Soybeans not shops, for now

Pettinaro property at Ridge Road and Route 202 in Concord township bordering Chadds Ford will be farmed, at least for now. (File photo.)

There's been no official word from Pettinaro Company, but the proposed shopping center at Route 202 and Ridge Road remains on hold. Work on the 22-plus acre property was delayed when it was determined that wetlands were part of the site, but now the property will be farmed, at least temporarily.

Passersby and merchants in Olde Ridge Village have seen activity in recent weeks. According to Concord Township Manager Amanda Serock, swales were being cut in to allow a local farmer to plant soybeans and, later, wheat. Serock said she didn't know any more than that, with no idea who the farmer is or for how long the site would be farmed.

Pettinaro's project manager did not respond to email or phone calls for further information.

In October 2008, Concord supervisors approved the site on the border with Chadds Ford Township for a 190,000 square foot shopping center with 21 retail pads, three for restaurants, and another 58,000 square foot pad for an anchor store. Controversy and litigation surrounded the project when Chadds Ford Township residents learned later that part of the shopping center's design included widening Ridge Road from two to six lanes and that the main entrance would be on Ridge, not 202. Residents expressed concern about safety because of the fear of increased traffic in an already congested area.

Construction had not yet begun, and Concord reaffirmed approval in 2014.

Chadds Ford Township was to have signed off on highway improvements, but that was never done officially. Later, in 2017, Supervisors' Chairman Frank Murphy refused to do so.

"I won't sign off until I'm satisfied that our residents' concerns have been addressed," he said he said at the time.

After several trips to the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, the project was to have moved forward. However, the wetlands situation stalled the construction.

For now, at least, it's soybeans and wheat instead of retail shops and restaurants, and Ridge Road remains two lanes wide.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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