Downingtown showcases growth, economic development & vitality

Progress, prosperity & quality of life remain key focus

By Kim Chiomento, News Editor, The Times


Downingtown Mayor, Josh Maxwell, discusses revitalization initiatives with meeting attendees

DOWNINGTOWN – Chester County business and political leaders, non-profit organizations and interested community members packed Victory Brewing Company Friday morning to learn more about major economic development projects slated for Downingtown. The meeting was emceed by Downingtown’s Mayor, Josh Maxwell, and featured presenters from key aspects of the revitalization efforts.

Mike Grigalonis, Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President – Chester County Economic Development Council, explained that the historic boroughs of Chester County, like Downingtown, are alive with revitalization initiatives, “From Phoenixville to West Chester to Kennett Square, boroughs are thriving in their own character and feel.”

Grigalonis noted that the prospect a state of the art train station brings cannot be underestimated. While station planning and negotiations are is still underway, he remarked, “I am confident that a state of the art station will occur.”

Affordable, commuter-friendly housing remains a key focus of the revitalization efforts. Developer Sarah Peck, President – Progressive Housing Ventures (PHV), is enthusiastic about historic Downingtown’s appeal, “Downingtown has an open-minded city council, access to Amtrak and regional rail, trails, parks, wonderful architecture, great schools and a terrific cross section of people….We are seeing a real hunger for housing that is affordable, low maintenance and offers a truly walkable lifestyle.”

PHV has submitted an application for development of the ‘mill race’ section with 70 townhomes featuring a park in the center and plans for an eventual link to the Schuylkill Trail.

Eli Kahn, President – EKahn Development, has been a long-time advocate for Downingtown’s potential.  Kahn owns the now famous Victory Brewing Company facility that currently employees 180 people, mostly Downingtown residents.  Kahn enthusiastically reflected, “To see where Downingtown has come in the past 20 years or so since I became involved with Victory, is truly incredible.  It is the center of Chester County and is growing, growing and growing; the future development possibilities it offers are incredible as well.”


Local entrepreneurs, Dana and Pete Petrizzio, discuss their plans for the Farmhouse Coffee & Espresso Bar

Kahn is working on a mixed-use project involving the Downingtown Country Club that also includes build high-end single homes and townhomes, “This community will capitalize on all the great things you just heard Downingtown has to offer.”

Local entrepreneurs, Dana and Pete Petrizzio, shared their plans for the Farmhouse Coffee and Espresso Bar. It will be located at 115 W. Lancaster Ave once their renovations to the old, now vacant building are completed. The Petrizzios are seeking to meet the needs of residents, groups and businesses to gather while also being family-friendly.

Dana Petrizzio says, “A great coffee house should create an aura of community, escape, be cozy and comfortable; our goal is to be equally accommodating to families and companies alike.”  She added, “The Farmhouse will have a really good hometown feel…it will not be ‘city’ but instead, capture Downingtown’s feel.  We will insist upon high-quality products, healthy options and unique offerings from locally sourced vendors.”

Community advocates also highlighted numerous events and initiatives underway that serve charities and local residents while fostering Downingtown’s strong sense of community.

Dr. Christine Meyers, founder of the charitable fund Team CMMD and community activist, enthusiastically shared what her charity is doing in Downingtown and across the region to help fight cancer.  Team CCMD also focuses on feeding the hungry, assisting local shelters and offer scholarships to area youth.


Dolly Wideman-Scott, CEO – Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, challenged guests to take action now against domestic violence.

Founded in January 2013, CMMD has grown to nearly 1,200 volunteers, 300 active runners and cyclists.  According to its home page it has raised an impressive $550,000 for the American Cancer Society, $50,000 for local families touched by cancer, 12,000 lbs. of food for The Lord’s Pantry of Downingtown, 1,100 coats to shelter for women and children, donated 44 units of blood and raised $20,000 for local student scholarships.  Meyers encouraged everyone to get involved and be a part of the movement; more information can be found on CMMD’s website listed above.

Dolly Wideman-Scott, CEO of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC), challenged attendees to “Stand up, speak-up and take action… stand together and strongly say domestic violence and sexual assault NO MORE!” by joining her at DVCCC’s Rally to End Domestic Violence on Sunday, October 18 – 1 PM, at Downingtown’s Kerr Park.  She will be joined by Senator Andy Dinniman, District Attorney Tom Hogan and Mayor Maxwell.

Bill Covaleski, Brewmaster and President, Victory Brewing Company announced a 60% increase to its Headwaters Charitable grant, which supports local clean water advocacy groups.  The funding originally came from a portion of local sales of its popular Headwaters Ale. To date, $35,000 has been donated to these groups. Victory brewing will now be incorporating a portion of its national sales to bolster the grant’s reach.

Friday’s meeting was a joint media event hosted by the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry, Downingtown Main Street Association & Downingtown-Thorndale Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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  1. Kat says:

    The correct website for Team CMMD is! Thank you for covering this event. It was so nice to meet you!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Kat for catching my error…I’ve update the Times sites. Great meeting you as well! Keep in touch! Best, Kim

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