Road project planned for growing retail centers in West Chester

The project, which will be paid for via $5 million in tax increment financing funding, will extend Streets of West Chester’s Civic Centre Boulevard a little more than half a mile south to Allen Road, creating a four-way intersection with that road and Windisch Road.

The newly created stretch of roadway will provide access to Bass Pro Shops, a 150,000-square-foot project scheduled to open in 2016.

The new road also will connect Allen Road with Streets of West Chester and its planned second phase, which is slated to open in spring 2016.

The project has been planned, budgeted and listed as a capital improvement project of the township’s since 2010 with the intention of moving forward when development dictated the need for the extension, according to township officials.

“With the announcement of Bass Pro Shops and the extension and expansion of The Streets of West Chester, that was the development needed to warrant the improvements,” said Judi Boyko, the township’s administrator.

Bass Pro Shops moving to the 22-acre site and The Street of West Chester’s planned expansion just next door “really continues to solidify the development anchor at all of our key interchanges,” Boyko said.

Trustees on Tuesday approved West Chester Twp.-based The Kleingers Group’s professional design and engineering services at a cost not to exceed $262,000.

The project will be designed to improve the traffic flow through the growing retail, residential and corporate center complex in an effort to alleviate increased traffic at the intersecting streets and offer direct benefit to the existing and future developers of the affected properties, according to Barb Wilson, the township’s spokeswoman.

The road should be under construction by late next spring or early summer, Boyko said.

Extending Civic Centre Boulevard and improving the Allen Road-Windisch Road intersection will link destination retailers, IKEA and Bass Pro Shops, in a more efficient and direct manner, she said.

But Gary Culbreth, who owns Streets of West Chester ice cream shop The Creamery, said he is slightly afraid of the shopping center becoming a “bloody mess” if construction-based traffic is allowed through both sides of the plaza while the new road and retail projects are being built.

“I’ve seen this happen before,” he said. “We’ve built other stores and the roads will be so filthy out there, people would quit coming down there and shopping because it was so dirty.”

Still, Culbreth said he is hopeful that the eventual outcome — having two ways to access The Streets of West Chester and bringing more retail to the area — will ultimately benefit his business, as well as others.

“If you bring more people down here, more recognition, I think common sense just tells you it’s going to be a good thing for the center,” he said.

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