Meetings to focus on smart growth in Kennett

An economic development specialist will address the annual meeting of Historic Kennett Square on Thursday, Jan. 28.

Todde Poole will address the annual meeting of Historic Kennett Square.

Todd Poole will address the annual meeting of Historic Kennett Square.

Todd Poole, one of the consultants hired in 2015 to study economic development in the Borough of Kennett Square and Kennett Township, will speak on general regional and national marketing trends affecting urban areas, such as Kennett Square. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the garden level of the Genesis HealthCare building in the borough.

In addition, the public is invited to attend the first of three public meetings on the Economic Development Study on Thursday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., also in the Genesis HealthCare building.

At last year’s annual meeting, officials said that a boom in area business represented a lot of work behind the scenes to keep the area vibrant and appealing. Such effort needs to be maintained with an eye toward future growth.

Poole and Mark Keener, the director of urban design for the RBA Group, were hired last year by Historic Kennett Square, the Borough of Kennett Square, Kennett Township, Chester County, Genesis HealthCare and Longwood Gardens to help set priorities for where and how the region grows, to continue the borough’s revitalization, and to protect the area’s natural, rural and historic heritage, a press release from Historic Kennett Square said.

The Feb. 11 meeting will present an overview of the study – its concept, its team members, and its goals. In a phone interview, Poole said this initial meeting would feature information and key findings they gathered on demographics, labor and industry, real estate and more, as well as an update on what work has been completed to date, the release said.

“It will be an opportunity to introduce the whole concept behind this study,” Poole said in the release.

“Kennett Square is well-positioned to be able to direct positive change right now,” Keener added in the release. “It is a good time to be having this discussion.”

A Vision Partnership Program Grant from the Chester County Commissioners, which is administered by the county's planning commission, will fund part of the $60,000 study. The remainder is being funded by Kennett Township, Kennett Square Borough, Historic Kennett Square, Genesis HealthCare, and Longwood Gardens.

A task force, comprising representatives from the funding partners and community members, was also formed as part of the study.

The second public meeting – to be held 30 to 45 days after the Feb. 11 one – will allow for public input and participation. Poole described it as more of a workshop style, designed to offer area residents, economic task force members, and others an opportunity to “invest” in the project.

The public conversation will provide the consultants with a clearer picture of what the trends are, what the communities’ likes and dislikes are, and discern the character of the area, Keener said in the release.

“It’s giving us all a sharper image of what the community values are and how they can be folded into our study,” Keener said in the release.

The third and final meeting as part of the study will be a presentation of what will become the final plan, the release said.


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