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Chester County Press

23 in 2023

Before the calendar flips to a new month—and a new year!—we thought we’d take a look back at 23 different people, places, things, or events that made a positive difference here in southern Chester County in 2023. 

Winter Park at The Creamery: 2023 got off to a fun start with the debut of the new Winter Park at The Creamery, an outdoor skating rink with a surface made of Glice, a synthetic product. This new attraction proved to be so popular that the event returned a month earlier for its second year.

Hospital news, part 1: In the spring of 2023, ChristianaCare unveiled new details about its plans for a neighborhood hospital at the West Grove Campus, formerly the Jennersville Hospital. ChristianaCare will open a neighborhood hospital that includes 10 emergency department beds and 10 inpatient beds, and will offer emergency care, behavioral health emergency care and provide diagnostic capabilities. Local residents look forward to the opening of this neighborhood hospital and the much-needed health care services it will provide.

The new Kennett Library & Resource Center:  For decades, the Kennett Square area needed a larger, modernized library to meet the needs of a growing community. That library finally became a reality this year with the opening of the beautiful, new 33,425-foot building that will serve as a focal point of Kennett Square for decades to come.

Kennett Square Borough residents support funding for that brand new library: When voters went to the polls in November, Kennett Square Borough residents wisely voted in favor of a referendum to allocate funding to the brand new library. Public libraries need this kind of support.

Landenberg Village begins a new chapter: The Landenberg Village, which includes the hotel, the store and an adjacent pump house, was sold this summer to the Fenix Capital Group, a real estate company that specializes in creating innovative and sustainable projects in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania. We can’t wait to see what this new chapter for Landenberg Village brings.

London Grove Township builds a better mousetrap: This year, London Grove Township received the top prize in PennDOT’s Build a Better Mousetrap Contest during the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ Excellence Awards ceremony. London Grove’s public works crew brainstormed ways to address failing inlet tops and risers to win an award. This is just one example of the good, and often thankless work, that public works employees do on behalf of residents.

The Mushroom Festival: Always a highlight, the Mushroom Festival was great this year. Not only does the Mushroom Festival celebrate Chester County’s top crop, proceeds from the event benefit the entire community through grants that support local nonprofits.

School projects: Some of the best school districts in the state are right here in Chester County. The official dedication of Avon Grove High School took place in 2023, while the Kennett Consolidated School District moved forward on plans for two new elementary schools to replace aging buildings. The school buildings won’t make the world a better place; the students who get educated in them just might.

Centennial: When the 2023-2024 school year got underway, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District started a series of special events to celebrate the centennial school year that will include a parade, bus tours, an open house, and a Centennial Gala in 2024.

Unionville Community Fair: This year marked the Unionville Community Fair’s 99th year, with a major milestone coming in 2024!

Hospital news, part 2:  County officials applauded the news that Penn Medicine plans to buy Brandywine Hospital and deliver important health care services to the western part of the county.

Willowdale Steeplechases: Race day is always a springtime highlight. This year’s event raised funds for clean water and veterinary excellence through donations to the Stroud Water Research Center and The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center. 

Kennett Run: The 2023 Kennett Run was the 34th year for the popular event which, like the Mushroom Festival, raises funds for organizations and nonprofits that serve the community.

Recognizing citizens and businesses that make a difference: Organizations like the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce, and Kennett Collaborative spent another year working on behalf of local businesses and business owners. One of the important things that these organizations do is to recognize the efforts to people who make a difference in the community. The 2023 Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen was Luis Tovar. We can’t wait to see who the Southern Chester County Chamber bestows the prestigious award on in 2024.

Pia Center at LCH opens: The Pia Center at LCH, which provides dedicated space for behavioral and mental health services at the LCH West Grove location, opened in 2023. The space will be purposefully designed to create a safe and welcoming place for patients seeking care. 

Patriotism on display: Chester County is the scene of some fine Memorial Day Parades. The most patriotic procession might be the one that takes place in Kennett Square, and they all offer a chance for people of all ages to show their appreciation and respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Penn Township’s big projects: Two major projects in Penn Township—the new Medic 94 Emergency Operations Center and the Sports Park—took major steps forward this year. 

Curtis Mason: Speaking of Penn Township, the aforementioned big projects, and many others, wouldn’t have been possible without longtime supervisor Curtis Mason. Mason chose not to seek re-election in 2023 after more than two decades as the chairman of the Penn Township Board of Supervisors. His work has left quite a lasting impact on the township.

Heroes among us: On one eventful day in September, southern Chester County residents got a reminder of how heroic police officers and firefighters are as they go about their day-to-day work. Local, state, and federal law enforcement officials spent two weeks working tirelessly to apprehend an escaped murderer—and to keep everyone in the community safe.. In the morning, Danilo Cavalcante was captured. That evening, firefighters from Oxford and many of the surrounding communities battled a terrible blaze that destroyed three buildings in the heart of downtown Oxford. Thanks to the efforts of the firefighters and two Oxford Borough police officers who alerted sleeping residents about the fire, no one died and there were no major injuries from one of the worse fires in Oxford Borough’s history.

The Oxford Area Neighborhood Services Center: In the aftermath of the devastating fire that displaced more than 90 residents, the work of the Oxford Area Neighborhood Services Center was more important than ever.

Lincoln University and Gov. Shapiro: The Lincoln University Concert Choir performed at the inauguration of Gov. Josh Shapiro. Toward the end of 2023, Gov. Shapiro visited the Lincoln University campus to sign an important piece of education funding legislation as the state finalized its spending plan for the fiscal year.

The Santa Train: Santa Claus was riding the rails and making stops in Kennett Square, Tougkenamon, Avondale and West Grove as part of a first-ever “Santa Train” in southern Chester County. This new event was a welcome addition to the holiday schedule, and we hope it returns in 2024.

State Rep. John Lawrence: As stakeholders and local residents lined up to oppose DCNR’s plans for the Big Elk Creek State Park, State Rep. John Lawrence took a leading role in advocating on behalf of his constituents. A public meeting to discuss the DCNR plans will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 10. This serves as a reminder that so many of the events and situations and people making a difference in the community in 2023 will be part of the story of 2024. We can’t wait to see how the year ahead will unfold.

Happy New Year!