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New Hope Borough Council president confirms talks with Bucks County Playhouse to resolve visitors center crisis

new hope free press visitors center signNew Hope Borough Council President Claire Shaw detailed her personal efforts to “resolve the vacancy at the visitors center” in a statement Saturday, including her appointment of council members “Connie Gering and Nick Gialias to become part of this process” involving the Bucks County Playhouse.

As reported in the Free Press earlier Saturday, Bucks County Playhouse senior management is developing a plan to take over responsibility for running the currently-closed New Hope visitors center at the request of New Hope Borough Council.

Bucks County Playhouse Producing Director Alex Fraser acknowledged earlier Saturday, “We’re working now on a plan of how the Playhouse can help make the Visitors Center a very visible centerpiece of New Hope’s revitalization, supporting local businesses and keeping tourist dollars in the Borough.”

Said Shaw of her quest to address the visitor center crisis, “Many groups have reached out to me with propositions and/or ideas for the use of the center. As a result of numerous conversations with various interests it became apparent to me that the building must remain available to visitors and become a vibrant hub of activity for New Hope.

“The vision of what that hub of activity would look like really began to take shape when Alex Fraser and I began talking,” continued Shaw. “The possibilities of what could be are now to the point other members of Council must be involved in the discussions.
“To achieve that involvement, I have asked Connie Gering and Nick Gialias to become a part of this process. Our goal is to provide a showcase not only for the business community, but also our non-profit organizations in town. Together, we will work the process and make recommendations to Council,” concluded Shaw.
The New Hope visitors center, located at the corner of West Mechanic and South Main streets, has been closed since Dec. 31, when occupant Visit Bucks County packed their bags. The building is owned by the borough, and typically leased out to suitable groups at a reasonable cost, although operating expenses can reportedly be significant. Other groups appear to be vying to rescue the visitors center, although high-level cooperation with New Hope municipal leadership puts the Playhouse squarely in the lead.


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Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • The methodone clinic business is a $29 billion business…let get a couple of those. The strip club business is a $17 trillion business…lets put a couple poles in Marsha’s bar. It will be a perfect complement to what we have in new Hope already…TWO vape stores, a discount cigarette emporium, 8 adult clothing/novelty stores…and about a dozen empty store fronts. WELL DONE NEW HOPE!

  • The Vape industry is a 1.5 billion dollar business… The two Vape stores were smart to stake their claim when they did. As for the discount cigarette store, I’m not against their presence I just don’t care for the aesthetics of their store front.

  • I have been a New Hope resident since 1980. I have never seen the town in such disarray. I believe it’s due to the members of the zoning board and their unbelievable anti – New Hope sensibilities. Really? You’re fighting the folks who want to open businesses in town such as Daugherty and others. Remember the attempt to turn the former trading post into an Italian restaurant being shot down? How’s that working out for everyone? The building sits empty. Have you counted the number of empty business buildings in town? It grows each month. How ridiculous is the attempt of the self-serving zoning board to get the Playhouse to get rid of the words “Bucks County Playhouse” facing the Delaware River, one of the iconic well-known New Hope treasures. I think the town would be better served by getting rid of Sandy Santello, Claire Shaw, and Stephen Stahl, from having anything to do with this town and let us get back to being what New Hope is about and get it back to how it was when I first arrived, a people friendly, tourist friendly, all- inclusive community. I’ve spoken to many people I know, some just this past weekend, who whole-heartedly agree. These people are destroying New Hope. At least the Odette’s project was approved. Big surprise. Claire Shaw owns the adjacent property…

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