Residents offer advice for Greenway

Residents in and around Kennett Township shared their visions for the Kennett Greenway in a recent bilingual survey that consultants will use to help guide the vision for the 14-mile trail.

Eight hundred and twenty people completed the survey, which asked questions like where they lived, how they heard about and how they would use the Greenway, and what they want the Greenway should feel like. The results of the survey were presented at the March 3 Kennett Township supervisors’ meeting.

“This survey was very specifically designed to gauge the reactions to the future aesthetics and use of the Greenway,” said Claire Agre, co-founder of Unknown Studio, who spoke about the survey at the supervisors’ meeting. “We designed this survey to be very much about what is the future.”

Christina Norland, the executive director of the Kennett Trails alliance, described the Greenway as “an important Kennett Township project that’s designed to be a long-term infrastructure project that we hope will build a more connected and sustainable community.”

“It’s very integral to the future of Kennett Township,” she said. “The Greenway will also create linkages and connections.”

Unknown Studio, a Baltimore-based landscape, and design firm conducted the survey in January, according to Jennifer Dowdell, a senior landscape ecological designer with Biohabitats — who was part of the team looking at the priorities and goals of the Greenway. The month of February was spent analyzing the survey results.

In March, according to Dowdell, the team is looking at meetings to present preliminary engineering for the project. By the supervisors’ April 7 meeting, there may be a preferred plan for design and construction, according to the planning schedule presented at the March 3 meeting.

In terms of those who took the survey, 39 percent were from Kennett Township, 17 percent from Kennett Square Borough, 11 percent from East Marlborough, and the rest from New Garden, Pennsbury, Avondale, Chadds Ford, the state of Delaware, and other municipalities.

A majority of the people who answered the survey live in Kennett Township and Kennett Borough would like to see the Greenway connect to natural areas and parks, would use the Greenway to walk for exercise or for fun and would prefer the 14-mile trail loop to have more of a natural environment, according to the survey.

One question asked respondents about the kinds of spaces they would want to connect to with the Greenway. About 33 percent wanted to connect to natural areas and parks, 27 percent to recreation and exercise, 15 percent to events and festivals, 12 percent to shopping and businesses, 9 percent to cultural and civic institutions, and 4 percent to work, schools, or daycares.

Agre called those answers interesting, adding, “It’s just so amazing that people are interested already in how they can use this.”

When asked how they would use the Greenway, 26 percent of respondents said they would use it to walk or exercise, 24 percent said they would use it to be in nature, 13 percent said they would be with family or friends, and 10 percent said they would use it for family biking, among other things.

Another question asked how people wanted the Greenway to feel like. The top three answers (at 15, 13, and 10 percent respectively) were a natural environment, scenic, and family-friendly.

“This is about atmosphere,” Agre said. “What folks are looking for in this greenway is a serene experience. We’re really looking to provide something beautiful.”


About Monica Fragale

Monica Thompson Fragale is a freelance reporter who spent her life dreaming of being in the newspaper business. That dream came true after college when she started working at The Kennett Paper and, years later The Reporter newspaper in Lansdale and other dailies. She turned to non-profit work after her first daughter was born and spent the next 13 years in that field. But while you can take the girl out of journalism, you can’t take journalism out of the girl. Offers to freelance sparked the writing bug again started her fingers happily tapping away on the keyboard. Monica lives with her husband and two children in Kennett Square.

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