35, and comparatively lower proportions of residents above the age of 35. According to the 2012 American Community Survey 5-year estimate, Coatesville has maintained an equal proportion of women and men as its population has grown. Coatesville is rather spatially segregated. About 90 percent of the total population identifies as either African American or white (U.S. Census Bureau). Of the four Census tracts within Coatesville, two have a significantly higher proportion of white residents and the other two have significantly more African American residents (U.S. Census Bureau). The northwestpartofCoatesvillecanbedefinedasmostlywhite, while the southeast part of the city can be characterized as mostly African American. Figure 2-1. POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS
  15. 15. 15Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Income and Poverty 2009 2010 2011 2012 Coatesville $48,486 $53,344 $113,161 Philadelphia Chester County Less than $10,000 11.3% 14.3% 9.9% 9.7% 9.7% $20,000 to $24,999 $75,000 to $99,999 2009 2012 Median $36,434 Median $34,603 9% 12% 2000 2012 As might be expected for a post-industrial city, Coatesville’s residents earn comparatively low incomes and a greater proportion of them experience poverty. According to the 2012 American Community Survey 5-year estimate, the average household in Coatesville earns approximately two- fifths of its counterpart in Chester County (See Figure 2-3). However, the average income of a Coatesville household earnsonly10%lessthantheaveragePhiladelphiahousehold, demonstrating the significant economic inequality present in Chester County and metropolitan Philadelphia. Focusing on average income, however, obscures the severe reality of economic inequality within Coatesville. In both the 2009 and 2012 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, the largest share of Coatesville’s households earnedlessthan$10,000,andthisproportionincreasedfrom 11.3%to14.3%(SeeFigure2-4).However,thesecondlargest proportion of Coatesville’s households in these surveys, 9.7% and 9.9% respectively, earned $75,000 to $99,999. In addition, the 2009 survey showed that 9.7% of Coatesville’s residents earned between $20,000 and $24,999; by 2012, this proportion had decreased significantly. Together, these figures suggest that the middle class is disappearing from Coatesville,andthatincomeinequalityamongstitsresidents continues to worsen. Similarly, Coatesville’s residents are increasingly living below the poverty line, and poverty is much more pronounced in the city than in Chester County. In 2000, only 9% of Coatesville’s population lived below the poverty line, but by 2012 this figure had increased to 12% (Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau). Children are particularly affected by poverty in Coatesville: the amount of the population under 18 years of age living in poverty increased by 80% during this period. In contrast, the number of children living in poverty in Chester County increased by only 36% during this period. On a positive note, the number of Coatesville’s residents 65 or older living in poverty declined by 9% from 2000 to 2012, lessthanthe28%increaseinChesterCounty(SocialExplorer, U.S. Census Bureau). These trends, however, suggest that Coatesville’s most dependent residents—its children—are bearing the consequences of the city’s economic decline. Figure 2-2. POPULATION LIVING IN POVERTY, 2000-2012 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 5-year estimatesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, Social Explorer Figure 2-3. AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOMES, 2009-2012 Figure 2-4. COATESVILLE HOUSEHOLD INCOMES, 2009-2012
  16. 16. 16 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 2000 2012 4.8% 8.2% Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Social Explorer Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining Construction Manufacturing Wholesale trade Retail trade Transportation, warehousing, utilities Finance, insurance, real estate Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste services Educational services, health care, social assistance Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services Other services, except public administration Public administration +64% -15% -11% +53% +44% +5% +27% +5% +19% +23% +51% +9% +51% Information Employment and Retail Figure 2-5. INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT Figure 2-6. COATESVILLE EMPLOYMENT CHANGE BY SECTOR, 2000 TO 2012 Coatesville faces greater economic challenges in comparison to Chester County. The Great Recession has had a more pronounced impact on the civilian workforce in Coatesville than in Chester County. In 2000, the unemployment rate in Coatesville was 4.8%, but by 2012 the unemployment rate had nearly doubled to 8.2% (see Figure 2-5), compared to 6.1%inChesterCounty(SocialExplorer;U.S.CensusBureau). During this period, there was considerable change in Coatesville’s employment mix (See Figure 2-6). There were two notable declines. Employment in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector decreased by 11%, and the information sector experienced the most significant loss of 15%. However, this latter decrease seems less severe within context of a 21% decrease in Chester County. There are several sectors that experienced growth. The educational services, health care, and social assistance sector, or “eds and meds,’ experienced the greatest growth (64%), increasing its share of the workforce from 22% to 27% (See Figure 3). Employment in eds and meds in Coatesville grew faster compared to the county, which experienced a significantly lower growth rate of 33% (Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau). The second highest growth sector in Coatesville was professional, scientific, management, and administrative & waste management services, growing by 53% and increasing its share of the workforce from 10% to 11%.Thethirdhighestgrowthsectorwasretailtrade,growing by 44% and increasing its share of the workforce from 11% to 12%. While other sectors had increases in their employment base, they generally maintained their respective shares of the workforce. (Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau). The commercial corridor of Coatesville runs along Lincoln Highway from approximately 1st Avenue to 4th Avenue, roughly in the geographic center of the city. The corridor includes small grocery and convenience stores, hair salons, furniture stores, and several churches. This is one of the only pedestrian-friendly areas of Coatesville, with a connection to the Amtrak station via 3rd Avenue. A local retail analysis conveys an overall lack of quality in retail options that do not meet the needs of the community. Residents largely turn to local convenience stores to meet their daily shopping needs, which are undersupplied in the city. While there is an excess supply of grocery, clothing, and electronics stores; bars; and car service stations, they are qualitatively insufficient prompting residents to seek alternatives outside of the city. There is also insufficient supply of delicatessens, drugstores, and discount stores. Coatesville’s residents are largely dependent on limited options of convenience stores and tend to go shop outside of Coatesville to meet other retail needs. The educational services, health care, and social assistance sector grew by from 2000-2012. 64%
