Scenic Byway Commission wants Birmingham back

Birmingham Township hasn’t been
a member of the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway Commission for more than a year,
but that didn’t stop the commission’s chairman from addressing township
supervisors on March 5.

Michael Lane, a Pennsbury
Township resident wants Birmingham to rejoin the group, but said his aim was
simply to let supervisors know that the group will be retaining a consultant to
determine projects and funding later this month for the Corridor Management
Plan. He also explained, what he sees, as the value of the commission.

“We want Birmingham back on
board because we didn’t want to make any decisions about the road without them
knowing about it,” Lane said.

He said having Birmingham back
in the fold would help the township financially. Lane said the commission, with
its multiple municipalities, works better than a single township alone to get
funding for projects that will preserve historic, scenic and cultural features
along the byway.

“When we go after grants, the
funding program seems to be giving grants to multi-municipal projects,” he said.

The Brandywine Valley Scenic
Byway makes a loop along Route 52 from the Delaware state line up through
Pennsbury and Kennett townships, continuing into Pocopson Township, then back
to Route 1, before looping back into Delaware.

“It’s easier to get funding for
multi-municipal projects,” he said.

Lane said the commission has
gotten funding for Kennett Township’s improvement of Route 52 or a bikeway, and
funding for Pennsbury’s bikeway. The commission is also working with east
Marlborough and Longwood Gardens on a planning study so those two can have
connecting trails.

In Chadds Ford, he said, there
was a grant for a feasibility study to connect the Brandywine Battlefield Park
to other features along Creek Road, but it was rejected by Pennsbury
supervisors, Lane said. That was the only project planned for Chadds Ford.

Birmingham Township pulled out
of the commission in February of 2011. Supervisors’ Chairman John Conklin said
at the time that there were many requests from different organizations asking
for volunteers from Birmingham and that there was little return. He said that while there have been
resolutions, volunteers’ time and money given to the commission, nothing had
happened for eight years.

Conklin added that adding Creek
Road would be meaningless because it’s too narrow to allow anything be done to
it.

In July, Conklin drafted a
letter to the commission saying that even though the township isn’t rejoining
the groups, it was willing to assist. The reason for not rejoining at the time,
he said was that the amount of Route 52 in Birmingham Township is “minimal.”

Lane said his group added Creek
Road to make things more enticing to Birmingham.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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