Anson Nixon Park anniversary

Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square turns 30 this year. According to John Gaadt, vice-chairman of the Kennett Area Park Authority, Kennett Township and the Borough of Kennett Square got together to start the park after a landfill was closed where the soccer fields are now.

“The land was going to be turned over to the township when the landfill was leaving, but the township and the borough had a vision of providing a park for the community,” the KAPA vice-chairman said.

Sheila Tekavec, KAPA’s office manager, said the two entities got together and formed an authority to operate the site. The park opened to the public on June 12, 1993, 15 years after the landfill was closed down. It’s named for Anson B. Nixon, a former Kennett Township supervisor who was also chairman of the Regional Landfill Authority.

According to KAPA's website, the park was originally established for passive recreation, but there’s much more to it now. There are two ponds that are home to geese, turtles and fish, and where the park has its annual Trout Rodeo. There are the Tino Lito soccer fields, basketball courts, a playground area, frisbee golf, tennis and pickleball courts, pavilions, two dog parks, and almost three miles of walking trails in the 106-acre park off N. Walnut Street. There’s also a community garden where people can rent a plot for $25 per growing season, spring into autumn.

There’s also been improved lighting, parking, and the installation of indoor restrooms that are open spring through autumn. Tekavec also said there’s been improved connectivity with the borough so that most people in Kennett Square can walk to and from the park.

The playground area and the walking trails seem to be what most of the people who come to the park are interested in.

“When we started doing the most recent fundraising appeal,” Tekavec said, “we put a question on the reply card saying, ‘Tell us what you love the most about Anson B. Nixon Park’ and the answers are amazing. People talk about how much they love coming here with their dogs, and how it means so much that they can come here with their grandchildren. And a lot of people said what it meant to them that they could come here during COVID. It became a place where they could go outside and de-stress.”

The authority was recently awarded a DCNR grant to build a new playground. Gaadt said the plan for the next five to 10 years, in addition to the new playground, is to renovate the old borough waterworks that are on the property and convert them into offices for the authority and to make some indoor space for the community. And they’re thinking of making a splash pad for young kids to play in very shallow water without swimming. “They can run in it,” he said.

There will also be a new pavilion and a small plaza where there can be smaller outdoor events without the need for the large band shell that’s near the ponds.

Gaadt said many people have told him that the park is “a place of peace” for them. “It’s a real gem for the community. It’s within walking distance from the borough and a lot of people from the township can walk or ride bikes to the park. It’s a real community asset.

There’s a party scheduled for Wednesday evening, June 21 to celebrate the park’s 30 years. As with all such parties, there will be ice cream and cake, but also live music, some giveaways, and “maybe a few other surprises” Tekavec said. That night will also mark the return of the Wednesday night concerts in the park.

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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