Kennett Square Borough officials discuss Holiday Light Parade, other special events11/15/2023 09:42AM ● By Haleigh Abbott
Kennett Square Borough officials looked ahead to community events this holiday season, the New Year, and beyond during the most recent council meeting.
Council approved the Special Event application for the Holiday Light Parade, which was moved from the traditional Friday-after-Thanksgiving to Saturday. This year’s parade will take place on Saturday, Nov. 25. This year’s parade route will start at South Broad and West Cypress, head north along the 100 block of South Broad and travel west along State Street to Center Street. The parade will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and the parking garage will host free parting from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., compliments of Longwood Gardens and Kennett Collaborative.
The Midnight in the Square Mushroom Drop was up for discussion, after the request to move the location from downtown to the Borough Hall campus was submitted to the Public Works Committee. Public Works did not provide a recommendation on whether to move the event, and Borough Council agreed to keep the event downtown this year with reconsideration next year.
Police Chief William Holdsworth provided details on the request, explaining that the entire Kennett Police force has to work multiple holiday events throughout the year and miss time with their own families. Moving the event to the Borough Hall campus would cut the security need in half, allowing officers to take turns staffing the event each year. Multiple community members voiced their wishes to keep the event downtown, as is tradition, and the owner of Grain Craft Bar & Kitchen spoke to the economic value of having the event downtown, seeing as much as a 25-percent increase in sales that night. Chief Holdsworth explained that staffing from other police departments has been considered, but most departments in the area are also dealing with shortages of available police officers.
The Kennett Flash Rooftop Concert Series will continue next summer on the top of the parking garage. Last year, 17 concerts were approved but only four or five actually took place. They will follow the same protocols as last year: No more than 17 concerts, most on Saturday evenings, and no noise after 9 p.m. No complaints were logged about the concerts. The Clover Market events were approved for the Borough Hall campus on June 2 and Oct. 20. The Kennett Arts Festival was approved for Sept. 20 to 22. This year’s Arts Festival was rained out. The Mushroom Festival will be held on Sept. 6 to 8 in 2024, with no changes to the location or street closures.
A short-term loan was approved to help finance the build-out of the new police station at Borough Hall. The loan was needed while the borough awaits grant fundings that will cover about 60 percent of the new construction costs. The grants will be released over the course of three years, which will allow the borough to pay off the 15-year loan term early and without penalty. The new police station will help meet accreditation criteria required by the state of Pennsylvania, which will allow the Kennett Police Department to be eligible for more grants in the future. The old police station will be sold, with the profit going back into the construction of the new station.
Jdog Junk Removal won a bid for the removal of furniture from the Borough Hall building, under the agreement that a portion of the work is completed as a “litmus test” for the rest of the building. The bid, which was originally submitted at $95,000 for completion, will be re-evaluated after the second floor is completed. The work involves breaking down and removing cubicles and office furniture that is otherwise not salvageable. The Borough Council worked with area nonprofits to donate the useable furniture, and the leftover will be removed to better help lease the office space.
Borough Council confirmed that the $40,000 reserved in the 2024 annual budget for the Kennett Library and Resource Center will be removed. The citizens of Kennett Square Borough approved a library tax on this year’s election ballot, which will collect around $24 annually from each resident. The tax is not an uncommon practice and many townships and borough have a library tax. The tax will help fund programs in the library that are free to residents, such as the adult literacy and English as a Second Language programs.
Kennett Square Borough Council’s next meeting will include the official vote on the 2024 budget, which does see a proposed increase in taxes. Information on that budget can be found on the Kennett Square Borough website at https://www.kennettsq.org.