  17. 17. 17Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan No high school diploma High school graduate Some college, no degree Associate’s degree Bachelor’s degree Graduate/professional degree 29.5% Bachelor’s Degree 21.2% No HS Diploma 18.8% Grad./Prof. Degree 41.9%High School Graduate Coatesville Chester County United States 1353 Student-Faculty Ratio Expenditure per Student Average SAT Score 13.2 14.4 $20,976 $14,500 1353 1395 1500 Coatesville Chester County Sources: PA Department of Education 2012, News and Reporter 2012 Providing a high-quality education is a challenge that many American cities face, and Coatesville is no exception. Relative to Chester County and Pennsylvania, the Coatesville Area School District (CASD) performs comparatively poorly, and on thewhole,Coatesville’sresidentshavecompletedlowerlevels of education. According to the 2012 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, slightly less than four-fifths of Coatesville’s residents have graduated from high school, almost fifteen percent less than the proportion in Chester County (See Figure 2-7). The percentage of Coatesville’s residents who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher is even more skewed: 14.7% compared to 48.3% for Chester County.Holdersofgraduateorprofessionaldegreesarenearly absent from Coatesville,making uponly3%of thepopulation. There are two higher educational institutions serving the city: a satellite campus of Lincoln University near downtown, and the Chester County Area Vocational Technical School. It seems that Coatesville’s educational challenges, however, begin at the elementary level. CASD has the tremendous task of educating students in a 75-square mile catchment area, nearly 40 times the size of the city. Within the district, there are six elementary schools, three middles schools, and a massive senior high school campus, located just east of the city boundary. Of these, only one building—Scott Middle School—is actually located in Coatesville. Simply put, CASD’s inputs are not translating into positive results. While CASD has a lower student-faculty ratio than the Chester County average and spends nearly a third more per student (See Figure 2-8), students perform lower than the state average on math and reading proficiency tests (PA Education Department of Education 2012). In 2011, CASD students’ average SAT scores (1353) were below those of Chester County (1395) and the national average of 1500 (News and Reporter 2012). School funding is also an issue: in its most recent audit, the CASD General Fund reported a negative balance of $4.2 million (CASD Audit Report 2012). This perhaps explains the substantial increases in property taxes recently levied on residents within the catchment area. Recent scandals have compounded these struggles. Last year, two school officials resigned after they were found exchanging racist and sexist text messages (Saltzman 2013). Some parents have also alleged that teachers and staff treat low-income minority children and children with disabilities unfairly, and that the recent closing of the Graystone Academy Charter School was racially motivated (Bond 2013). The public has also raised objections over the millions of dollars in legal fees collected by the CASD district solicitor (Scala 2013). An overall lack of transparency has inflamed tensions and created an environment that distracts attention from students’ needs. Figure 2-7. EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT (POPULATION 25 YEARS AND OVER) Figure 2-8. COATESVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 ACS 5-year estimates
  18. 18. 18 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions Housing ECONOMIC CONDITIONS Figure 2-10. DUPLEXES NEAR THE HISTORIC DISTRICT Figure 2-11. CONDEMNED ATTACHED SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSES Figure 2-12. NEW MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING NORTHWEST OF DOWNTOWN Figure 2-13. APARTMENTS IN A HISTORIC STABLE ON THIRD AVENUE Source: Social Explorer Percent of Renters > 30% Burden Percent of Owners > 30% Burden 53% 40% 21% 40% 2000 2012 Downtown Coatesville is relatively dense, yet most of the city’s dwelling units are detached, single-family homes. Attached single-family homes were the housing type that experienced the greatest growth from 2000 to 2012, increasing by 51%. This housing type’s share of the city’s housing stock grew from 20% to 23%. All other housing types either slightly decreased or relatively maintained their shares. The second largest growth was experienced by single-family detached homes, with an increase of 29%, but its share actually decreased from 60% to 59%. The attached and detached single-family homes comprised of over 80% of housing growth in the city. The increase of multi-family Figure 2-9. BURDENED RENTERS AND OWNERS, 2000-2012 units was limited to 24% (Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau). Despite the lower growth rate of multi-family units, the growth experienced in both housing types indicates a healthy demand for housing. Coatesville’s residents are increasingly burdened by their housing costs as median home values and rents increase. The percentage of owners with mortgages consuming 30% or more of their household incomes grew by 93% between 2000 and 2012. The percentage of renters with gross rents that account for 30% or more of their household incomes increased by 46% during this period (See Figure 2-9). Chester County had lower growth rates for both of these metrics—81% and 30%, respectively. Over half of Coatesville’s renters are burdened, and the average monthly rent increased by $202, or 25%, from 2000 to 2012. The number of owners with mortgages that required more than 30% of their incomes grew by from 2000 to 2012.93% From 2000 to 2012, there was a 30% increase in occupied units, largely driven by the growth in owner-occupied, single-family homes (Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau). The increases in owner- and renter-occupied units were relatively in line with the increases in occupied units, 30% and 28% respectively (Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau). The majority of Coatesville’s housing units (70%) are owner-occupied; 23% are renter-occupied. While only 7% of Coatesville’s housing units are vacant, the number increased by 70% from 2000 to 2012. In comparison, the vacancy growth in Chester County was noticeably lower, at 44%. There was also a 20% increase in mobile homes in Coatesville, which is significantly greater Chester County’s 5% increase. These trends collectively indicate that newer housing stock may be unattainable for many of Coatesville’s residents and that older housing stock is not sufficiently meeting the needs of lower income residents.
  19. 19. 19Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Municipal Budget and Finances 9.905 12.915 3.699 4.16325.700 32.000 2006 2014 +80%in property taxes since 2006 Coatesville Area School District Chester County Coatesville Source: Daily Local News 2014 In recent years, Coatesville has faced challenges in balancing its budget. The city has largely depended on the Reserve Trust Fund, increased real estate taxes, and steep cuts to cover annual budget gaps. Unfortunately, this means that Coatesville’s residents have been asked to pay more money for fewer services. Coatesville created the Reserve Trust Fund in 2000, when it sold the municipal water authority to Pennsylvania Water Company for $36 million (Daily Local News 2014). By the end of 2013, the fund was nearly depleted to $6 million; the city had used the funds to pay debts, fulfill pension obligations, and meet other annual budgetary needs. By law, the city is required to replenish the Reserve Trust Fund. In order to meet this obligation, Coatesville City Council has substantially increased the real estate tax rate, up 175% from 5.368 mills in 2004 to 9.415 mills in 2013. In order to balance the 2014 budget, the city increased the millage rate again, to 12.915 mills (Daily Local News 2014). The burden on Coatesville’s residents is also compounded by continual property tax increases from Chester County and the Coatesville Area School District (See Figure 2-14). A millage rate of 32 is a tax of 3.2% per $100,000 in value. Thus in 2014, the median homeowner in Coatesville will pay $4,422 in property taxes. Despite these increases, the accompanied revenue growth has been modest. Kirby Hudson, Coatesville’s City Manager, hasattributedslowrevenuegrowthtothreefactors.Thefirst is a stagnant construction market. This has been compointed by broader economic issues and the lack of available land for new construction. Secondly, there has been an uptick in property assessment appeals and a decline in deed transfer tax revenue because of a lack of home sales. Finally, revenue growth has been by impeded by stagnant incomes, the city’s largest source of tax revenue (City Council 2012). As would be expected given these trends, Coatesville has madedeepcutstoexpenditures.Thecutsintheadopted2012 budget, compared to the 2011 budget, totaled $1.7 million. Eleven line items were reduced, five were maintained, and five were modestly increased. The largest reduction was in Culture and Recreation, with the allocation for Camps reduced by 66%. Community and Economic Development was the second largest cut, slashed by 54%. Next was General Government, with a 35% cut to Council expenses, followed by Protection to Persons and Property, with a 31% reduction in the Police allocation (City Council, 2012). In general, these cuts were achieved through reductions in personnel, salaries, and benefits. Unfortunately, Coatesville continues to spend less on services important to residents in spite of rising taxes. 66% Camps 54% Community Center 35% Council 31% Police 20% Legal 11% Building & Plant 10% Administration 10% Parks 5% Code Enforcement 4% Finance 1% Redevelopment 11% Public Works 7% Fire 4% HR 3% Pools 3% Insurance Budget Cuts Budget Increases Figure 2-14. RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAX INCREASES, 2006-2014
