Friends of
Marshall Square Park
• West Chester, Pennsylvania

Meeting Minutes
September 28, 2005

Attending (10): Jeff Beitel, Sue Casso, Dianne Herrin, Deb Pekala, Shelagh Purnell, Lane Randall, Bob Rogers, Jim Salvas, Linda Scott, Anne Walters.

Review of Minutes

  • The minutes from our last meeting were approved with no changes.
  • Unfinished Prior Action Items
    • Holly is on vacation, so we will follow-up on her action items from last month at our next meeting.
    • Linda will follow-up with Bill and provide copies of the Master Plan to all interested group members.
Treasurer’s Report
  • No change since last month. The group agreed to track contributions by project/contributor intent.
  • Please note: We are actively accepting donations!
Committee Reports

Borough Liaison Committee:
  • Recreation Commission Meeting: Anne and Deb attended the September meeting. The commission was very supportive but made it clear that our group should raise funds to facilitate the project.
  • Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Committee Meeting: Anne and Jeff attended this meeting. This committee was very supportive and placed $29,000 in the budget so the request will be considered as the borough’s 2006 budgeting process continues throughout the next several months.

    This committee also encouraged us to puruse additional funding options, including a grant application (Pennsylvania Community and Economic Development Grant) recently obtained by Deb Pekala by way of E.Z. Taylor’s office.

  • Community and Economic Development Grant: Jeff is spearheading the research required to complete this lengthy grant application, which requires detailed itemization of all project costs. He will aim to meet a Dec 31 grant application deadline. There is a later, “drop deadline” of April 30.

    As the official owners of Marshall Square Park, the borough must complete and submit the application, and Shelagh Purnell has kindly agreed to manage this process, after our group has compiled the needed cost information. Deb noted that we can submit the same grant through both the state House and Senate, and we agreed to pursue this course.

Projects/Planning Committee:
  • Swiss Cottage Restoration: Jeff has created architectural drawings of the required renovations, which include an entirely new foundation and significant structural work.

    Bill Scott (in absentia) proposed rotating the face of the cottage approximately 45 degrees so it will face toward the center of the park and will be in line with the path that now leads to it. The group unanimously supported this idea for two reasons.

    First, this will obviate the need to move the entire structure twice. This is important because the condition of the cottage is tenuous, and moving it will be a significant undertaking. (A note of explanation: To maintain the current position, the cottage would need to be moved off the foundation and subsequently moved back onto the new foundation. By relocating the cottage slightly, the contractor can build the new foundation first, then place the cottage onto it in a single move.)

    Second, this slight relocation will better integrate the cottage within the park and allow citizens to use it as a concession stand during community events.

    Shelagh noted that relocation may necessitate involvement of the Planning Commission.

    Cosmetically, Jeff hopes to restore the cottage to its original color by taking paint shavings. He also hopes to find photos of the original cottage so we can mimic the original doorway. The current double doors are not in keeping with the original architecture.

  • Action Items:
    1- Shelagh will follow-up to determine if Planning Commission involvement will be necessary.
    2- Jeff will contact contractors to obtain bids/quotes.
Fundraising Committee:
  • Photo Cards: We reiterated our strong interest in selling Marybeth’s park photo cards, especially in light of the upcoming holidays. In Marybeth’s absence, Jim agreed to work with her to obtain the photos and produce the cards.
  • Other Gift Items: Sue suggested considering other gift items, like tote bags with our logo on them. She advised keeping this in mind during logo development, so our logo can be easily reproduced/screened.
  • Bingo: Deb revisited the idea of a bingo fundraiser. The group liked this idea and felt this may be best scheduled after the holidays, perhaps this winter.
  • Action Item:
    1- Jim will follow-up with Marybeth to set in action a plan for producing the note cards.
Communications/Membership Committees:
  • New Committee Structure: The group agreed to split the membership and communications functions into two committees. Sue Casso/Bob Rogers will head the Membership Committee, and Lane Randall/Jim Salvas will head the Communications Committee. The two groups will work closely together.
  • Logo: Jim presented drafts of his proposed logos. The group was very enthusiastic about the concept of framing the logo with our street names (see sample on last page). Anne asked Jim to attempt a second draft with a tree or trees as the central art, rather than the Swiss Cottage. The rationale is that few people consider the Swiss Cottage to be a symbol of our park. On the other hand, the park was first created as an arboretum. We agreed that the logo should remain simple in order to be effective.
  • Website: Lane has created a website ( and agreed to create an e-mail address for interested citizens/potential members. All e-mails will be forwarded to the relevant committeeperson with a cc to Dianne so she can keep the e-mail list updated for minutes and reminders.
  • Public Relations/Recruitment: Shelagh has placed information about our group in the Recreation Commission newsletter and will follow-up on the feasibility of placing a weblink in the newsletter, as well. Sue suggested setting up a table at the Oct. 8 Marshall Square Park Harvest Festival, and the group agreed. Various group members signed up to man the table in one-hour shifts.
  • Action Items:
    1- Sue/Lane/Jim will make needed preparations for the Harvest Festival, including the creation of a simple recruitment flyer.
    2- Sue will follow-up to see if we can place information about our group in the next borough newsletter, including a weblink.
    3- Shelagh will determine if weblinks can be included in the newsletter and include it if permissible.
Other Items
  • Mission Statement: The current draft is attached to the end of these minutes and includes all comments/corrections received to date. We will vote to finalize/adopt this statement at our next meeting.
  • Old-Fashioned Christmas: Jeff proposed placing luminaria around the entire park as part of our old-fashioned Christmas. The group liked the idea and agreed to pursue it.
  • Meeting Reminders: There is a need to send out monthly meeting reminders.
  • Action Items:
    1- Jeff will calculate luminaria needs and costs.
    2- Linda will lead this effort as a member of the Fundraising Committee. This includes exploring the idea of asking folks to sponsor luminaria bags and contacting the Chamber of Commerce to obtain a mention of our effort in its Old Fashioned Christmas communications and appropriate advertisements/publications.
    3- Dianne will send out a monthly reminder to our e-mail list before each meeting.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 7pm, Borough Hall

Sample Draft Logo (to be revised):

Updated September 29, 2005

The Friends of Marshall Square Park is a group of concerned residents formed to support the care, preservation and improvement of our park for the benefit of the citizens of the Borough of West Chester.

  1. Preserve the park, including the arboretum, hardscape, and all historic structures.
  2. Heighten awareness at the Borough Parks and Recreation Department and among Borough Council members of the existence and mission of the Friends of Marshall Square Park.
  3. Prioritize and define park projects and present them for approval and funding to the borough.
  4. Raise additional funds through membership fees, donations, grants and fundraising events.
  5. Increase membership and awareness of our group by advertising in borough publications and promoting our group and its mission via literature drops, events, newspaper articles and word of mouth.
  6. Encourage responsible use of the park for the enjoyment of all residents by promoting appropriately scaled community activities in the park.