As Caretakers of Their Community, Chester County’s Millennial Mayors Rose to the COVID-19 Challenge

Image via Philadelphia magazine.
Josh Maxwell, bottom left, and Peter Urscheler, bottom right.

Chester County boasts several millennial mayors, and when the coronavirus arrived in their communities, they rose to the challenge and dealt with the growing number of issues that came with it, writes Sandy Hingston for Philadelphia magazine.

Some of them knew the pandemic represented a threat well before it finally spread into the area. Phoenixville mayor Peter Urscheler began making plans for the pandemic during a meeting with the borough’s office of emergency management in December 2019.

“We were dusting off old plans for dealing with a pandemic, looking at a variety of scenarios, sitting in a meeting room at Phoenixville Hospital,” said Urscheler.

During the pandemic, Urscheler kept in contact with residents through Zoom, and he tried to keep many local traditions going in a virtual format.

“We had a virtual tree lighting,” he said. “The Firebird Festival was virtual.”

Meanwhile, Josh Maxwell, the former mayor of Downingtown, had just switched to his new job as a Chester County Commissioner and immediately realized he would need a different approach.

“As mayor, you help people on an individual basis,” he said. “Now, helping to run a county this size — you can’t find the time to talk to everybody.”

Read more about the mayors in Philadelphia magazine here.