By Eliza Mohler, Staff Writer, The Times
KENNETT – The Kennett Arts Alliance presented its initial plan to help cultivate the local art scene at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors.
Presenter Abe Hughes said the newly formed group is working closely with Historic Kennett Square, with the long-term goal of creating a singular local arts organization. “The idea is that folks from the township and the borough are coming together to try to reposition Kennett to become more arts centric,” Hughes said, noting that the established tourism in the area generated by Longwood Gardens, the Brandywine River Museum, and Winterthur could be highly beneficial to the group’s efforts.
He added that the plan is still in the feasibility research stage and would most likely take at least three years to reach full realization, depending on support from local developers, civic leaders, and the community at large. “Art can change and revitalize a community,” Hughes said. “We could do it in a pleasant way that is tastefully done.”
Hughes’ presentation outlined different ways that the township and the borough could foster art-focused spaces, including transforming alleyways, such as Church Alley, into public art display areas. He also discussed the group’s idea to create an art district along Birch Street that would allow for participation from all artists in the area to create their work in affordable spaces, since not all local artists can afford studio space in the expensive Philadelphia market. Hughes mentioned that the group is talking to developers in the area about the possibility of creating such a space.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Scudder Stevens opened the meeting. Also present were Vice-Chair Whitney Hoffman, Township Manager Lisa Moore, Chief of Police Lydell Nolt, and Public Works Director Roger Lysle. Supervisor Richard Leff was absent.
The board passed a resolution in support of Westtown Township’s efforts to preserve historic Crebilly Farm, as well as an ordinance regarding the types of signs that can be placed in Kennett Township. “This is to amend the current sign ordinance that was adopted a year and a half ago,” Moore said. “It revises certain provisions over billboards, off-premise signs and changeable copy signs, and to add provisions governing signs located along the scenic byway. It also talks about municipal signs that would be exempt.” She added that the sign ordinance has the approval of the Chester County and township planning commissions and can be viewed on the township’s website (www.kennett.pa.us).
During Moore’s report, she announced three new grants that have been received by the township: $225,000 to resurface some of the existing trails by the end of 2017; $1.2 million to create a new multi-use trail along Chandler Mill Road to the bridge; and $700,000 to create additional sidewalks from McFarlan Road from Rosedale Road to Old Baltimore Pike, then down Old Baltimore Pike to connect to the borough. Stevens praised Moore and the township staff for their good work in using grant resources to help fund infrastructure improvements.
Moore requested that the board commit to providing $360,050 to cover approximately half of the proposed purchase price of a currently undisclosed 20-acre open space parcel in the township; matching funds would be provided by the county and the state. She said that the property, which would be owned by a conservation organization, would provide linkage connections to different properties in the township in order to complete the trail system and to connect preserves. The board approved the request.
During his report, Nolt said that the township police responded to 443 incidents in the township in February 2017. He noted that burglaries and thefts in the township are slightly on the rise, and he said that residents may want consider investing in security systems to help safeguard their property. He added that anyone who is concerned about theft prevention or needs advice is welcome to contact his office. Nolt said he had asked the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to complete a traffic safety study along Old Kennett Road. As a result of the study, the speed limit along Old Kennett Road will be reduced to 40 miles per hour and 30 miles per hour along the Clifton Mills section of the road.
Lysle announced that the annual township spring cleanup day will take place on Saturday, March 25, and that anyone who would like to help with the effort can contact him for supplies. He also thanked Nolt for his assistance in directing traffic while the township road crew cleared snow from an intersection that had been missed by Penn DOT earlier in the week, and he thanked the crew itself for successfully managing the difficult snow and ice removal process.