Kennett Square adds 2 events to calendar

At its meeting on Monday, Feb. 1, Kennett Square Borough Council approved a variety of measures designed to protect the town’s historic resources as well as maintain its vibrancy.

Kennett Square Borough Manager Joseph Scalise (left) and Mayor Matt Fetick (right) listen as Borough Council Presidents Danilo Maffei delivers his report during the Feb. 1 Borough Council meeting.

Kennett Square Borough Manager Joseph C. Scalise (left) and Mayor Matt Fetick (right) listen as Borough Council Presidents Danilo P. Maffei delivers his report during the Feb. 1 Borough Council meeting.

Council unanimously approved amendments to the zoning code described by solicitor Marc D. Jonas as housecleaning measures. Since the council passed a Historic District Ordinance in May and now has a Historic Architecture Review Board (HARB), some of the language in the code needed to be changed, Jonas explained.

In response to questions from council members, HARB member Andrew Froning said he felt the new procedures were working well. He said the board wants residents to know that “we’re here to help them, not hinder them.”

Froning attended the meeting to recommend a certificate of appropriateness for a couple who purchased a hacienda-style home in the 300 block of South Union and needed to replace some doors, windows and roofing. He said the new owners, Pia and Ryan McCann, approached the board and were interested in following procedure and maintaining the historic integrity of the home.

Council approved the certificate, and Councilman Doug Doerfler noted that as a resident of the same block, he greatly appreciated the couple’s efforts.

After some discussion, Borough Council approved two new events for 2016. A block party was approved with a 6-1 vote, and a half-marathon passed unanimously.

Borough Manager Joseph C. Scalise said the Victory Brewing Company block party – a fundraiser for Historic Kennett Square – would be held in the 600 block of West Cypress Street on Sunday, May 22, from noon to 4 p.m.

Questioned by Borough Councilman Ethan Cramer about closing one of the borough’s gateway roads, Scalise said that other locations were considered but weren’t suitable. Cramer, who cast the dissenting vote, also expressed concern about the fact that alcohol would be available, with no provisions for shuttle service to minimize the risk of drunk-driving.

Scalise and Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, explained that the event was modeled after a family-friendly fall festival the brewing company hosts annually in Downingtown. Hutchins said that borough businesses would be invited to set up booths and that other events had included beer gardens with no problems.

Councilman Wayne Braffman inquired about whether the borough would be reimbursed for its costs, such as police, and Scalise said it would. Hutchins estimated the event would raise about $10,000.

Borough Council President Danilo P. Maffei suggested that the borough has a good track record for hosting large events. “I think we should try it out,” he said.

The second event, a 13.1-mile half-marathon on Oct. 15, will be organized by Run 2 Shine Inc., said David Berger, its representative. Berger said the event, which is being coordinated with the borough as well as Kennett and East Marlborough townships, would donate proceeds to local nonprofits such as Family Promise, an initiative to assist homeless families, and The Garage, a youth advocacy organization.

Berger said that as soon as all three municipalities approve the Kennett Square Mushroom Cap race, tickets would be available online. He said that small town half-marathons are on the rise and that the only other one in Chester County was held in Coatesville and deemed “too challenging” by some of the runners.

He said the Kennett area course, which would begin and end at the high school stadium, would show off the area and encourage the runners and their families to patronize local businesses.

“I’ve seen them [half-marathons] in small towns,” said Hutchins. “They can be an economic driver for that one weekend.”

Reporting for the Public Safety Committee, Mayor Matt Fetick said the group is reviewing multiple crosswalk options and stop sign requests. He said the committee responded to a recurring request for a handicapped parking space in front of the library. Unfortunately, the space cannot be added safely, he said.

Cramer, who attended the Public Safety Committee meeting, said he was impressed with the process. “It is one of the ways we as a borough government work well and collaboratively,” he said.

In his president’s report, Maffei expressed thanks to the numerous employees who orchestrated an efficient response to the recent blizzard, which dumped more than two feet of snow. He urged residents to sign up for the Swift 911 emergency notification system by visiting the borough’s website or Borough Hall.

Maffei also suggested that residents remember to clear fire hydrants when they are shoveling. Earlier, Fetick said the borough has 20 old-style hydrants that still work but that need to be phased out as funds permit. The new hydrants cost $1,800 apiece, he said.

Doerfler said the owner of the former National Vulcanized Fibre Company (NVF) property, a nearly 24-acre industrial site that has been vacant for more than a decade, has expressed interest in an all-residential development.

“Whatever goes in there is going to have a huge impact on this town,” Doerfler said. “If you have a thought about what you’d like to see, let your councilperson know.”

One opportunity for providing input will occur at a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Genesis HealthCare building at 101 E. State St., said Fetick. He urged residents to take advantage of the chance to discuss topics of interest with borough officials.

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