Lancaster County Convention Center Gets Deadline Extension On Debt

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lancaster County Convention Center is living on borrowed time.

With less than three weeks to go before the center’s $64 million in construction debt was due to be restructured — pushing interest rates higher — officials on Friday extended the financing for three more months.

The move buys time for negotiation with lender Wells Fargo to come to terms the center can live with.

A consultant sounded the alarm a year ago that the nearly 4-year-old center could be forced to close if revenues were not significantly increased or financing fees cut.

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Record Numbers Return For 6th Annual Polar Plunge

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POCOPSON — You would think the drop in temperature from all this snowstorm business would stop people from jumping into frigid waters.

But you would be wrong.  Because over 250 people with that very mindset thrashed about in the 38 degree Brandywine Creek on Saturday morning, and all in the name of a good cause.

A quick check of the hourly breakdown on at around 9:30 in the morning said the air temperature for splashdown at the Brandywine Valley Association’s annual Polar Plunge – usually around 11:30 – would be a brisk 29 degrees.

Of course with the wind chill factor, that drops to 15 degrees.

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Baseball: Piazza Coming To Collegeville In Support Of Autobiography ‘Long Shot’

English: baseball legend Mike Piazza

English: baseball legend Mike Piazza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLLEGEVILLE — The book is appropriately named.

This week, when “Long Shot” is officially released, a lot of the questions baseball fans have had about Mike Piazza and, of course, all the questions the media has asked Mike Piazza as well as the controversial stories they’ve written about the former Major League star, will be addressed in it.

And the Phoenixville High School graduate — a 62nd round draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers who became the greatest hitting catcher in the game before retiring just over five years ago — will be putting his signature on the autobiography during a book signing 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Towne Book Center and Café just off Route 29.

It will be Piazza’s only appearance in Pennsylvania during the publisher’s media tour.

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The Guys Behind West Philly’s New High Rise

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The $158 million, 33-story Grove high-rise, planned for 850 Penn and Drexel students, adjoining the two campuses on a Penn-owned property at 2930 Chestnut St. in Brandywine Realty Trust‘s Cira South development, will stand out among East Coast college housing projects.

For one thing, it’s taller. Boston University boasts a landmark 26-story dorm with spectacular views.  New York University cancelled plans for a 38-story tower after Greenwich Village neighbors and architect I.M. Pei protested.  Penn’s three 25-story undergrad dorms have anchored “Superblock” (“an architectual conceptual disaster,” according to this 1999 Pa. Gazette review) on the west end of campus since the 1970s.  Temple’s new Morgan Hall dominates the view to Center City from 21 stories above North Philly.

Also, like other Penn student housing projects in recent years, Grove is a private effort, though on a bigger scale: It will boast its own health club and pool, Internet and cable, and rents starting above $1,300/month for a single (there’ll also be suites with up to three bedrooms.)

The project’s backers hope it will reverse the long flow of graduate students into West Philly‘s mixed residential neighborhoods and booming Center City and slowing growth to the student ghetto locally dominated by outfits like Michael Karp’s University City Housing Corp. and David Adelman’s more upscale Campus Apartments (home of the Beige Blocks).

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Montco Commissioners ‘Listening Tour’ Comes To Pottstown Monday

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Maybe they should call this the magical mystery tour!

POTTSTOWN — Issues of low-income housing concentrations and economic development are likely to command the agenda Monday when the Montgomery County Commissioners come to town as part of their ongoing “listening tour.”

The commissioners are holding the open meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the Montgomery County Community College on College Drive.

The meetings serve as a way for residents to get answers and for the commissioners to get a sense of issues their constituents care about as a way to inform important decisions, particularly budget decisions, said Frank Custer, the county’s communications director.

It is the fourth of five such meetings set up around the county that so far have attracted moderate interest from the public, according to Custer.

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Smoother Berks Roads Ahead?

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County would enjoy smoother roads and sturdier bridges if the $1.8 billion annual boost to statewide transportation funds Gov. Tom Corbett pitched last week becomes reality, local officials said.

At a minimum, the funds would stop the backlog of bridge and highway repairs needed in Berks from growing, said Alan D. Piper, county transportation planner.

But over time, PennDOT could catch up on repairs and focus on expanding traffic-prone highways such as Route 222 and the West Shore Bypass, he said.

“There’s no doubt that it will be beneficial,” Piper said. “Does it solve all our problems? Probably not. But it’s a gigantic step in the right direction.”

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