  20. 20. 20 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions Figure 2-15. COATESVILLE’S ROAD NETWORK AND TRAFFIC VOLUME Source: US 30 Coatesville-Downingtown Bypass Traffic Study Figure 2-16. COATESVILLE WORKERS’ COMMUTE LOCATIONS 72.5% 12.1% 13.8% Elsewhere in Chester County Outside of Chester County In Coatesville Outside of Pennsylvania Source: 2010 ACS 5-year estimate TRANSPORTATION The city of Coatesville has ample transportation connections to surrounding localities, Philadelphia, and Lancaster. Unfortunately, the roads that run through and near Coatesvillearegenerallyusedtocarrypassengersawayfrom, or around, the city. The Coatesville-Downingtown Bypass (U.S. Route 30, built in the 1960s) and Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30B) are Coatesville’s main vehicle traffic corridors. During peak travel hours, the bypass brings 400 vehicles per hour towards the city and takes 800 vehicles per hour away from the city (US 30 Coatesville-Downingtown Bypass Traffic Study; See Figure 2-15). Given this traffic pattern, it is not surprising that most of Coatesville’s residents have jobs outside of the city. Only 12.1% work within Coatesville. While 13.8% of Coatesville’s residents work beyond Chester County, the greatest proportion (72.5%) work outside of the city but within Chester County (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 ACS 5-year estimate; See Figure 2-16). These statistics, coupled with the travel patterns on major highways, suggest that Most of Coatesville’s residents travel to employment centers located in other points along the Highway 30 corridor, such as Exton and Downingtown. A City of Long-Distance Commuters Only of Coatesville’s workers commute to jobs within the city limits. Coatesville’s residents are largely dependent on their cars when they commute (See Figure 2-18). The substantial majority of Coatesville’s commuters (86.2%) travel to and fromworkinprivatevehicles,andonly8.2%usepublictransit (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 ACS 5-year estimate). It should be noted, however, that while 87.5% of Coatesville’s families have at least one car, this is lower than the proportion of families in Chester County that own at least one car (95%). Concomitantly, car commuting is less common in Coatesville (86.2%)thaninChesterCounty(88.1%).Coatesvilleresidents are also three times as likely as Chester County residents to commute by bus or train. 12%
  21. 21. 21Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Figure 2-17. COATESVILLE’S TRANSIT ROUTES N Coatesville VA Hospital Brandywine Hospital Brandywine YMCA Regency Park Highlands Corporate Center Airport Plaza Shopping Parkesburg West Sadsbury Commons Shopping Cener Oaklands Exton Square Exton West CHester Coatesville Link (TMACC) Line A (Krapf’s Coaches) Amtrak Keystone Service Figure 2-18. CAR OWNERSHIP 87.5% At Least One Vehicle 12.5% No Vehicle 5% At Least One Vehicle 95% At Least One Vehicle Figure 2-19. COMMUTING MODE SHARE Coatesville Chester County Source: Chester County Planning Commission 2012 Source: U.S. Census Bureau Source: U.S. Census Bureau Coatesville Chester County 88.1% 2.7% 2.5% 0.2% 0.8% 5.7% 86.2% 8.2% 2.5% 1.4% 0.5% 1.3% Relative to Chester County, a greater proportion of Coatesville’s residents are dependent upon transit options. The near-perfect match between the proportion of residents that do not own a car (12.5%) and those that work within the city (12.1%) suggests that employment opportunities are controlled by car ownership and, conversely, transit accessibility. However, transit options are relatively limited. The Amtrak Keystone Service is the most prominent transit route available to Coatesville’s residents. The Amtrak station is located on North 3rd Avenue, between Coates Street and Fleetwood Street. However, the station lacks any Amtrak staff, does not offer ticketing and baggage services, and is in severe disrepair. As previously mentioned, Coatesville has by far the lowest train ridership of the six Keystone stops between Lancaster and Philadelphia, with only 16,626 passengers in 2013 (See infra, page 7). Simply put, very few of Coatesville’s commuters are traveling by train. Bus transit seems a more viable option for Coatesville’s commuters. Two privately-owned bus lines service the city. Line A, operated by Krapf’s Coaches, connects Coatesville to West Chester, via Downingtown and Exton. The service operates from 5:30am to 11:00pm, with more than 1,200 passengers per day. A second bus service, Coatesville Link, is provided by the Transportation Management Association of Chester County. This service seeks to provide access to nearbyshoppingcenters,medicalfacilities,andemployment opportunities. A limited evening route also connects Coatesville residents to service and hospitality jobs in Exton (Chester County Planning Commission 2012). Transit Options
  22. 22. 22 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions Figure 2-20. THE UNUSED AND DILAPIDATED AMTRAK STATION Figure 2-21. COATESVILLE’S MAIN STREETS ARE PLAGUED BY TRUCKS Figure 2-22. MANY STREETS ARE NOT PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY Source: Greystone Society Related Plans and Issues Amtrak Station The Amtrak station on 3rd Avenue has been the focus of a number of studies since the early 2000s. The current plan, the Coatesville Train Station (CTS) project, is a joint effort by PennDOT, Amtrak, Chester County, the City of Coatesville, the Coatesville Redevelopment Authority, and the Chester County Economic Development Council (Plan the Keystone 2012). The focus of the CTS project is the construction of new ADA-accessible station approximately 300 feet to the east of its present location. The new station will include improved lighting, an overhead canopy, elevators, a passenger connection for crossing the tracks, and approximately 100 parking spaces. The CTS vision includes complementary improvements to the surrounding area, such as rehabilitation of the existing station for a new use and streetscape improvements on Third Avenue between the station and Coatesville’s commercial corridor (DVRPC, n.d.).Propertieshavealreadybeenacquiredanddemolished to make way for these improvements. TRANSPORTATION Truck Traffic Coatesville’s main streets are subjected to high volumes of truck traffic. This problem is especially intrusive at the intersection of Lincoln Highway and Route 82, at the western edge of the historic district. Many of the trucks that travel on Route 82/1st Avenue are transporting large loads of scrap to the steel mill. Trucks traveling on this road have damaged the mast arms supporting overhead traffic signals and make pedestrian access to the historic sites west of 1st Avenue more difficult. While not all freight companies have access to the rail lines running to the steel mill, Coatesville’s residents have expressed a desire to see more scrap transported via rail rather than truck. (Knight Foundation 2004). The Pedestrian Environment Historic downtown Coatesville and the immediately adjacent residentialneighborhoodsaregenerallybuiltinapedestrian- friendly manner. The gridded street network, adequate sidewalks, and attractive architecture of these areas create a pleasant walking experience. The newer residential neighborhoods, while rather hilly, also have adequate sidewalks (although they appear to be infrequently used). Beyond these neighborhoods, many of Coatesville’s streets are not conducive to walking. Just under five percent of Coatesville’s land is vacant. Unoccupied parcels are often surrounded by chain-link fences and littered with debris. Moreover,theseareaslacksafesidewalks,forcingpedestrians to walk in the roadway. This problem is particularly glaring in the areas surrounding the Amtrak station. PennDOT expects the new Amtrak station to serve as an anchor for transit-oriented development in Coatesville’s center.
  23. 23. 23Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Coatesville Land Use (2010) $0 0.25 0.5 0.75 Miles Walkability and Bikeability Pedestrian Friendly Bike Lane Not Pedestrian Friendly High Truck Traffic Problem Intersection Coatesville’s streets generally cater to the car over the pedestrian. Lincoln Highway runs through the center of Coatesville, and many trucks travel on First Avenue between the steel mill and the U.S. Route 30 bypass north of the city. There are a number of intersections with severe conflicts between truck traffic, car traffic, and pedestrians. A token effort has been made to accomodate bicyclists, with a marked bike lane on Lincoln Highway from 1st Avenue to the city’s eastern edge.
