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Chester County Press

Don’t believe the hype about the Kennett Greenway

11/15/2023 09:26AM ● By Peter Doehring

To the Editor:

The very first sentence of the article entitled, “Chandler Mill Greenway Project receives groundbreaking” that appeared in the Nov. 1 edition of the Chester County Press recycles the crazy spin and flat-out falsehoods that Kennett Township has repeatedly relied upon to distract from the debacle that the Kennett Greenway has become.  The sentence reads, “The Kennett Greenway is about to add another valuable link to its 14-mile-long vision of creating a multi-purpose trail loop throughout Kennett Borough, Kennett Township, New Garden Township and northern Delaware.” 

In fact, the two sections being constructed total less than about 1,700 feet and are separated by almost a mile.  And there is no “other” link being added to. After almost eight years of work, only the “Parrish Trail” section has been built, and it becomes overgrown and rutted after barely half a mile.

The article’s falsehoods continue: “The trail will create new ... bikeable connections...” The 6-8-foot-wide sections constructed here cannot accommodate cyclists, despite claims by designers who should know better; and Falcon’s Lair residents would have to walk 700 feet along the shoulder of Chandler Mill Road before accessing the 1,000-foot northern section. 

So how many households will have reasonably direct access to the 1,700-foot $2.7 million pedestrian side path? Six!

At a recent meeting, township officials dismissed residents’ concerns that $1.4 million to construct 1,700 feet of a 6-8-foot side path seems high. So we did the math, and found that this works out to more than $100 per square foot. And these costs do not include $1.3 million spent on design fees.

What would it take for the 1,700 feet being constructed here to become part of a multi-use network? Kennett Township has repeatedly refused to propose a specific plan or timeline or cost, so we outlined a 2.3-mile trail from a railroad crossing at Pennock Park down to the Chandler Mill Preserve. The problem? This would take at least another decade to design and build, could easily cost $10 million, will depend on improvements to allow cyclists to use Chandler Mill Road that Kennett has so far refused to consider, and will require that township supervisors seize private land.   This is not a “14-mile-long vision.” It is pure fantasy.

We agree wholeheartedly with Representative Sappey about the value of trails. We have been diligently documenting the dearth of paths in Chester County that meet accessibility standards and are rolling out training to help people with disabilities enjoy the many paths and trails we already have.  We have also presented ideas at state and national conferences about ways that natural trails can be beautiful and accessible and affordable and completed in months not decades.  It’s time to stop wasting time, money, and headlines on a Greenway that is pure fantasy, and focus instead on bike-friendly roadways and accessible natural trails we can build right now at a fraction of the cost.