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Chester County Press

Chester County Balloon Festival gets approval, with conditions, in East Marlborough Township

07/19/2021 09:49PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The East Marlborough Township supervisors held their first in-person meeting on July 12 after more than a year of virtual meetings, tackling topics like the Chester County Balloon Festival, the Longwood Gardens West Conservatory project, and the selection of a new auditor.
The supervisors will continue to hold in-person meetings, according to a July 8 notice on the East Marlborough Township website.
The Chester County Balloon Festival received approval to hold its three-day event on the grounds of the Willowdale Steeplechase property, with some conditions.
In their 5-0 approval, the supervisors will require the event organizers to limit attendance and also to sign the agreement with Po-Mar-Lin for fire police services. Po-Mar-Lin’s Andy Skean said there was a verbal agreement in place, prior to the meeting, for both fire and fire police.
The Chester County Balloon Festival will be held Sept. 10 to 12. Proceeds from the event will benefit groups like the Boy Scouts, the STEM Academy, and the Downingtown band, said Operations Director Rick Schimpf.
The organizers appeared at the June supervisors’ meeting and were told to return in July after finalizing agreements for fire police, EMS, and police coverage. Plans for fireworks were also removed.
Residents voiced their concern about traffic issues, especially with up to 10,000 people expected Sept. 11.
“How do you get out onto 926 with 10,000 people?” asked resident James Sinclair of Liondale Farm.
Skean said the goal is to “get everyone in and out as efficiently as possible,” adding that there will be nine people on traffic duty during the balloon festival.
Tickets are being sold online at Executive organizer Debbie Harding said the organizers will post on social media if tickets for any of the three days are sold out beforehand.
Organizers expect between 4,000-5,000 people each day on Sept. 10 and 12, and between 7,000-10,000 people on Sept. 11.
Three items the supervisors approved at the meeting were the execution of the subdivision and land development agreement, the financial security agreement, and the stormwater operations and maintenance agreement for Longwood Gardens’ West Conservatory project.
Longwood plans to, among other things, build a new conservatory, administration building, event space, and more as part of the project.
The supervisors voted 4-0-1, with vice chairwoman Kathryn Monahan abstaining, to authorize executing the documents, subject to changing references to public parking so it better clarifies the actual purpose of the parking. 
Township solicitor Ryan Jennings called the motion “essentially a formality” because the approvals underlying these agreements were already approved by the supervisors.
The supervisors unanimously approved selecting the Philadelphia accounting firm of BBD, LLP to do the 2021 audit for East Marlborough. They also unanimously approved having the auditor perform the DCED annual audit and financial report.
BBD will perform the audit and financial report for a cost of $6,750. It was one of three firms, including the township’s current auditor of Barbacane Thornton, that submitted proposals for 
Jennings, East Marlborough’s solicitor, called it “good practice” to change auditors every couple years.