  24. 24. 24 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions Figure 2-23. COATESVILLE LAND USE (1,183 ACRES Source: DVRPC 2010 Transportation/Utility 33% 19.6% Wooded Area 14.5% SF Residential 8.8% Commercial 7.4% Industrial/Mining Agriculture 34.6% 26.3% Wooded Area 18.9% SF Residential 8.5% Transportation/ Utility Agriculture Transportation/Utility Wooded SF Residential Commercial Industrial/Mining Community/Recreation MF Residential Vacant Water Other LAND USE The City of Coatesville encompasses 1,183 acres (DVRPC 2010). Transportation and utility facilities consume the greatest proportion (390), followed by woodlands (232), single-family residential (171), commercial (104), industrial and mining (88), community facilities and recreation (75), multi-family housing (56), vacant land (54), and water (13) (DVRPC 2010, See Figure 2-23). Coatesville has a significantly different land use pattern than Chester County. Of the county’s 485,463 acres, agriculture consumes the most (168,174), followed by woodlands (127,551), single-family residential (91,926), transportation/ utility (41,140), community/recreation (14,610), vacant land (14,433), commercial (10,350), multi-family residential (6,426), water (5,000 acres), industrial and mining (3,248), and other uses, (2,605) (DVRPC 2010, See Figure 2-24). As would be expected, the city is much more densely populated than Chester County: Coatesville has 7,081 persons per sq. mi., compared to 658 for the County; and 4.2 dwelling units per acre, compared to 0.40 for the County. Coatesville does not have a current land use plan. The Chester County Comprehensive Policy Plan, Landscapes 2, identifies Coatesville as part of the “urban” landscape, with a desired density of five or more dwelling units per acre. The plan states that in these areas of “highest development intensity,” the focus will be on redevelopment, revitalization, andthepreservationandreuseofhistoricsitesandstructures (Chester County 2009). The plan expects municipalities such as Coatesville to update their comprehensive land use plans, with a particular focus on developing neighborhood parks and community facilities. Figure 2-24. CHESTER COUNTY LAND USE (485,463 ACRES) Figure 2-25. DUPLEXES AND HOME OFFICES LINING CHESTNUT STREET Figure 2-26. HIGH BRIDGE, A TRANSPORTATION LANDMARK Figure 2-27. A DILAPIDATED, BUT STILL USED, STORAGE BUILDING
  25. 25. 25Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Commercial Community Facilities Manufacturing (Heavy Industrial) Parking Recreation Residential: Multi-Family Residential: Row Home Residential: Single-Family Detached Transportation/Utility Water Wooded Vacant Coatesville Land Use (2010)Coatesville is a small city—roughly 1.85 square miles. The city’s historic core consists of relatively dense, multi-story commercial and residential buildings. However, this density decreases away from Lincoln Highway, the main street. In total, more than three times as much land is devoted to single-family homes as multi-family buildings. Most of the comparatively new housing units, built into the wooded hills framing the city, are single-family, detached dwellings.
  26. 26. 26 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions Source: DVRPC 2010. Figure 5. Coatesville Aggregate Land Use 68.4%Developed 31.6% Undeveloped (including vacant land and water) NATURAL ENVIRONMENT Resources in Need of Protection The EPA has identified Brandywine Creek an impaired watercourse under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, Coatesville’s development has encroached upon its valuable natural areas. Because Coatesville’s industrial core was powered by the Brandywine Creek, much of the land near the watercourse is intensely developed and vulnerable to flooding. The districts within Coatesville’s borders through which the creek runs are zoned for heavy industrial and commercial uses. In recent decades, low- and medium-density residential uses have climbed into the woodedhillsatthecity’snorthernandsouthernedges.These neighborhoods are zoned as “residential conservation” districts, with the purpose to “[r]etain meaningful open space…protect local resources and to provide for various recreational or leisure activities” (City of Coatesville, 2014). This designation provides the city the opportunity to establish more stringent requirements for site design, lot coverage and building bulk. Coatesville’s zoning ordinance also contains Floodplain Conservation, Natural Resource Protection, and Hilltop Neighborhood Development overlay districts, with boundaries set according to state and federal resource mapping (City of Coatesville, 2014). TheBrandywineCreekispartoftheChristinaRiverwatershed, which flows into the Delaware River wand empties into the Delaware Bay. The stretch of the Brandywine Creek that runs through Coatesville is listed by the EPA as an impaired watercourse under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. The creek is heavily polluted with organic nutrients, pesticides, siltation, suspended solids, polychlorinated biphenyls (coolants, lubricants, and sealants), and other pollutants (EPA 2006). While much of this pollution comes from upstream agricultural activities, activities in Coatesville certainly contribute to this poor water quality. While Coatesville does not have a natural resources plan, the city is included in a number of broader environmental planning initiatives. The Brandywine Creek Greenway, a project of the Brandywine Conservancy, has developed a vision of resource protection for an area encompassing twenty-four municipalities. The concept plan includes multi- functional destination points and 230 miles of trails along the Brandywine Creek (Brandywine Creek Greenway, 2013). ChesterCounty’sLandscapes2planincludessignificantareas of Coatesville in a natural resource overlay. In these areas, the plan encourages the protection of natural resources through multi-municipal resource plans and integrated land use decisions, with a particular focus on protecting surface and groundwater sources. The plan notes that, because the county contains over 1,300 miles of streams, integrated waterand wastewaterplanning is a“pressing issue” (Chester County 2009, 60). Coatesville contains a significant amount of wooded area and eight distinct community open spaces, including the Coatesville Community Center and playing fields, Chester Ash Memorial Park (9.3 acres), Valley View Park (5 acres), and Fairview Cemetery. However, most of the city’s land is dedicated to intensive uses, and more than two-thirds is currently developed (See Figure 2-28). This number serves as a useful proxy for the amount of pervious surface in Coatesville. The city’s current zoning provides a useful foundation for more rigorous development suitability analyses to protect its resources and improve water quality. Figure 2-29. COATESVILLE AGGREGATED LAND USE
  27. 27. 27Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Flood Plain Rivers and Streams Hydric Soils Wetlands Forests County Natural Resources Overlay Natural Resources Open Space $0 0.25 0.5 0.75 Miles Nestled in the Brandywine Valley, Coatesville boasts abundant natural features that contributed to the city’s historical development. The hills, forests, and streams of Coatesville, particularly to the north and south, provide a pleasant backdrop for the city. Environmental resources are often cited as critical factors to creating a high quality of life: in recent surveys, Chester County residents highlighted natural beauty, woodlands, and historic scenery as the elements that make the county a “special place” to live.
