Skip to main content

Chester County Press

Kennett Township adopts new coat of arms

05/24/2022 02:42PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw                   Kennett Township Supervisors Geoffrey Gamble, Scudder Stevens and Manager Eden Ratliff stand by the township’s new official seal that was adopted at the board’s May 18 meeting.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

The Kennett Township Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance No. 296 at their May 18 meeting that adopted an official township coat of arms, crest, seal and flag.

The image – developed by supervisor Geoffrey Gamble with design assistance from township residents – will gradually be seen on all correspondence, the township’s website, on an official flag, on the township’s police and public works vehicles and on the township building.

The completed coat of arms, which was unveiled at the meeting and is now mounted on the back wall of the township’s meeting room, contains various elements of the township’s history, heritage and culture. Hand-carved by Gamble, it features two curling red ribbons linked at the bottom by a red oval containing a mushroom, all surrounded by a green circle edged on each side in gold containing the words “Kennett Township” at the top and the Arabic numerals “1704” at the bottom, signifying the year the township was incorporated. The coat of arms also features a gold keystone and American Sycamore leaves, a tree seen prominently throughout the township.

“My intention here tonight is not to present this for any kind of a vote, but to seek input -- be it favorable or unfavorable -- and to solicit other suggestions and ideas,” Gamble said when introducing the concept for a coat of arms at the board’s Jan. 19 meeting. “Although there is certainly no urgency with respect to this matter, a real township symbol would mark a new beginning for us all, both from the theft [of $3.2 million of township funds by former manager Lisa Moore] and from the catastrophic pandemic we have just endured.”

In subsequent discussions that detailed the progress being made on its development, Gamble said that creating a coat of arms would help the township establish its own identity, given that its residents’ addresses fall under Chadds Ford, Kennett Square and Avondale.

“We started out with 40 design options and had help from the Royal College of Arms in London and the President of the American Heraldry Society and others,” Gamble said.  The township’s Historical Commission suggested we needed something representing the Underground Railroad, which is the rising sun of freedom.

“We also wanted something indicating the two branches of the Red Clay Creek, which are represented by the two red ribbons. [Board Chairman] Dr. Richard Leff also had wanted something that indicates our signature industry – mushrooms.”

Ratliff receives honor

In other township news, township Manager Eden Ratliff was named to the VISTA Today 2022 Class of VISTA Millennial Superstars – one of 40 millennials to be chosen for the honor out of 160 nominations. The recognition, received on May 10 at Penn State Great Valley, is given to those Chester County stakeholders under the age of 40 who typify “The Best of Chester County, Present and Future” and are recognized for breaking down walls, shattering expectations and doing remarkable work in their field or in their community.

Ratliff was nominated by Kennett Borough Council member Bob Norris.

“The men and women we are honoring this evening symbolize the best of Chester County, present and future,” said Ken Knickerbocker, Publisher of VISTA Today. “Beyond furthering their own careers, the common theme was the honorees are involved and engaged in their community…We see you as bold, courageous, purposeful, passionate, focused on building and nurturing relationships, inclusive, independent, hard workers, engaged, and information age thinkers.”

Ratliff said he thanked the Board of Supervisors, his township staff and gave credit to his stepmother Robin Ratliff, “who inherited a really stubborn and determined 13-year-old who wanted to change the world overnight and decided to make him shine,” he said.

In another township business, PJ Groff was formally introduced as the township’s interim Director of Public Works. He replaces Roger Lysle, who retired earlier this year.

“We have been impressed by how well [PJ] has stepped up to the challenge,” Ratliff said. “He goes beyond the call of duty of the day-to-day activities and also has a forward-looking perspective as he leads the department through this change.”

The search for a permanent Director of Public Works is underway.

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