21th century about Coatesville, PA

Considering that the turn of the century, Coatesville has invested in redevelopment, encouraging private projects. It has torn down abandoned public housing, built a regional recreation center, and encouraged new single family and townhouse developments. Of late, some mixed use projects were built to include retail, office, and condominium housing. The local Amtrak station has been renovated. A new Marriott Courtyard hotel, built along Route 82 on the outskirts of Coatesville, opened in May 2012.

The redevelopment plans have generated controversy. The city has been associated with a 5-year eminent domain dispute with a local landowner in neighboring Valley Township. It has been resolved without the need to seize the property, but displeasure with the events triggered the city voters turning out four incumbent city councilpersons in the November 2005 general elections. Two of the four new councilpersons are ordained Pentecostal and Methodist ministers, respectively. The town council has fired the town solicitor, and accepted the resignation of the city manager (who had negotiated with the Valley Township landowner). The assistant manager, police chief, and city treasurer have also resigned.

A series of arsons took place in the city from 2007 to early 2009. A December 2008 fire at a Strode Avenue home resulted in the death of Irene Kempest, an 83-year-old World War II Holocaust survivor. A fire the following month on the 300 block of Fleetwood Street burned 17 row houses, causing $2 million in damage and leaving dozens of people homeless. By March 2009, police had arrested six suspects in the fires. A total of nearly 70 fires occurred during this period. On June 8, 2010 one man, pleading no-contest due to mental infection, was sentenced to a 60-year prison sentence for five of the fires, one of which resulted in Kempest’s death. Another man pleaded guilty to the Fleetwood Street fire and eight others, receiving a sentence of 12. 5 to 25 years with an order to pay for $2. 5 million in restitution. Twenty of the nearly 70 fires within the two-year span remain unsolved.

In 1969 Lukens Steel forged steel beams for the World Trade Center to be constructed in Nyc. Some of these beams, known as “trees”, remained standing after the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. Ten of the “trees” that remained were transported to Coatesville on April 15, 2010. They are to be used as an element of the proposed National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum.

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The Coatesville Historic District, Clement Atkinson Memorial Hospital, High Bridge, Abram Huston House and Carriage House, Lukens Historic District, Lukens Main Office Building, National Bank of Coatesville Building, and Terracina are resources listed on the National Register of Historic Places.