Kennett Square Borough Council approves agreement-of-sale for Weinstein lot
● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square Borough is officially selling the Weinstein lot to the Kennett Library so that a new library building can be constructed on the site near the intersection of State and Willow streets in the downtown area. The Weinstein lot is just one block east of the current library building.
At the Sept. 5 meeting, Kennett Square Borough Council unanimously approved the agreement-of-sale, acting quickly on a request made just two months ago by the Kennett Library board to sell the Weinstein lot at a reasonable price.
Up until the time that that request was made on July 3, the library and the borough had been working collaboratively on a larger municipal building project that would have included a new borough administration building, a new library, a police station, and an auditorium. That building would have been constructed on the Weinstein lot. But then the library board announced that it was moving forward on its own to build a new library, rather than collaborating with the borough on the larger project. That made the sale of the Weinstein lot from the borough to the library a necessity.
The borough subsequently had an appraisal completed on the Weinstein lot. It was appraised at $550,000.
The borough's Finance Committee determined that the borough could offer the Weinstein lot to the library for $386,000, which is a figure that would allow the borough to recoup the modest costs that the borough had absorbed when it was working with the library on a multi-use building.
Library officials were immediately receptive to that asking price. Negotiations on the terms of the agreement-of-sale began immediately.
At the Sept. 5 meeting, borough solicitor Marc Jonas said that the agreement went back and forth between the two parties for revisions until both sides were satisfied.
The borough has the option to re-purchase the Weinstein lot at the same price that it sold it for up until construction work begins on the site, Jonas said. Additionally, there is a 25-year deed restriction that limits the building's use to serving as a library.
Kennett Square Borough officials and library board members held a signing ceremony on Sept. 6 to commemorate the sale of the Weinstein lot as a major milestone in the process to build a new library.
Tom Swett, the chairman of the library board, said in a statement that, “A year ago, the library trustees made a promise to do everything possible to secure a great site in the center of Kennett Square for a new library building. With the borough's help, we have succeeded. We are thankful to the Borough Council of Kennett Square for making the property available and for giving us a very fair price.”
The Kennett Library now plans to have an environmental assessment and soils testing completed on the Weinstein lot to insure its suitability for a multi-story building. After those tests are complete, the library will make the final payments to the borough and the land will transfer to the library.
The library is also focusing on a fundraising campaign to construct and furnish the new library.
Big grant for parking garage expansion
Borough manager Joseph Scalise informed council that Kennett Square Borough has received a grant for $500,000 to fund an expansion of the parking garage. The borough has been contemplating an expansion for several years, and securing a grant of this kind was necessary for the infrastructure upgrade to move forward. With the sale of the Weinstein lot, the borough will definitely looking for additional parking in the coming years.
Scalise said that borough officials will go through a process to determine the demand for additional parking before putting together a plan for borough council to consider.
Mayor Matt Fetick led a salute to the KAU 13- and 14-year-old baseball team, which advanced to the World Series in August, representing the United States in the finals. Many of the coaches and players on the team were at the meeting for the proclamation honoring the team. The team is coached by Matt Patterson, Sean Burns, and Brian Regenye. The players reside in either the Kennett or Unionville-Chadds Ford school districts.
Fetick lauded the team not only for the good play on the baseball field, but for always showing sportsmanship and representing the Borough of Kennett Square so well.
Kennett Square Borough officials honored Kathy Holliday for her 20 years of service as the borough's finance director. Holliday is retiring from that role after serving from February of 1997 to September of 2017.
Council president Dan Maffei and council member Geoffrey Bosley presented Holliday with a plaque and flowers on behalf of the borough. Bosley also read from a proclamation that was issued by State Rep. Steve Barrar recognizing Holliday's contributions for the borough.
Bosley worked closely with Holliday during his time serving on the borough's Finance Committee. He said that Holliday was a very important part of the team that helped improve Kennett Square's financial standing over the last two decades.
Holliday made a brief statement, thanking her colleagues and coworkers.
“I enjoyed working here for the last 20 years,” Holliday said. “It's been great being a part of the team that has improved Kennett Square. I looked forward to coming to work every day.”
Borough council observed a moment of silence for longtime borough resident and community servant
Tony Talamonti, who recently passed away. Talamonti was a past president and longtime volunteer with the Kennett Fire Company. A proclamation honoring Talamonti's contributions to Kennett Square could take place in the near future.