Mapping out Kennett Square's bright future
● By Steven Hoffman
The first of three public meetings regarding an economic development study for the Kennett Square area will be held on Thursday, Feb. 11. The goals of the economic development study are to help officials from the Borough of Kennett Square, Kennett Township, and the Historic Kennett Square organization to set priorities for where and how the region grows, and to continue the borough's revitalization efforts, while simultaneously planning for the protection of the historic character of the area.
Most of the data in the study will be forward-looking, but it will be based on a foundation of the here and now—the results of years and years of hard work and collaboration can be seen everywhere you look. Kennett Square's downtown is vibrant and strong, filled with diverse restaurants, fashionable shops, and unique boutiques. Other visible signs of Kennett Square's successes include Victory Brewing and Magnolia Place, as well as a host of other residential and commercial projects that are in the pipeline.
It's a good time for officials in the Kennett Square area to be planning for the future because that bright future is arriving very quickly with a number of large-scale projects already being proposed.
Todd Poole, the president and founder of 4Ward Planning, and Mark Keener, the director of urban design for the RBA Group, were hired in 2015 to conduct the economic development study, focusing on seven areas of potential: the State Street corridor, the Cypress Street corridor; Birch Street from Walnut to Broad streets; the area known as Millers Hill on the eastern border between the borough and the township; the Ways Lane area in Kennett Township; the former NVF site in the borough; and the area on the west side of Mill Road in the township.
The results of the economic development study will be rolled out during the course of the three public meetings, and then it will be up to officials from Kennett Township and Kennett Square to put the recommendations into action. It's good to see officials from the borough and the township working together on the economic development study, especially since so many of the areas suitable for redevelopment are situated in locations where the impact of new housing or commercial developments will be felt in Kennett Township and the Borough of Kennett Square. Everyone in the region benefits when officials from different municipalities work together and collaborate, especially when it comes to planning for the future.
Public input as the economic development study is being compiled is also important. The Kennett Square of tomorrow is not going to be the same as the Kennett Square of today, and that's going to be uncomfortable for some people. Good input from the public will help officials as they attempt to make the best decisions possible for the future.
The Feb. 11 public meeting takes place at the Genesis HealthCare building in Kennett Square from 6:30 to 8 p.m.