  28. 28. 28 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions PUBLIC REALM Figure 2-30. HALF OF COATESVILLE’S 22 PLACES OF WORSHIP ARE IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT AND ARE GENERALLY WELL-MAINTAINED Figure 2-31. THE SIDEWALKS AND STREET FURNITURE ON COATESVILLE’S MAIN STREET ARE IN NEED OF MAINTENANCE Figure 2-32. A COLUMN FROM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER, THE START OF THE NATIONAL IRON & STEEL HERITAGE MUSEUM Commercial and Cultural Corridor The heart of Coatesville contains a number of commercially and culturally important buildings, many of which are within easy walking distance of the Amtrak station. While parts of this area have experienced decline and vacancy, vital institutions remain. Coatesville’s primary commercial corridor runs along Lincoln Highway from 1st Avenue to approximately 4th Avenue. This stretch generally consists of convenience stores, delis, hair salons, and other locally-oriented retail establishments. Althoughafewofthesestoresarevacant—includingtheLipkin furniture store, after 114 years of operation—this corridor is the city’s most active in terms of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The street is lined with bicycle lanes, parking, and planters, and the heights of the buildings (two to four stories) make it one of the most welcoming in the city. However, the planters and sidewalks are in need of maintenance. A number of important cultural and civic institutions are also located along Lincoln Highway. These include the historic National Bank of Chester Valley building, the public library, the Coatesville Savings Bank, and the Coatesville Cultural Society. The Coatesville Cultural Society, one of the only artistic and cultural outlets for Coatesville’s residents, hosts holiday celebrations and theatrical performances. Notably,mostofthecommercialandculturalactivitycenters are located on the east side of Brandywine Creek. The creek and the formidably sized industrial site serve to separate the City’s western, primarily residential section from its eastern, mixed-use section. Historic District and Industrial Heritage Sites Coatesville’s National Historic District encompasses the commercial and cultural corridor and a portion of the residential area between 5th and 6th Avenues. For a city of its size, Coatesville has a significant number of places of worship—twenty-two in all. Approximately half of these structures are sited within the historic district. Some of them have attached community service centers or social assistance providers, suggesting that Coatesville’s religious institutionsarefillingthevoidcreatedbythecity’sbudgetary shortfalls and providing much-needed services to residents. Coatesville’s prominent industrial heritage sites are located outside of the historic district, to the west of 1st Avenue. The stately brick building that once served as the administrative offices for the Lukens Steel Company is now the home of the Graystone Society, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to preserving and exhibiting the region’s importance to the American steel industry (The Graystone Society, Inc. 2012). Behind this building, the beginnings of the National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum have been constructed around a prominently displayed steel column. This column, forged at the steel mill in the 1960s, survived the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and was returned to Coatesville in 2010. Recreational Facilities Although Coatesville is situated in the picturesque Brandywine Valley, the city has not taken much advantage of its position. The industrial site and 1st Avenue separate the creek from the city’s residents, and there are no formal access points for recreational purposes. However, there are approximately 75 acres of community and recreational spaces in the city. These include the community center in the northeast part of the town (offering sports lessons for children and other community events), eight parks and playgrounds, and two large cemeteries. However, these facilities are generally cut off from many of Coatesville’s residents by streets that lack pedestrian infrastructure. There are places of worship in Coatesville. 22
  29. 29. 29Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan $0 0.25 0.5 0.75 Miles Amtrak Station Water Area Open Space Commercial Corridor Historic Distrct Industrial Site Worship Place Cultural Center Grocery Public RealmFor a city of its size, Coatesville has an impressive number of cultural and historic buildings and public open spaces. A significant portion of the city’s downtown is designated as a National Historic Landmark District. The Coatesville Cultural Society and Greystone Society host several community events throughout the year. Various groups, such as the Coatesville Farmers Market, the Boy Scouts, and the city’s numerous churches, host events in the Coatesville’s nine parks.
  30. 30. 30 Chapter 2 : Existing Conditions PEOPLE & PERCEPTIONS Community Culture Sources: Coatesville Cultural Society, Americantowns, Coatesville Bible Fellowship, Episcopal Church of the Trinity, Coatesville, The Bridge Academy & Community Center Coatesville Library Events Coatesville Cultural Society, Theatrical Performances Coatesville Cultural Society, Live Music Venues Church Events Vacation Bible School Coatesville Cultural Society, Poetry Readings Pope John Paul II Catholic Elementary School, Spring Outgrown Sale Bridge Academy Events January 2013 S M T W R F S 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 February March April May June July August September October November December January 2014 S M T W R F S 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 February March April Source: Brandywine Health Foundation, 2013 Figure 2-33. COATESVILLE COMMUNITY CALENDAR, 2013-2014 In addition to Coatesville’s twenty-two places of worship and its library, the city has two major nonprofit organizations— the Coatesville Cultural Society and the Bridge Academy— that host community events throughout the year (See Figure 2-32). The Cultural Society, for example, seeks to bring the arts to Coatesville’s residents through theatrical performances, live music, and poetry readings. Events that bring the entire community together, however, are rare. Outside of a few charity runs, there is little to engender connections among the residents of Coatesville’s spatially separated neighborhoods. Although the main commercial street runs through the heart of the city, downtown Coatesville seems to lack a sense of energy. This is largely due to a dearth of pedestrian activity and a relatively high amount of storefront vacancy. It also appears that the few high-quality retailers that remain on this street struggle to attract customers. Figure 2-34. THE 4TH ANNUAL COATESVILLE 5K RUN & WALK
  31. 31. 31Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Figure 2-35. THE COATESVILLE 2007-2009 ARSON WAVE Source: Shea 2009 522 West Chester Avondale Christiana Honey Brook Atglen Parkesburg Downigtown South Coatesville Coatesville 522 294 171 275 134 57 272 24 12 Figure 2-36. CRIME PER 100,000 RESIDENTS (2011) Source: CItyData 2012 Figure 2-37. TOTAL CRIME BY TYPE (2011) Coatesville South Coatesville Violent crimeProperty crime 637 360 80 438 Source: CItyData 2012 There are indications that Coatesville’s important public institutions are failing. In addition to the previously discussed controversies surrounding the CASD board, the Coatesville Police Department has been marred by a recent embezzlement scandal (Shea 2009). The most visible recent event, however, is the wave of arsons that ripped through the city from 2007 to 2009, causing millions of dollars in damage and displacing hundreds of residents. Some 80 fires during that span were attributed to arson (See Figure 2-34). Only 20 of these cases have been solved, and one of the identified perpetrators was a volunteer firefighter (Shea 2009). Given these conditions, it is not surprising that Coatesville hasaratherhighcrimerate.In2011,Coatesvilleexperienced 522 crimes per 100,000 residents, far outpacing the rates of neighboring Chester County municipalities (CityData 2012; See Figure 2-35). Particularly disheartening is the fact that Coatesville’s 2011 crime rate was 78% higher than that of South Coatesville, its immediate neighbor. However, a greater share of crime in Coatesville is classified as property crime (See Figure 2-36), suggesting that Coatesville’s challenges here are linked to the relatively high rate of vacant and abandoned properties. Local news outlets have often reported these events to a broader audience, such that Coatesville is generally perceivedbynon-residentsasadangerousandunwelcoming place (Shea 2009). A lack of political transparency has compounded Coateville’s difficulties. Simply put, the city’s political and cultural climate have created a situation in which the city struggles to meet the needs of current residents and attract new residents and businesses. Public Perceptions
  32. 32. 32 Chapter 3: SDOC Analysis
  33. 33. 33Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan SDOC ANALYSISAfter studying Coatesville’s context and existing conditions, the planning team sought to look beneath the data and trends and critically examine the city’s status. This analysis is organized according to strengths, internal attributes upon which Coatesville can build; deficiencies, characteristics that Coatesville could seek to correct; opportunities, externally-driven potential on which Coatesville can capitalize; and constraints, external limits that Coatesville can strive to overcome (SDOC). The outcomes if this analysis established a foundation for the goals and objectives discussed in the next chapter. While Coatesville’s challenges are many, its assets are plentiful.
