Chester Spirit: CCSA acquires long-vacant public housing land in Chester

CCSA acquires long-vacant public housing land in Chester
By Staff Report, Chester Spirit
July 29, 2015
Original Article

The Chester Charter School for the Arts (CCSA) is coming home to Chester, thanks to a $2.3 million agreement to purchase an 11-acre site from the Chester Housing Authority (CHA).

The site is located on Highland Ave. from just above 12th St. to Township Line Rd.

CHA, which manages about 20 percent of the city’s rental properties, had wanted, since the late 1990’s, to sell the land to developers for the purpose of constructing a supermarket and mixed retail mall-like complex in a city that once had 11 supermarkets, but not had one since the 1990’s when the last one closed.

Chester ultimately got a small supermarket – Fare & Square – at 9th and Booth sts., away from the Highland Ave. site. A second market, Bottom Dollar, was built from the ground up, but closed after just a few months of operating when Aldi acquired its parent company and decided to close the store.

Over a nearly 20-year period, there were many false hopes fueled by a myriad of proposals – some leaked and some publicly announced – that ultimately went nowhere.

According to a press release issued by CHA, the authority “ultimately decided that having a high quality school in the community represented the best opportunity to support the city’s ongoing recovery.”

“Our mission is to provide well-managed and maintained properties for upward moving Chester families. This means concerning ourselves with more than just housing, including improving local education,” said CHA Executive Director Steven A. Fischer.  “When we entered into discussions about CCSA acquiring this land and building a new school there, we felt what a meaningful addition it would be to the community. We are gratified to be able to play a role in this move and engage in this partnership.”

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