MALVERN >> Classic.
That’s what the borough now is as it joins others in the area that are part of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Classic Towns of Great Philadelphia program.
The organization says Malvern, a town of 3,000 residents, is “a desirable mix of Victorian charm and modern amenities” that makes it “an ideal Classic Town.”
There are 22 municipalities designated as Classic Towns by DVRPC. They are: Ambler, Bordentown City, Cheltenham, Collingswood, Germantown, Glassboro, Haddon Heights, Jenkintown, Kennett Square, Lansdale, Lansdowne, Malvern, Manayunk, Media, Merchantville, Moorestown, New Hope, Oxford, Phoenixville, Quakertown, Souderton/Telford, and West Chester.
Malvern fit the criteria for the Classic Towns designation in several areas, said Karen Cilurso, manager of community revitalization for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: public transportation access, historic structures, walkability; and varied housing stock.
“It fits the bill in all of them,” Cilurso said. “Access to transit is important. One of the goals of the DVRPC is to create less sprawl and to encourage development near trains.”
Malvern’s 1889 farming roots are evident everywhere, the program noted, from its devotion to outdoor parks and conserved land, to its historically significant sites. The Pennsylvania Railroad played an important role in the history of Malvern, growing the borough from a stop between towns to a large transit hub on SEPTA’s Regional Rail line, Classic Towns said.
With the continued expansion of the rail system, more people and businesses relocated to Malvern, transforming it into a central shopping destination on the Main Line.
“Through the years, Malvern has maintained its historic appeal while also developing into a stylish and contemporary suburban community, making it the perfect place for a wide variety of people to call ‘home sweet home,’” the organization wrote in welcoming Malvern.
The program dovetails into Chester County’s program to promote development in its urban areas, Cilurso noted.
The chairman of the Chester County Commissioners agreed.
“We are thrilled Malvern has joined the Classic Towns program and will be associated with a group of the best communities in our region,” said Michelle Kichline, chairman of the Chester County Commissioners and DVRPC Board Member. “The Classic Towns program will help us spread the word to potential residents and business owners about all the benefits of locating here – including our charming Victorian homes, restaurants and shops, community parks, and transit station.”
Chris Bashore, Malvern’s borough manager, said he reached out to Jenkintown, where he had previously worked, to find out how they liked the program.
“They were very pleased, so I brought it to our council and they agreed to give it a shot,” Bashore said. “It’s a good opportunity to get the word out about the borough throughout the region and help promote the community.”
There is a cost to joining – $2,500 a year, or $7 a day, as Cilurso prefers to put it. The borough committed to two years and will re-evaluate the program at the end of the second year, Bashore said.
To view Malvern’s Classic Towns webpage, visit www.classictowns.org/malvern.