  34. 34. 34 Chapter 3: SDOC Analysis Coatesville has a unique opportunity to maximize its strengths and provide a high quality of life for its growing population. The median age in Coatesville is under 30, meaning that the city’s growth is driven by young families. Employment in a number of modern industrial sectors is growing, supplementing the city’s historic foundation of manufacturing jobs. Coatesville’s natural and built environment has certainly contributed to these positive demographic and economic trends. The Brandywine Creek and the many historic structures associated with the Lukens family provide importantsourcesofcommunitywealth.Thecity’scharacter- defining architecture serves as a reminder of Coatesville’s prosperous two-hundred year history. A walkable and historic downtown makes the city a relatively accessible and easily navigable place. These qualities, which promoted Coatesville’s early growth, are the type of amenities that many city dwellers are seeking in the twenty-first century. Figure 3-1. THE HISTORIC GREYSTONE MANSION Figure 3-2.  A WORLD TRADE CENTER COLUMN, FORGED IN COATESVILLE Figure 3-3. THE BRANDYWINE CREEK RUNS UNDER THE HIGH BRIDGE ·· A growing, young, and diverse population ·· A wealth of natural assets, such as the Brandywine Creek and forested topography, that can serve as green infrastructure and recreational opportunities ·· A national Historic District and dozens of landmarks ·· Increasingemploymentinconstruction,retail,professional services, public administration, and “eds and meds” ·· A range of social institutions, including the Coatesville Cultural Society and twenty-two places of worship ·· A pedestrian-scaled downtown STRENGTHS
  35. 35. 35Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Coatesville struggles with a number of issues which ultimately impact the residents’ quality of life and make the city relatively unattractive to private investment. Specifically, these deficiencies fall into four categories: housing, public resources, education, and crime and safety. Recentpropertytaxincreaseshavehikedupthecostofliving in Coatesville, leading to substantial increases in the number of cost-burdened renters and homeowners. High property taxes may also be contributing to the high vacancy rate on the commercial corridor. The concentration of new housing in remote locations, beyond walking distance to downtown, has worsened the socioeconomic and racial segregation. This new residential development has made Coatesville’s residents even more car-dependent. A dwindling municipal budget has forced the city to cut back on important community services. This, coupled with high property taxes, makes Coatesville an unattractive place for privately-funded residential and commercial development. Relative to the residents of Chester County, Coatesville residents have lower median household incomes and a significantly higher poverty rate. The absence of a planning department also inhibits the city’s ability to meet the needs of its residents. Rather negative public perceptions of Coatesville, particularly in regards to education and crime, compound these difficulties. Recent incidents, such as city council resignations and an administrative scandal in the Coatesville Area School District, have generated distrust between the city’s residents and their elected leaders. Adults in the Coatesville have comparatively low academic achievement, and standardized test scores for Coatesville’s students demonstrate that the prospects for future generations are not strong. A wave of arson and violent crimes has led to a conception of an unsafe public realm. Although Coatesville has received funding to create programs that combat crime, particularly aimed at teenagers, their results have not been assessed. Figure 3-4. NORTH BRANDYWINE MIDDLE SCHOOL, PART OF THE CASD Figure 3-5. VACANT HOMES DAMAGED BY FIRE Figure 3-6. THE LIPKIN FURNITURE STORE, CLOSED AFTER 114 YEARS DEFICIENCIES ·· Relatively low educational quality and attainment ·· Comparatively high rates of vacancy and crime ·· Regional and citywide inequality and segregation ·· High property taxes make housing less affordable ·· Poor intermodal transit connections ·· Lack of high-quality, relevant retail establishments ·· Residential neighborhoods lack connections to downtown ·· Residential density too low to support increased transit
  36. 36. 36 Chapter 3: SDOC Analysis Recent investment in Coatesville provides a plethora of opportunities that the city can harness for equitable development. Planned improvements to 3rd Avenue, the focal point of Amtrak’s station redevelopment, can connect the new station to Coatesville’s walkable commercial corridor. Coatesville can further leverage this investment by creating specialized districts and new commuting paths. In addition, Coatesville’s heritage and ample historic sites have provided the seeds of a nationally-focused museum. As a population center along the Brandywine Creek, Coatesville can both benefit from and contribute to the Brandywine Creek Greenway, a regional effort to link communities into a contiguous network of natural and historic resources. Coatesville has plenty of vacant parcels and unoccupied structuresinprimelocations.Thesesitescanbebroughtinto higher uses while providing affordable, senior, and family- oriented housing. Providing quality retail establishments and affordable housing can spark a stronger real estate market and attract private investment. Redevelopment of thesesitescanhelpthecitybettermeettheneedsofcurrent and new residents. A renewed planning ethos in Coatesville will allow the city to make a stronger case for public grants. Figure 3-7. THIRD AVENUE CONNECTS THE TRAIN STATION TO LINCOLN HIGHWAY Figure 3-8. A VACANT WAREHOUSE NEAR DOWNTOWN Figure 3-9. THE PARKING AREA NORTH OF THE CURRENT TRAIN STATION OPPORTUNITIES ·· $20 million in federal and state funding for the Amtrak station redesign and construction ·· A range of centrally-located sites available for mixed-use infill development ·· Improvingtransitconnectiontoneighboringmunicipalities ·· Renewed market demand for attractive, walkable downtown neighborhoods ·· The Brandywine Creek Greenway, a regional network of twenty-four municipalities ·· Status as the only incorporated city in a wealth county
  37. 37. 37Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Any plan which moves forward in Coatesville must overcome the constraints which currently hinder revitalization. These include barriers to private development, concentrated low- income communities, and negative perceptions. While Coatesville has a number of vacant and historic properties available for development, many regulatory and financial hurdles must be overcome to make these sites productive once again. A slow real estate market acts as a barrier for private investors who are looking to make a return on investment. With little interest from private dollars, Coatesville may remain stagnant and plagued by its existing deficiencies. The municipalities surrounding Coatesville have benefited from rapid residential and commercial growth, drawing private capital away from the city. The lack of middle- income groups in Coatesville has led to a concentration of impoverished individuals in the only city in a very wealthy county. Low-income households have less disposable income to spend in Coatesville’s retail establishments, providing further impetus for decline. From the outside, Coatesville has a particularly negative image. Recent tumultuous turnovers in the City Council and school board, as well as the overhaul of Police Department staff, have left many Coatesville residents skeptical that their city is in capable hands. Establishing a transparent and open conversation about the direction of Coatesville—potentially from a regional perspective—is needed to overcome the current political distrust and disengagement. Figure 3-10. THE REMAINS OF PREVIOUS REDVELOPMENT EFFORTS Figure 3-11. A PLEA TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS DOWNTOWN CONSTRAINTS ·· Diminished market for private investment ·· Continued competition from neighboring suburban municipalities for economic development ·· Perceptions about safety and educational quality ·· Concentration of low-income families ·· Regional dominance of single-family housing ·· Historic buildings expensive to restore ·· Recent political tensions and lack of transparency
  38. 38. 38 Chapter 5: Goals & Objectives
  39. 39. 39Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan GOALS & OBJECTIVES This plan—and Coatesville—must now turn its eyes to the future. The present moment is the time for Coatesville to overcome its challenges and transform itself into a stable, vital, connected, and livable city. The components of revitalization are present, and this plan offers a vision to unite and leverage them in two stages: stabilization (1-4 years) and growth (5-8 years). This plan asserts that Coatesville should set aggressive goals and strive to become a place defined by a high quality of life and boundless opportunities for its residents. These goals are far- reaching yet pragmatic, ambitious yet grounded in reality.
  40. 40. a. Decrease the violent crime rate to the state level. b. Decrease the percentage of burdened homeowners and renters to pre-recession levels. c. Decrease the foreclosure rate to the county level. d. Decrease the housing vacancy rate to the county level. GOAL 1: Provide a sense of stability as a cornerstone of residents’ quality of life. To lay a foundation for progress, this plan’s first goal seeks to ensure that Coatesville residents feel safe in their communities and supported by their local government and neighbors. A lack of stability and security can undermine a sense of community, public trust, and identity. The purpose of this goal is therefore to create both a reality and a perception that the city is supporting its residents. This goal responds directly to the need to reverse Coatesville’s high crime rate, comparatively low educational outcomes, and increasing cost of living. This goal is the most important, as it defines a baseline expectation for Coatesville’s positive future.
