Growth spurts dominate Kennett Twp. meeting

Kennett Township focused on growth of assorted types at its supervisors’ meeting this week.

Kennett Township Police Chief Lydell E. Nolt (from right) poses with Cpl. Jeffrey Call, Det. Amanda Wenrich and Sgt. Matthew Gordon.

Kennett Township Police Chief Lydell E. Nolt (from right) poses with Cpl. Jeffrey Call, Det. Amanda Wenrich and Sgt. Matthew Gordon.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, the board heard a report from Police Chief Lydell E. Nolt, who has presided over the township’s police force since 2015. The department was founded in 2004, and since then it has increased in size from one full-time officer to five full-timers and two part-time officers. In conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police, it provides 24-hour coverage to residents.

Nolt said that of the 473 police incidents that occurred in September, only 27 were handled by the state police. Applauding the work of the chief and the department, Supervisors Chairman Scudder G. Stevens noted that the numbers had essentially reversed themselves in the past year or so, with the township taking the bulk of the calls.

“Thank you for leading us so effectively,” said Stevens.

Nolt credited the department’s success with the support it has received from the supervisors, Township Manager Lisa M. Moore, and members of the department, three of whom received promotions at the meeting.

Officer Amanda Wenrich, who has successfully led criminal investigations ranging from complex financial crimes to sexual assaults, was promoted to detective and lead criminal investigator, Nolt said.  He added that Wenrich has spent many hours in specialized training during the past year in preparation for the position.

Nolt said Officer Jeffrey Call, who has more than 15 years of police experience and a strong community-policing mindset, received the rank of corporal. Call will be assigned as a patrol supervisor, evidence supervisor and traffic enforcement supervisor.

Officer Matthew Gordon was elevated to the rank of sergeant – and second in command of the department. Nolt said Gordon’s 20-plus years of police experience, including work as a lieutenant in the city of Coatesville and as a Chester County Detective, made him a strong choice to supervise all criminal investigation and patrol operations.

Kennett Township Supervisors Whitney S. Hoffman (from left), Richard L. Leff and Scudder G. Stevens are shown with Township Manager Lisa M. Moore prior to the start of Wednesday night's meeting.

Kennett Township Supervisors Whitney S. Hoffman (from left), Richard L. Leff and Scudder G. Stevens are shown with Township Manager Lisa M. Moore before Wednesday night's meeting.

In addition to overseeing growth in the police department, the supervisors launched an aggressive open-space campaign more than a year ago when the township had preserved less than 20 percent of its land. They hired Michael Guttman as a grant program coordinator, and developed a plan to increase that percentage to 30 percent.

On Wednesday night, the supervisors voted unanimously to authorize Moore to make an offer of $1.9 million for an approximately 80-acre parcel. She explained that the location could not be disclosed until the deal was finalized.

Moore said that the township would seek grants or the transfer of development rights to help defray the cost. She said the two options could not be combined so the township would pursue the most cost-effective one. She said the township has about $3 million in its open-space fund.

In response to a question from resident Nancy Hughes, Moore said the township would own the land and it would be open to the public. In addition, trails would likely be added, she said.

Guttman said if the seller accepted the agreement, the township’s preserved open space would rise from about 19 percent to 22 percent. “It’s a significant purchase,” he said.

Finally, Roger Lysle, the borough’s public works director, reminded the audience that the township would celebrate the opening of Barkingfield Park on Sunday, Oct. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 3 p.m., and the event will include face-painting, hay rides, and refreshments.

“I hope to see everyone there,” Lysle said.

 

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