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Authentic: Ray Ott & Associates
WEST CHESTER CONTINUES to garner accolades for its walk-able streets, small businesses, historic preservation, and all-around livability. This is due, in no small part, to Ray Ott’s involvement in the community.
Ray’s a West Chester resident and booster, and an award-winning town and land planner, advocating for returning small towns to the community centers they were before suburban sprawl. It’s not just an abstract concept for him. It’s personal.
“I live a couple blocks away and walk here and back every day,” he says, in his office on S. Church Street. His dog, Gina, usually accompanies him. In West Chester, Ray has served on councils, boards, and was the chair of the Business Improvement District. He co-authored the West Chester Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan, which is in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s library as a best practices resource for other community planners to use.
Ray also served on the board of directors for the Society for Commercial Archeology, which documents and tries to save significant roadside Americana. “It grew out of my love for diners,” he says. “The stainless steel varieties made in New Jersey and the enamel steel ones from New England.”
Ray is also a sailor and races boats. Now he uses his skills to charter and sail places as disparate as Croatia and the Caribbean. “I loved the Croatia trip,” he says. “You can sail from towns one day to cities the next.” Even on water, Ray is looking for a good town to walk through.