By Steven Hoffman
Facebook might be good for staying in touch with family and friends, enjoying the latest viral video from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, or sharing cute cat pictures, but “Facebooking” a complaint about the Kennett Square Police Department isn’t the most effective way to address a concern.
At Monday night’s meeting of Kennett Square Borough Council, both borough council president Leon Spencer and Mayor Matt Fetick urged residents to contact borough officials directly with concerns rather than making a post on a personal Facebook page.
A local resident recently took to Facebook to complain after he was fined for tying his dogs to a meter in town and leaving them unattended while he was in a shop. Another resident complained about the dogs and the dog owner was ultimately issued a citation for failing to comply with a borough ordinance. Afterward, the dog owner encouraged Facebook friends to share their objections with the Kennett Square Police Department.
Kennett Square officials said that they are always willing to listen to concerns, and if a resident is upset about a fine being issued there are ways to make officials aware of the issue.
“Social media is not the way to do that,” said Spencer, explaining that there is an easy way to file a complaint with the police department.
Fetick said that he’d been asked if he was going to respond to the post on Facebook and defend the police department. He said that he would not want to become involved in that kind of exchange on Facebook.
“I’m never going to engage in a debate on social media,” Fetick said. “It’s not the format to do that.”
The Kennett Square mayor added that he reached out to the person who made the Facebook post to let him know that he was willing to listen if there was a legitimate concern.
Spencer encouraged residents to speak up if they ever see anything amiss.
“You are the eyes and ears of the community,” Spencer said.
In other business at Monday night's meeting, borough manager Brant Kucera received authorization from borough council to submit a letter of intent to seek funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Industrial Sites Reuse Program as the borough works with a developer that is looking to utilize a small lot at 410 West State Street for parking spaces.
Kucera said that the property was once the home of a gas station decades ago and three 1,000-gallon tanks were recently discovered underground as LGB Properties was looking to develop the lot for about 25 additional parking for The Market at Liberty Place. The lot is situated about one block west of the market.
While some remediation of the site will likely be necessary, Geoff Bosley, vice president of LGB Properties and a member of borough council, said that testing is still taking place to determine just how much work will be needed.
If the borough is successful in obtaining some funding, the money can be used to pay for the costs associated with removing dirt, remediation, and ongoing testing.
Kucera emphasized that seeking the grant doesn't obligate the borough to anything, and if it reaches a point where some funding might be made available, the borough would have agreements in place with the developer to ensure that the borough has no liability.
“We will work out those particulars if we ever get to that point,” Kucera said.
Spencer spoke in favor of seeking the funding, noting that it is an opportunity to rid the borough of a brownfield site.
Borough council authorized the installation of stop signs for both directions at the intersection of Magnolia and South Garfield streets.
Mary Hutchins, the executive director of Historic Kennett Square reported that the Third Thursday promotion was successful in June, with business owners reporting higher-than-normal activity during its debut. State Street is closed from Broad to Center Streets during Third Thursday events so visitors can enjoy outdoor dining, live music, family-friendly activities, performances, and extended store hours. Third Thursdays continue through the summer, with the next events taking place on July 17 and August 21.
A building at 112 East State Street, which was most recently the home of Mystique, will have a temporary use. The Bayard Taylor Memorial Library is holding a computer camp that is being sponsored by Google.
Borough council approved the special event applications for a series of upcoming events, including National Night Out on Aug. 5, the Carter CDC Block Party on Aug. 23, the Mushroom Festival Parade on Sept. 5, the Mushroom Festival on Sept. 6 and 7, and the Kennett High School Homecoming Parade on Sept. 19.
Council also approved the the appointment of Sue Holloway to the Architectural Review Board and the Kennett Square Planning Commission.