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Chester County Press

Township to Partner with Borough on Improvements to Kennett Greenway

09/23/2020 06:59PM ● By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

The Kennett Township Board of Supervisors approved a motion at their Sept. 16 meeting that will lock the township in partnership with the Kennett Borough in a joint grant application for a multimodal transportation fund (MTF) in the amount of $1.8 million.

If the grant is awarded, the funding will go toward two key components of the Kennett Greenway Connectors Project: $1,262,616 for the reconstruction of Birch Street -- estimated to cost $1.9 million -- and $616,904 for the construction of the Magnolia Underpass – which is estimated at $949,083.

The decision to apply for the grant -- which is distributed the Department of Community and Economic Development under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority -- was earlier approved by the Kennett Borough Council.

These improvements would provide local residents with increased access along the Kennett Greenway, a 14-mile network of continuous trails that encompasses five municipalities in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and includes more than 1,500 acres of open space and several parks and preserves.

Completion of the projects would also serve to better connect residents to schools, shops, restaurants and historical and cultural assets, and would provide a safer route for students who walk to Kennett High School.

The Kennett Greenway is a collaboration between the township, the borough, the Kennett Trails & Sidewalks Committee, the Land Conservation Advisory Committee and several private non-profit organizations, including the Kennett Trails Alliance and The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County.

Township Manager Eden Ratliff told the board that the Magnolia Underpass project has not only received approval from the Kennett Trails and Sidewalks Committee, the township has received permission from the East Penn Railroad to build an underpass beneath the railroad.

Ratliff said that the fund is anticipated to be distributed in the second quarter of 2021.

Supervisor Scudder Stevens said that although the East Penn Railroad is an important asset for the region, the railroad “slices right smack through the middle of everything that we’re trying to do,” he said. “How to get past it, over it, around it, over it and through it has been a problem.

“It’s been a log jam that this board has been wrestling with for some considerable period of time. The fact that we have finally found a path to go forward, [one that is being] is being funded on a statewide and regional-wide approach, I find to be very, very compelling.”

If the township receives the MTF, it will provide matching funds in the amount of $332,179 for the Magnolia Underpass construction, as well as allocate an additional $58,226 to meet additional costs for the project.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].