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Without a new leader, the Fair will go away

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

UTMikeColLogo copyTonight, there’s going to be an important meeting at Willowdale Chapel on the future of the Unionville Fair.

The long-running fair, a staple of the community, finds itself without a leader and if one is not found by Feb. 29, this year’s fair will not happen. That meeting takes place tonight at 7 p.m.

So, you might be asking yourself: why haven’t we seen this earlier in The Times?

A couple of reasons: first, I was placed under an embargo on the news (it’s a bit like a non-discosure agreement for the media to not report something until a certain date and something I take very seriously); second, I was asked to become that next leader back in December and said no after thinking a bit about it, which immediately created a conflict of interest for me to actively write or report about the subject. I’ll note that we would have happily run any press release had we been sent one or had I been released from my embargo (undoubtedly an oversight by the frazzled Fair folks), I would have made a personal plea for folks to get involved.

So, you may also ask, why not me?

As some of you know, I’ve been involved in various civic groups and organizations in the community for the past seven or eight years. I served on the board of the Unionville Recreation Association — where I’ve served as a coach on and off for about a decade. I served a couple of years on the Pocopson Parks, Recreation and Trails Committee, most of that time as its chair. For nearly the last two years, I’ve been President of the Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation, a role I plan to step away from at the end of the school year. Before that time, I was actively involved in local politics, running for Pocopson Supervisor in 2001 and 2007, State Representative in 2004 and Chester County Clerk of Courts in 2009, as well a serving as an area leader and committee person for the county Democratic Party.

Under the best of circumstances, those roles and history can be tricky to navigate for someone in this business. And of late, the circumstances haven’t exactly been the best.

Having literally worked myself into the hospital in 2015 — the failed attempt to publish local school magazines was both financially and physically disastrous — 2016 represents a time to reassess, replenish and recover. I also need to take a cold, clear look at The Times and decide whether I have the resources to continue running it properly — we’re not owned by any large company or a business association, as are most of our competitors — so it basically comes down to me at the end of the day. I plan to spend 2016 as a husband, a father, a small businessman and a journalist and see where the day takes me.

I’m not asking for pity or anything — I’m a grown up and made the decisions that got me where I am right now — but I think it explains why it was clear to me why I’m not the person to lead the Unionville Fair.

I’m hoping that person is out there, though. I started The Times in Unionville, with the hope of both informing and building a better community — at that point one that was torn asunder after the school bond issue fights. If we played any role in binding up those wounds, I am thankful.

We need more folks to be involved, to be part of the greater community. With today’s career pressures — I understand as former corporate type myself – it’s tough. But it is incredibly rewarding, you get to meet folks you’d never have gotten to know, you learn an immense amount about the community and you get to directly make this a better place to live.

At the end of the day, The Fair matters. It is nothing less than the fabric that once bound this community together. It is a reminder of where we collectively came from and a celebration of so much history.

Please come tonight. I know that person is out there — and I know losing the The Fair for year will likely mean its permanent end.

Unionville needs you.

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One Comment

  1. TE Resident says:

    2016 represents a time to reassess, replenish and recover. I also need to take a cold, clear look at The Times and decide whether I have the resources to continue running it properly — we’re not owned by any large company or a business association, as are most of our competitors — so it basically comes down to me at the end of the day. I plan to spend 2016 as a husband, a father, a small businessman and a journalist and see where the day takes me.

    Sounds like a good plan. At the end of the day, I hope your future includes the Unionvilletimes. It’s grown on me and I would be very sorry to see it go.

    On another note,

    I’m hoping that person is out there, though. I started The Times in Unionville, with the hope of both informing and building a better community — at that point one that was torn asunder after the school bond issue fights. If we played any role in binding up those wounds, I am thankful.

    When were the school bond issue fights? Could you expand please?

    Did they get anyone to run the fair?

    Thanks

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