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Chester County Press

Kennett Township to donate $72K to Land Conservancy

02/10/2021 11:24AM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

On Oct. 2, 2020, following an arduous journey that got them there, the three Kennett Board of Supervisors gathered with other local dignitaries to officially cut the ribbon on the reopening of the historic Chandler Mill Bridge, a 100-year-old structure that the township purchased from Chester County on Jan. 21, 2015.

As they continued to press for community support, they said that purchasing the bridge would lead to its rehabilitation and conversion to a pedestrian-only walkway, and serve as a gateway to the efforts The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC) was doing in the area to protect and preserve the land for future generations.

In partnership with TLC, the township’s work to refurbish the Chandler Mill Bridge now forms a key cornerstone of its mission to eventually preserve 30 percent of the township as open space. Last week, that commitment added a whole new layer.

At their online meeting on Feb. 3, the supervisors – Chair Dr. Richard Leff, Vice Chair Whitney Hoffman and supervisor Scudder Stevens – voted unanimously to donate $72,000 to TLC, in support of the conservancy group’s land management activities in the township.

This gift will build yet another financial anchor of support to TLC’s work in the township, which to date has preserved 766 acres of land, 293 acres of which are public preserves.

Newly-appointed TLC Executive Director Abbie Kessler said that the township’s gift – as well as financial support it has been receiving from other agencies and individuals – will be directed toward maintaining its preserve trails, as well as creating additional trail signage, upgrading maps and improving parking at the preserves.

“As we’ve been finding, the impact of COVID-19 has inspired people to get outside in order to protect their mental and physical health, during a time when much of their other forms of recreation have been closed. This gift will allow us to help make sure that our preserves are in great shape for everyone to enjoy.”

Incorporated in 1995, TLC has consistently been recognized as one of the most influential land stewards in Chester County, and has conserved more than 1,500 acres of land through property acquisitions and land easement agreements with land owners. 

Through its staff, board of trustees, volunteers and partnerships with local agencies, TLC has created a network of conservation corridors, protected historic sites, and helped to create walkable communities through trail linkages. In addition, it offers ecological education and outreach programs for community members.

TLC also owns five public nature preserves and partners with the Delaware Nature Society at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, where it hosts educational programs and assists with land management. It is now at work in planning the design and opening of the 180-acre Little Elk Creek Preserve in Elk Township, which it purchased in 2018.

Township Manager Eden Ratliff praised the work of the township’s Land Conservation Advisory Committee (LCAC) – chaired by township resident Jeff Yetter – for their partnership with the board in identifying open space and natural resource opportunities.

“As the community continues to grow, preserving open space allows for development to be directed to the targeted development areas around the Borough of Kennett Square,” Ratliff said. “The supervisors have expressed a desire to preserve the rural character of the township, while also allowing for strategic development in accordance with the township’s 2016 Economic Development Study. This is made possible by the efforts of the LCAC supported by TLC.”

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