Kennett Township to apply for $1.5 million grant for Chandler Mill Greenway07/26/2022 03:13PM ● By Richard Gaw
Photo by Richard L. Gaw At their July 20 meeting, the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors approved the township’s application to receive a $1.5 million grant that if received would be applied to the development of the Chandler Mill Greenway project. Currently in its final design phase, the Project aims to create a pedestrian and bicycle pathway adjacent to Chandler Mill Road along the 14-mile Kennett Greenway.
By Richard L. Gaw
As a further show of support for the expanding Kennett Greenway, the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at their July 20 meeting to approve the township’s application to receive a $1.5 million grant that if awarded will go toward the development of the Chandler Mill Greenway.
The grant is part of the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) Program and issued through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. In 2016 and 2017, the township was awarded grants that are being applied to the $5.5 million Greenway project.
The Chandler Mill Greenway is an 8,000 linear foot section along Chandler Mill Road and the west branch of the Red Clay Creek. Once completed, the Greenway will serve as a major component the 14-mile loop of the Kennett Greenway that connects five municipalities across two states, ten parks and preserves and over 1,500 acres of preserved open space.
Its design will allow for two-lane traffic, create ADA-compliant benefits for pedestrians, and create traffic calming measures and make roadside embankment improvements that will reduce the threat of roadway damage during heavy rains.
In addition, the project will also provide increased access and visibility to the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance’s 45-acre Chandler Mill Nature Preserve, which contains another 1.5 miles of nature trails, create a safe pedestrian and bicyclist link between the township and Kennett Borough and provide easy access for residents in the Falcon’s Lair, Round Hill and Hartefeld developments.
Signing on to a potential $1.5 million grant is just the latest rung of involvement the township has had with the Chandler Mill Greenway. In conjunction with its Trails & Sidewalks Committee and other local agencies, the township has sponsored over one dozen public meetings, elicited open surveys and scheduled open house walking tours along the Chandler Mill Greenway in the last few years.
In June 2021, the township’s supervisors unanimously gave the go-ahead to complete a final design of the Chandler Mill Greenway that is expected to be completed this September, which will then be followed by a request-for-bid process in March 2023 and then lead to the start of construction in the spring of 2023.
‘The community’s project’
Christina Norland, chairperson for the Trails & Sidewalks Committee and the executive director for the Kennett Trails Alliance, thanked the supervisors for their decision to enter the township into the grant application process.
“I’m here today to express the public support of so many of our local institutions,” she said. “We view this project as the community’s project.”
Norland shared many letters of support the project has received from local agencies that include Chatham Financial, the Kennett Consolidated School District, Longwood Gardens, the Kennett Library, the Kennett Area Parks & Recreation Board of Directors, Kennett Collaborative, La Communidad Hispana and the Garage Community & Youth Center, among many others.
She said that the grant will support four key objectives: it will develop 1.5 miles of greenway; stabilize the area of the road near the creek bank that is threatened by erosion; restore the existing road and creek side environment by removing dead and dying trees and plant a native plants and riparian buffers; and repave Chandler Mill Road and reduce traffic speeds and the number of vehicles attempting to cross the historic Chandler Mill Bridge, which is open to emergency service vehicles only.
“No one expects that this Greenway will be built overnight,” Norland added. “It’s a long-term infrastructure project that will be built one segment at a time.”
Luis Tovar, the chairman of the advisory commission for Latino Affairs for Kennett Square Borough, told the board that the expansion of the Kennett Greenway – including the Chandler Mill Greenway – will become a huge benefit for the Latino community and serve as a social connector for the entire community.
“This is something that is visible and close, and it is something that all residents will be able to enjoy, and it’s a good way to meet and exchange, because it’s the diversity that makes our community so valuable,” Tovar said. “There is so much to learn from one another, and projects like this and future projects will be meaningful to communities and families.”
In other township business
The supervisors passed a resolution that renews the township’s designation as a Bird Town, in cooperation with the efforts of the Pennsylvania Audubon Council and in partnership with 35 municipalities in Pennsylvania who share the same designation.
Since 2019, the township has developed initiatives to support birds and wildlife -- from developing native plant demonstration gardens, facilitating bird walks, adding information to the township’s website and sponsoring a native plant pop-up garden.
The Kennett Township Police Department will hold its National Night Out ceremonies on Aug. 2 at Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].