Balancing Progress and Preservation – Citation Sites
A look back at the transformation of economic development throughout Chester County since 1960.
Prior to the Chester County Economic Development Council’s (CCEDC) formation in December, 1960, most of the industrial and commercial development had occurred in the eastern end of the county.
There were enormous opportunities for growth west of Paoli, especially along the major road networks and railroad tracks that traversed the county. At that time though, there was no consistent industrial zoning throughout the county.
To help with growth and development, CCEDC stepped in to fill that void by working with the various municipalities to facilitate site selection. This partnership helped establish a land inventory along the main transportation corridors by identifying more than 60 “Citation Sites.”
These sites designated future business and corporate parks throughout the county and CCEDC reached out to commercial realtors and local banks for their help in urging companies to relocate to the area.
Additional incentives included low taxes, cheap land, a diverse workforce, and great schools for the families of employees. Coincidentally, many of these benefits are still relevant today and continue to be a draw for business and residents to choose Chester County for their home.
Even back in 1975, CCEDC recognized the importance of balancing business growth and residential amenities – “Our growth has presented concerns about housing, proper taxation, and public services; and maintaining quality educational, health and safety, transportation, and recreational facilities is a priority.”
By all accounts, the Citation Site program was a success and there was exponential growth throughout the county.
CCEDC’s annual report for 1978-1979 noted that “During the past 12 months, Chester County has experienced a very noticeable physical change over its landscape. New construction seems to be looming everywhere whether it be residential, commercial, or industrial development.”
CCEDC’s motto is “growing business, growing smart.” This mindset has been consistently demonstrated throughout its 56-year history and will continue going forward as the organization strives to truly make Chester County the best place to live, work, and play.