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Giving Back: Richard May
SIPPING COCKTAILS, Richard May talked with friends about what West Chester needed. A waterfront and a theater were suggested. “We decided rerouting the Brandywine wasn’t plausible,” he deadpans. “But a theater was possible.” The Uptown! Entertainment Alliance was formed. “We took a blood oath to make it happen.”
With Linda Foster, Tom McEvoy, and Angeline May, Richard worked to make it real. Richard has also been involved in improving West Chester since moving here in 1978 from outside Washington, DC. On a map, he and wife hisJulie drew a circle representing a three-hour drive from DC. They wanted a county seat with good schools and housing, near a big city, and maybe a college. “I visited several and told Julie we were moving to West Chester.”
The borough was quieter then—he took a golf club when walking at night. “Not that it was dangerous,” Richard says. “It was just so deserted and I didn’t know if it was dangerous.” He felt like an outsider, and remedied that by getting involved. Richard has worked with the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Improvement District, and threw his hat in the ring for the Borough Council, among other projects.
Richard was named the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year for 2016. “It was humbling,” he says. “But wonderful to be told ‘You’ve done a good job.’” While that might have been a capper on a life of service, Richard’s not done.
“I’ve got one more community project left in me,” he promises. “But I’m not going to tell you what it is.” Based on his record, it’s destined to be great.