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Chester County Press

Penn Township officials discuss the hospital closing

01/10/2022 10:56PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Two of Penn Township’s five seated supervisors were re-elected to new six-year terms in November. William “Radar” O’Connell and Jay Ennis both took the oath of office delivered by District Justice Scott Massey prior to the beginning of the annual board reorganization meeting that took place on Jan. 3.

Victor Mantegna continues in 2022 as the board chair with O’Connell serving as a vice chair. Meetings for the coming year will be held on the first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. with work sessions on the third Wednesday of each month.

The supervisors are concerned about the closure of Jennersville Hospital, noting that the names were being taken off the building that day, and yellow boards have been put across the helicopter landing pad. At this point there is no new information for the board to share with the public. 

“We’re all just hoping and praying this is a temporary closure,” Mantegna said.

Township director of operations Karen Versuk reported that Medic 94 emergency medical services will be in and out of the township building for the next two weeks as they adapt to the closing of the hospital. Medic 94 is being permitted to continue to use their base at the hospital building until April 1. If the hospital is still closed at that time, the current plan is to allow them to move into the Penn Township building until a permanent home can be found. 

Historical Commission member Scott Steele reported that there has been great public interest in the Red Rose Inn. The monthly open house tours at the Inn will resume in the spring.

“People really appreciate the investment the supervisors have done in that building. The community very much appreciates it,” Steele said. 

Later, the board voted to reject all bids for the renovation of the veterans’ garden at the township’s passive park. Bids were far above the expected amount with the lowest bid coming in at $190,000 and other bids going as high as $339,000. The township engineer and staff plan to meet with local contractors to try to determine why the bids were so high. 

The board also tabled the proposed clamshell amphitheater for the passive park at this time.

The township is beginning the process of updating their comprehensive plan. An update is mandated every 10 years, and the last plan was completed in 2012.  The township has received a $45,000 grant from the county for the process and is hiring the Brandywine Conservancy as a consultant to help them through the update process. 

The task force for the project includes four to the township’s five planning commission members as well as Versuk, the township engineer, and supervisors Ennis and O’Connell. Meetings will be open to the public.

At the conclusion of the meeting the board voted to accept dedication of the sewer system at the CCIU/Technical College High School. They then dedicated that system to Aqua, the company that operates the sewer system that formerly belonged to the township. The acquisition of the school’s system will allow Aqua to connect the property at 13 Rosewood Drive, where the on-lot septic system is failing.

The next board meeting on Jan. 19 will be preceded at 5 p.m. by a conditional use hearing for the 21-acre Hood Farm property. The request is to permit a vineyard and tasting bar. Township ordinances require that wines sold at a vineyard be produced from grapes grown on site. At this point, Pennsylvania-grown grapes from other vineyards would also be used.