Top 10 local stories of 2020

This year was an unusual year news-wise as it was completely dominated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we did put COVID-19 stories on the list, we did weed through all the stories and tried to flesh out the things people might have missed.

In no particular order:

  • Two large office buildings were under construction in Conshohocken throughout 2021. The office building at SORA West (West Elm and Fayette) will be home to AmerisourceBergen sometime during 2021. Seven Tower Bridge, on Conshohocken’s riverfront, will be the home of Hamilton Lane sometime in 2021.
  • The Plymouth Meeting Mall was in the news throughout the year due to the financial difficulties of its parent company. It started the year on a bright spot with the opening of new tenants in the former Macy’s space including Miller’s Ale House, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Edge Fitness.
  • The resilience of the businesses starting in March with the first shutdown was news throughout the year. Restaurants moved all or most dining outside, tents and bubbles popped up around town, delivery options expanded, cocktails to-go were added, and more, the local restaurants have adjusted their businesses to survive until things open back up. Fitness-oriented businesses have also shed studios for outdoor classes and moved online as they wait out the pandemic.
  • The housing market locally continued to have high demand and a lack of inventory. Historically low interest rates drove people to look to buy, but there were few sellers in the market. This drove up prices.
  • Getting around got a bit easier in 2020. A portion of Butler Pike in Plymouth Meeting reopened in December after being closed since August of 2018. West Valley Green Road Bridge in Whitemarsh reopened to traffic after on-and-off closures hindered traffic in Whitemarsh for several years. The bridge is opened temporarily with restrictions. A new bridge is planned.
  • The Colonial School District mostly avoided ongoing controversy surrounding its decision on its instructional models during the pandemic. In some neighboring and nearby districts, public meetings are still contentious and parents in Facebook groups continue to debate the issue every day.
  • While county and state governments have issued guidance and orders pertaining to restricting business during the pandemic, the local government in Conshohocken has mostly tried to help. From closing streets for outdoor dining, allowing tents on sidewalks, and prohibiting parking in front of restaurants to allow for easier curbside pickup, local officials have done things they wouldn’t have even considered during normal times.
  • A few protests surrounding Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd took place in the Conshohockens, Lafayette Hill, and Plymouth Meeting. All were peaceful.
  • Back in January, Conshohocken’s Borough Council won its appeal of the Zoning Hearing Board decision to invalidate ordinance that would allow a Wawa. This decision was of course appealed by the other side. Haven’t heard anything since. Still no Wawa.
  • Conshohocken was once a steel town and for the past several decades the importance of the steel mill has dwindled. However, in 2020 it came back under American ownership and while it will never be what it once was, there is now hope it won’t completely disappear in the near future.