Economic development plan set to debut

The research on the Kennett area’s future development has been analyzed, the comments have been considered, and the results are ready.

Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, addresses the audience at the American Legion building.

Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, addresses the audience during one of the public sessions for the economic development study.

A public forum to present the Economic Development Strategy and Implementation Plan will be held on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the American Legion Hall in downtown Kennett Square, according to a Historic Kennett Square press release.

Historic Kennett Square, along with the Chester County Planning Commission, the Borough of Kennett Square, Kennett Township, Longwood Gardens, and Genesis HealthCare, commissioned the study to develop an economic vision for the next five to 10 years. The objective was to preserve the charm of Kennett Square while providing a road map for future development so that inevitable changes support the area’s existing community and character.

“Without a vision and a plan, future development could negatively impact Kennett Square,” Tom Sausen, vice president of Historic Kennett Square and chairman of its Economic Development Task Force, said in the release.

To lead the study, Historic Kennett Square chose 4Ward Planning and RBA Associates, business partners with national experience in urban planning, land use development, and economic development.

The goal of the of the economic vision is to build upon Kennett’s one-of-a-kind small town experience, which includes good schools, safe streets, and a charming walkable downtown located near a network of trails, parks and nearby attractions like Longwood Gardens.

“Beyond the mushroom and craft beer festivals, Kennett Square is getting noticed as a very attractive place to live and work. Recent projects like Victory Brewing and Magnolia Place have proven the value of investment in Kennett Square,” said Sausen in the release. “With a new level of interest from developers, Historic Kennett Square felt the need to be proactive and responsibly direct this new attention.”

The plan focuses on six areas within the borough and township: the State Street corridor; the Cypress Street corridor; Birch Street from Walnut to Broad streets; the area known as Millers Hill, on the eastern border between the borough and the township; the Ways Lane area in Kennett Township; and the former NVF property, a nearly 24-acre vacant industrial site in the borough, along with the area on the west side of Mill Road in the township.

“The plan is more of a guide for future development,” Nicole Grebloskie, president of the Historic Kennett Square Board of Directors, said in the release.

Sausen said he was excited to share the results with the public. Development will still go through the regular planning stages in the borough or township. The plan will ensure that “developers, the borough and the township all are on the same page relative to how our community would like to see things develop in the long term,” he said.

“This study is designed to provide a vision that will identify specific opportunities, and will include action steps that could make this vision a reality,” Sausen added.

The American Legion Hall is located at the corner of Broad and State streets; attendees should use the Broad Street entrance, the release said.


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