  41. 41. b. Decrease the commercial property vacancy rate. a. Ensure that all city policies and ordinances attract— rather than discourage—private investment. c. Increase residents’ earning potential through job training and support for small businesses. GOAL 2: Make Coatesville an attractive place to do business and earn a living. A significant majority of Coatesville residents leave the city for employment and shopping opportunities and shopping amenities. This fact, coupled with dramatic vacancy on Lincoln Highway, demonstrates a need to promote economic development within the city. This goal aims to benefit residents, by expanding their skillsets and supportingentrepreneurs;localbusinesses,byestablishing new commercial corridors and incentives; and the city, by increasing tax revenue. This goal also has implications for political and administrative changes. Because economic development is closely tied to affordability and employment in Coatesville, this goal supports the first.
  42. 42. a. Prioritize municipal investments in identified commercial and cultural corridors. b. Make Coatesville’s main corridors walkable, bikeable, and universally accessible. c. Increase the public transit mode share. d. Provide residents with access to a high-quality natural environment. GOAL 3: Bridge disconnected neighborhoods and improve residents’ access to the region. This goal promotes the availability of transportation options to better connect Coatesville residents to regional amenities. It is based on the planning team’s findings that residents rely on the region for employment, shopping, and recreation. More importantly, accessibility to other residents within Coatesville is critical to sustaining the quality of life and economic development improvements made under the first two goals. Creating a unified and easily navigable physical environment may generate stronger human and social capital connections that will support of the first two goals. Thus this goal speaks to both physical and social strategies for a more networked city.
  43. 43. c. Unify existing resources to create a new identity as an attractive place to live. a. Find new, viable uses for vacant buildings in the historic district. GOAL 4: Leverage Coatesville’s social, cultural, and historic resources to meet residents’ needs. Coatesville has a rich past, yet current residents may not identity with it or benefit from it. To create a renewed sense of place and connect the city’s history with current and incoming residents’ identities, this goal aims to find ways to transform these assets into meaningful amenities and experiences—rather than just relics. This goal will build on improvements that result from the previous three goals by fortifying underlining architectural, natural, and social networks. Coatesville’s history and people are its greatest source of strength and will provide an anchor to sustain investments and capacity building proposed in this plan. b. Find new, viable uses for vacant buildings in the historic district.
  44. 44. 44 Chapter 5: Strategic Actions
  45. 45. 45Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan STRATEGIC ACTIONS Informed by these goals and objectives, Coatesville can take affirmative steps to overcome its constraints and deficiencies and maximize its strengths and opportunities. Specifically, this plan proposes that Coatesville promote transit-oriented development, create a public amenities and open space corridor, renewcitizenengagement,createalternativeeducation pathways, engender transparency and participation in municipal decisions, and revitalize the Lincoln Highway commercial corridor. This plan directs its proposals to a range of agents. Ultimately, it seeks to put the power of planning in the hands of Coatesville’s residents, with the government as a partner in creating their future.
  46. 46. 46 Chapter 5: Strategic Actions Promote transit-oriented development around the rebuilt Amtrak station. The multi-million-dollar investments by Amtrak and PennDOT into the relocation and reconstruction of the Coatesville Amtrak station represent a tremendous opportunity for the city to attract residents and businesses to a centrally-located area presently marked by vacancy and deterioration. This investment of public funds also serves as a signal that external entities see Coatesville as a city with the potential to become a population center. Real estate studies continually show that even modest public investment in transportation infrastructure, particularly fixed-guideway rail transit, attracts private investment of much greater value (Leinberger 2009). The beauty of this strategic action is that it requires little additional investment of funds by Coatesville. Instead, the city’s task is to channel the public and private investment around the Amtrak station. Up to now, Coatesville’s role in the redevelopment of the area around the new Amtrak station has largely been limited to condemning and demolishing structures located in the area. This plan proposes that Coatesville take targeted and proactive steps to ensure that the new station and the development it attracts will be as advantageous to the city and its residents as possible. Thethrustofthisstrategicactionisintensifyingdevelopment aroundthenewAmtrakstation.Alongwithincreaseddensity, these proposals seek to ensure that the new development is attractive and accommodates all modes of transportation, especially pedestrians and bicyclists. While some of these proposals are similar to those mentioned in later strategic actions, they are calibrated so that the Lincoln Highway commercial corridor remains the primary location for commercial development. Thus these strategies are geared more towards the creation of a regulatory environment conducive to development, rather than directly promoting new development. By designing these strategic actions in this way, this plan seeks to ensure that the transit-oriented development complements, rather than competes with, the revitalization of Coatesville’s main street. a. Establish a TOD overlay zoning district (short-term) Coatesville must ensure that the parcels around the new Amtrak station are appropriately zoned to attract private development. A TOD zoning overlay district is a necessary first step. Unfortunately, the present station area plan dedicates much of the prime parcels around the new train station to surface parking, an indication that the entities involved in its creation are more concerned with attracting commuters from outside of the city limits than making this area beneficial to Coatesville residents. This plan proposes a modified site plan that includes more public space, framed by taller buildings, while still accommodating some additional parking. The TOD overlay zoning district should encompass Fleetwood Street, 3rd Avenue, Diamond Street, and 4th Avenue (See Figure 5-1). By including 3rd and 4th Avenues, this overlay seeks to connect the blocks around the Amtrak station to the Lincoln Highway commercial corridor. The area north of the tracks should not be included in the TOD overlay, as the steep terrain makes intense development both undesirable and impracticable. Within this mixed-use district, maximum building height should be increased to four or five stories on streets nearest the train station (Fleetwood and Lumber) and two to three stories on streets further from the station (Chestnut and Diamond). Furthermore, within this district, new buildings will be designed to promote pedestrian activity through techniques such as zero lot lines, fenestration, and compatible signage. The creation of a TOD overlay presents minimal costs to the city, requiring little more than time dedicated by the City Council and city staff. However, to support related studies and development, Coatesville should apply for a Transportation and Community Development Initiative grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). This program provides planning grants to local governments so that municipalities may “create plans that link transportation improvements with land use strategies, enhance established communities, and build upon existing public and private assets…to create more vital and livable neighborhoods in the region’s core cities and disadvantaged communities” (DVRPC 2014). The redevelopment of the Coatesville Amtrak station makes the city a prime candidate for this program, which provides grants for up to $100,000 to support projects like those proposed here. TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT Figure 5-1.  TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT ZONING OVERLAY DISTRICT
