The Borough of Kennett Square, Kennett Township and Historic Kennett Square work together to guide future development

For Immediate Release

For more information:
Mary Hutchins, Historic Kennett Square
mary@historickennettsquare.com
610-444-8188

The Borough of Kennett Square, Kennett Township and Historic Kennett Square work together to guide future development

Residents, businesses, municipal officials and others will soon have the opportunity to help guide future growth in the Kennett region.

Historic Kennett Square, the Borough of Kennett Square and Kennett Township have hired Todd Poole of 4ward Planning and Mark Keener of the RBA Group to study economic development affecting both municipalities.

Work on the project, which includes an economic development strategy and implementation plan, will begin later this summer and is expected to last until December 2016. Public involvement will be an integral part.

“Between Historic Kennett Square, Kennett Square and Kennett Township, we wanted to develop a plan for the future,” said Tom Sausen, an Historic Kennett Square board member and chairman of its Economic Development Task Force. “It’s important to have a community vision.”

A Vision Partnership Program Grant from the Chester County Commissioners, administered by the County Planning Commission, will fund part of the $60,000 study. The remainder is being funded by both municipalities (Kennett Township & Kennett Borough), Historic Kennett Square, Genesis HealthCare and Longwood Gardens.

“We felt it was important to be part of this study since the Township totally surrounds the Borough,” Kennett Township Manager Lisa Moore said. “It is extremely important that we have an agreeable vision for the areas that border both municipalities.”

The project will set priorities for where and how the region grows, the continuation of the Borough’s revitalization, and the protection of natural, rural and historic heritage.

The consultants from 4ward Planning and the RBA Group will focus on seven areas. They include:

  • State Street corridor;
  • Cypress Street corridor;
  • Birch Street from Walnut to Broad streets;
  • The area known as Millers Hill, on the eastern border between the Borough and the Township;
  • The Ways Lane area in the Township;
  • The former NVF site in the Borough; and
  • The area on the west side of Mill Road in the Township.

“The primary areas currently have the most potential in the short and long term with future economic development,” Sausen said.

Those areas are gateways to the Borough, Moore said, “and also areas that need to be improved with creative, innovative development.”

The project will also include the creation of a task force, comprising representatives from the Borough, the Township, and Historic Kennett Square; Longwood Gardens; the Chester County Planning Commission; and community members. The task force will meet eight to 10 times with the consultants, and a total of three public meetings will be held during the planning process.

For 4ward Planning and the RGA Group, studying the Kennett region complements previous economic studies they have completed, both locally and nationally. In 2013, 4ward Planning completed a market study and economic and financial analysis of a former industrial site in Yorklyn, Del. According to a summary of the project that 4ward provided as part of its proposal, the project examined areas such as tourism and recreation-related spending, building reuse, and special events.

Additional projects in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Michigan, and New Jersey have included community-wide market analyses, studies on transfers of development rights, examinations of revitalization areas, and more.

Poole will lead the consulting team as the project manager. The president and founder of 4ward Planning has spent more than 22 years in economic development, specializing in impact analyses, redevelopment and revitalization, among other things.

Keener is RBA Group’s director of urban design and will serve as one of three key staff members on Poole’s team. His background includes 15 years as an urban designer and architect who has worked with municipal governments, non-profits, and state and regional agencies.

Four analysts from 4ward and RBA will round out the consulting team.

Some of the tasks included in the project include reviewing planning documents germane to the county and the local municipalities; interviewing stakeholders, such as residents, municipal officials, developers, and property and business owners; conduct a comprehensive market analysis of the Kennett region; develop an economic development plan of action; conduct three public meetings to garner public input on the economic development of the region; and a review of the township and borough’s zoning requirements as they relate to the seven focus areas.

The consultants will create a draft report of the task outcomes and present it to the task force and the municipalities for review and comments. A final report will be prepared, once approved, and will include an executive summary, a PowerPoint presentation, maps, and renderings.

“We have high hopes for this,” Sausen said. “These are areas that have a lot of potential for growth. There needs to be a consensus. And the consultants’ job will be to provide some ideas and get that consensus.”

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Please contact the Chester County Commissioners for comment on this story via Rebecca Brain – 610-344-6279 or rbrain@chesco.org