Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway seeks national designation
By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway – which includes part of southern Chester County – could soon be on the national map of scenic byways.
The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway Commission (BVSBC) is applying for the right to designate it as a national byway. Made a state byway in 2005, the BVSB consists of a 25-mile corridor that connects to the Delaware National Scenic Byway on Route 52 and on Creek Roads (formerly Route 100) and winds in an figure-eight pattern ending on Route 162 in East Bradford near the Stroud Preserve.
“At the February meeting of the commission, it was agreed that we would begin the process of writing the application and gathering input from the boards of the member townships: East Bradford, Pocopson, Kennett, Pennsbury and Chadds Ford,” said BVSBC chairman John Haedrich at the May 6 online meeting of the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors. “We have received many questions from those boards and are compiling those answers in a FAQ format to distribute to the townships along with a white paper identifying the benefits and obligations of a National Scenic Byway designation.”
The application for national designation dovetails with the 2019 Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act, which opened nominations for state byways to apply for National Scenic Byway designation from the Federal Highways Administration. This February, PennDOT’s Byways Coordinator asked the BVSBC to investigate this opportunity and consider filing an application, which is due by June 15.
The BVSBC has already been active in their pursuit of giving the byway a national designation. In 2017, the commission finalized the Corridor Management Plan (CMP).As they prepare their application, the BVSBC is encouraging public comment and questions on the national scenic byway designation. All correspondence can be sent to BVSB2020@gmail.com. Haedrich asked the Kennett Township supervisors to provide a supporting letter for inclusion in the application.
In other business that was discussed at the township’s May 6 Zoom meeting, the board adopted Resolution 2020-6, authorizing the township to enter into a cooperative police mutual aid agreement with the Oxford Borough, the Kennett Borough and the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department for police services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board also adopted Resolution 2020-8, expressing the township’s “serious and immediate” concerns about the actions regarding the proposed sale of the Chester Water Authority (CWA) by the City of Chester. Last month, Chester City Council adopted a resolution to begin negotiations for the sale with three bidders: The CWA, Aqua Pennsylvania and American Water Pennsylvania.
Soon after the news, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) issued an “Emergency Action Plan” for Chester that recognized Gov. Tom Wolf's declaration on April 13 that the city was in the throes of a fiscal emergency. The plan, in part, directs Chester to continue working with its legal counsel “to formulate positions related to the authority and to city assets” with respect to CWA, but prohibited the city from selling, leasing, or monetizing any of its assets valued at more than $10,000 without DCED approval.
The township’s resolution reaffirms the same position it took on the proposed sale three years ago, said Supervisor Scudder Stevens.
“It was appropriate when we did it back on Sept. 20, 2017, when we went public in saying that we did not support the City of Chester trying to sell off the CWA,” he said. “Nothing has changed, and it’s only gotten worse. It’s appropriate that we reaffirm what we did in the past and state it again, a little more forcefully.”
“Public water should stay in the public’s hands,” said Board Chairman Richard Leff. “While selling the Chester Water Authority to a private company will make money for the private company, it is not necessarily in the best interests of the general public.”
Supervisor Whitney Hoffman encouraged township residents to make food donations to the Kennett Area Community Services (KACS), who is accepting drop-offs at the Kennett Area YMCA on Wednesdays and Thursdays, or make a contribution to the KACS by accessing its website (www.kacsonline.net).
In his opening comments, Stevens expressed his concern for township residents who are now experiencing isolation as a result of Gov. Wolf’s Stay-at-Home orders for Pennsylvania residents.
“We all know about social distancing,” Stevens said. “It means that we are physically distant, but we are not socially or personally removed. This is a time when people are alone and climbing the walls and are depressed. We are, all of us, going through a difficult time, and we all have to do it in a closed space.
“Being socially removed from each other is not a good idea,” he added. “Being physically removed is a very good idea. Reach out to the people you love and tell them you love them. Have a virtual cocktail party with them. Do all of the things you need to do, not only for them, but for yourself.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email email@example.com.