  47. 47. 47Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Figure 5-2.  TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT TARGET AREA Figure 5-3.  AFTER COMPLETION OF TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT b. Coordinate bus service to the new Amtrak station and institute annual service evaluations (short-term) Amtrak anticipates that a new train station in Coatesville will attract more riders. The challenge for the city is providing the opportunity for these riders to arrive to, and depart from, the station without using their cars. This will certainly be supported by the creation of the complete streets network discussed later in this plan. The city should also seek to provide bus service directly to the train station to supplement existing bus routes. The timing of this route’s arrivals and departures should be coordinated around the train schedules to provide train travelers with an incentive to travel by bus to reach their final destination in or near Coatesville. A number of entities currently run bus routes through Coatesville, thus this action requires that the city work closely with these entities to establish where and when this new route will run and how it will be financed. Because these organizations already operate several bus routes, the increased costs associated with this new route are marginal. Moreover, once this partnership has been established, Coatesville should work with the other entities to annually assess bus ridership and service levels and set coordinated standards for service. These annual assessments will allow thecontributingorganizationstoidentifypriorities,eliminate redundancies, and make accurate demand projections. The city could defray the costs associated with this effort by applying for a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the Bus Efficiency Enhancements Research and Demonstrations program, which supports local efforts to improve the efficiency of bus transit (USDOT 2013). Through this coordinated effort, Coatesville can ensure that it is providing adequate bus service as efficiently as possible, thereby reducing operating costs. c. Conduct a feasibility study for the return of SEPTA regional rail service (long-term) SEPTA discontinued regional rail service to Coatesville in 1997, as it deemed demand was insufficient. The most westward SEPTA station is now at Downingtown, and it is clear that Coatesville has missed out on residential and commercial growth that has been directed to other suburban centers in Chester County, such as Downingtown, Thorndale, Paoli, and Exton. While the presence of a SEPTA regional rail stop in these localities is not the only reason for their growth, the existence of rail transit has certainly been a contributing factor. This plan posits that the reconstruction of the Coatesville train station, coupled with the focused investments in downtownrevitalization,willbothstabilizethecityandmake it an attractive place to live and work. In five to eight years, Coatesville will be a place where commuters both arrive and depart. The Amtrak Keystone line provides a certain level of service between the city and regional economic centers such as Lancaster and Philadelphia. However, commuting increasingly occurs between suburbs, not necessarily between outer towns and these major cities. In fact, the data presented in this plan shows that the overwhelming majority of Coatesville’s workers work outside of the city but within Chester County, demonstrating a need for alternative modes of intercity commuting within the county. Thus Coatesville will have a strong case to make to SEPTA that the authority should reestablish regional rail service to the city. This proposal would require minimal capital outlays, as SEPTA regional rail service travels on the same tracks as the Amtrak Keystone service. With a new train station funded by federal and state sources, SEPTA would only be required to cover the costs of operating the service. These costs may be defrayed by the increased ridership at the Coatesville station. Objectives achieved: 2(b), 3(a), 3(b), 3(c)
  48. 48. 48 Chapter 5: Strategic Actions Lincoln Highway 4th Avenue 3rd Avenue E Chestnut Street Fleetwood Street Lincoln Highway 4th Avenue 3rd Avenue E Chestnut Street Fleetwood Street Lincoln Highway 4th Avenue 3rd Avenue E Chestnut Street Fleetwood Street Current location of the Amtrak station. A number of underutilized parking lots exist near the site of the new station. A presently vacant lot at 3rd Avenue and Lincoln Highway, a prime location. The city has cleared the station’s new location through eminent domain.
  49. 49. 49Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan Lincoln Highway 4th Avenue 3rd Avenue E Chestnut Street Fleetwood Street Fleetwood Street Lincoln Highway 4th Avenue 3rd Avenue E Chestnut Street Fleetwood Street Location of the new Amtrak station. The proposed site design for the new station includes much parking. Streetscaping on 3rd Avenue attracts pedestrians to Lincoln Highway. New shelters along the bus routes. SEPTA has a reason to restart service. New mid-rise, mixed-use buildings frame a new public space.
  50. 50. 50 Chapter 5: Strategic Actions THIRD AVENUE 0 ft 50 ft 7’8’ walking walkingparking parking 13’13’ 8’7’ Section Figure 5-4. EXISTING CONDITIONS ON 3RD AVENUE 3rd Avenue serves as an important connector between the existing and new train station and Lincoln Highway, Coatesville’s commercial corridor. However this street is currently not equipped with enough pedestrian-friendly infrastructure to encourage activity. The travel lanes are wide and the sidewalks are narrow, and many of the buildings along the avenue are vacant. Infill development in the TOD district must be coupled with street renovations to mitigate these issues and provide a better atmosphere for pedestrians and commuters. Narrower travel lanes will slow vehicular traffic, vegetative strips will separate sidewalks from the road, and trees will provide shade and visual interest for pedestrians.
  51. 51. 51Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan 0 ft 50 ft Parking 8’7’ 2’ Parking 11’ 11’ 7’8’ 2’ New Train Station Lincoln Hwy Section 0 ft 50 ft Parking 8’7’ 2’ Parking 11’ 11’ 7’8’ 2’ New Train Station Lincoln Hwy Section Figure 5-5. PROPOSED STREET IMPROVEMENTS ON THIRD AVENUE
  52. 52. 52 Chapter 5: Strategic Actions The multi-million-dollar investments into the relocationandreconstructionoftheCoatesville Amtrak station represent a tremendous opportunity for the city to attract residents and businesses to a centrally-located area presently marked by vacancy and deterioration. This plan proposes that Coatesville take targeted and proactive steps to ensure that the new station and the development it attracts will be as advantageous to the city and its residents as possible.
  53. 53. 53Coatesville Urban Strategic Plan
  54. 54. 54 Chapter 5: Strategic Actions Coatesville is blessed with a unique forested topography that provides an attractive backdrop for the city. Even more importantly, the Brandywine Creek runs through the middle of the city. Unfortunately, the creek serves more as a divider than a connecter, and Coatesville has turned its back on it. The ArcelorMittal steel mill and the historic Lukens administration building are situated within the 1% floodplain. The other portions of the creek that run through Coatesville are lined by roads and vacant land. These conditions have contributed to significant pollution, and the EPA has listed the Brandywine Creek as an impaired watercourse. ThisplanproposesthatCoatesvilleturnitsattentiontowards theBrandywineCreekandtreatitasanamenity.Thepurpose of this Strategic Action is not to prevent development in this central area of Coatesville, but rather to make resource protection and recreation priorities here. By treating the creek as a productive asset, Coatesville can use it as the seed of a citywide network of green infrastructure, which often proves to be a catalyst for economic development when carefully planned. This effort starts with the completion of a trail along the river, which will eventually extend to connect the city’s existing and proposed open spaces, all the way to Ash Park. This network will serve to provide a direct pedestrian and bicycle link between residents on the East and West sides of the creek, between residents and important historical sites, and between Coatesville and other regional municipalities. The new green spaces will provide opportunities for community interaction and incentivize alternative modes of transportation. Coatesville is beginning to recognize the value of the Brandywine Creek. The city has constructed a quarter-mile public trail segment on the creek’s west side, from Lincoln Highway to Glencrest Road, near the intersection with First Avenue. Here the city has also installed gazebos donated by the Rotary Club (City of Coatesville 2014a). There is therefore some evidence that the construction of this green infrastructure network could be partially financed by public funds and private donations. As discussed in detail below, the construction of a green infrastructure network through Coatesville could receive political and financial support from the city’s neighbors. Coatesville should also apply for a grant, for up to $250,000, under the Pennsylvania Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. This program allocates funds for the “planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and Establish a public amenities and open space corridor along and across the Brandywine Creek. PUBLIC AMENITIES AND OPEN SPACE Figure 5-6.  EXISTING OPEN SPAGES ARE NOT CONNECTED beautification projects” (PA 2014a). This Strategic Action will also be supported by a number of initiatives discussed under other strategic actions, particularly the establishment of a community land trust that could accept private donations of land along the creek. Interestingly, the City of Coatesville and the Redevelopment Authority already own most of the land along the Brandywine Creek, thus in many instances the city would not be required to acquire land, the most costly element of a green infrastructure network. a. Establish a conservation overlay zoning district (short-term) To support the establishment of the Brandywine Creek trail, and to enhance and protect the quality of the creek, Coatesville should establish a conservation overlay district. Parcels within this district will be required to comply with a number of “low-impact” restrictions. First, all new development within 100 feet of the Brandywine Creek should be prohibited. Secondly, new development should be prohibited on slopes greater than 30%, and only single- family homes should be permitted on slopes greater than