Penn Township celebrates two major projects05/23/2023 12:29PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Penn Township is facing the future with major improvements for the community in both safety and recreation. On Thursday, May 18, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for both the first phase of the Sports Park and the new Southern Chester County Emergency Operations Center.
Among those taking part in the festivities were the Penn Township Board of Supervisors—Victor Mantegna, Bill O’Connell, Jay Ennis, Curtis Mason and Laura Sperratore—as well as State Sen. Carolyn Comitta, State Rep. John Lawrence, Deputy County administrator Eric Walschburger for the Chester County Commissioners, and Pennsylvania DCNR regional advisor Drew Gilchrist.
The first ceremony was for the Penn Township Sports Park on North Jennersville Road. The 43-acre site was obtained by the township from Star Roses in 2016 with funding from the township, a National Park Service Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Chester County Office of Open Space. The E. Kneal Dockstader Foundation has also provided grant funding for trails, parking, an outdoor classroom, and story walk which comprised the first phase of park development.
“Today we mark the beginning of an exciting journey toward seeing a long time vision of this board (of supervisors) and this community,” said Victor Mantegna, the chair of the Penn Township Board of Supervisors. “We’re confident that the Penn Township Sports Park, with its playgrounds, sports fields and trails, story walk and E. Kneal Dockstader Environmental Education Center will promote healthy activity and provide endless economic and recreational opportunities to our residents and businesses.”
The new Phase 2 portion of the park development will include an expanded parking lot, trail, stormwater management area, inclusive playground which includes a sensory friendly area, bocce, basketball, pickleball, hockey and more. The contract to begin work on the project is expected to be awarded by the township supervisors at the meeting on Aug. 2.
“This park will serve the region well for many generations to come,” Gilchrist said.
The second groundbreaking has an impact far beyond the township limits. The new Southern Chester County Emergency Operations Center and Medic 94 House will provide a permanent base of operations for Medic 94 advanced life support service.
Joining the group for the dedication were Medic 94 board members, the Operations Center Working Group, AGREM representative Chuck Freese and representatives from the Pennsylvania State Police and ChristianaCare.
“This is an exciting moment for our community as it marks a sig step forward in answering emergency response capabilities and the safety and wellbeing of residents in our region,” Mantegna said.
Medic 94, which serves 17 area municipalities, was founded 40 years ago at what was then the Southern County Medical Center. In 2001, the corporate structure changed to make Medic 94 independent of the hospital even though it continued to be housed there. When Jennersville Hospital closed, the need for a new home became urgent. The Board of Supervisors were committed to keeping the organization in Penn Township. The new building to be constructed at 863 W. Baltimore Pike will be their new home plus the building will provide a base for Avon Grove Regional Emergency Management and serve as an emergency operations center for Southern Chester County.
“We do our best to serve this community and we will continue to do so with your help and blessing,” Medic 94 CEO Bob Hotchkiss said.