Fu­ture bright for Ken­nett Square, Ken­nett Twp.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ken­nettpa­per on Twit­ter

Plans out­lined for eco­nomic suc­cess of the bor­ough and Ken­nett Town­ship for the next decade.

KEN­NETT SQUARE >> The old NVF prop­erty, a 26-acre site lo­cated off Mill Road that was once on the Su­per­Fund list for se­ri­ous con­tam­i­na­tion of land, should play a ma­jor role in the eco­nomic suc­cess of the bor­ough and Ken­nett Town­ship for the next decade.

“It’s the key,” said Matt Fet­ick, Ken­nett Square mayor.

That was one of the rec­om­men­da­tions by 4Ward Plan­ning and RBA As­so­ci­ates in a fi­nal re­port Thurs­day night on the Ken­nett Re­gion Eco­nomic Study. The re­port fo­cused on six ar­eas within Ken­nett Square and Ken­nett Town­ship and rep­re­sents a com­mu­nity vi­sion of the type of de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cials need for pros­per­ity in the near fu­ture.

“The NVF site is the home run site for your town,” said Todd Poole of 4Ward Plan­ning. “It is a nice fu­ture de­vel­op­ment site for some­thing to hap­pen there.”

Aban­doned for years, the former in­dus­trial site was re­cently bought by the Delaware Val­ley De­vel­op­ment Corp. Ge­orge Beer, founder and pres­i­dent of DVDC, has pre­sented sev­eral plans to the Ken­nett Square Plan­ning Com­mis­sion that call for a mix of res­i­den­tial and se­nior hous­ing units. But a small por­tion of the NVF site is con­tam­i­nated, pre­vent­ing res­i­den­tial hous­ing there.

In the study, the con­sul­tants fo­cused on six core ar­eas: the State Street cor­ri­dor, the Cy­press Street cor­ri­dor, the area known as Miller’s Hill on the eastern border be­tween the bor­ough and the town­ship, the Ways Lane area in Ken­nett Town­ship, Birch Street from Walnut to Broad streets, the former NVF site and the area on the west side of Mill Road in Ken­nett Town­ship.

NVF Site

Rec­om­men­da­tions for the NVF site in­clude pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of 115 sin­gle-fam­ily du­plex town­houses, 80 multi-fam­ily rental units in four mid-rise apart­ment build­ings, and zon­ing the site for se­nior hous­ing over a one-deck park­ing area. The re­port said the de­vel­oper of the NVF site should ex­plore de­vel­op­ing an aquatic cen­ter with ties to Ge­n­e­sis Health­Care.

In ad­di­tion, of­fi­cials should craft an over­lay zone to re­quire new pub­lic open space of at least one acre on the NVF site. A movie the­ater, ra­dio sta­tion or satel­lite cam­pus for a school sys­tem, or a Google-type cam­pus would be ideal there, the re­port stated. A store such as Trader Joe’s would make the area at­trac­tive, and bor­ough of­fi­cials could con­sider re­lo­cat­ing of­fices to the NVF area.

Miller’s Hill

The rec­om­men­da­tion for Miller’s Hill is to seek re­sources to de­sign, in­stall and main­tain a sig­na­ture gate­way land­scape along frontage from the Cy­press and State streets in­ter­sec­tion to Walnut Street within the

next six months. Of­fi­cials should eval­u­ate zon­ing re­quire­ments for a po­ten­tial busi­ness park and con­sider ex­pand­ing the range of per­mit­ted uses to in­clude hos­pice and med­i­cal or out­pa­tient-re­lated ser­vices. Of­fi­cials should also con­sider il­lu­mi­na­tion of sculp­tural el­e­ments there.

Ways Lane

Ways Lane, on the edge of Ken­nett Square, should play a valu­able role in fu­ture near-term de­vel­op­ment, the plan­ners sug­gested. The area would be well suited for a “tiny house” vil­lage of 20 or more units, the re­port stated. It would also be idea for de­vel­op­ment of about 80 mixed­in­come sin­gles and town­houses. Long­wood Gar­dens could guar­an­tee sea­sonal hous­ing units to its work­ers. Ide­ally, this should be­gin in the next 18 months, the re­port in­di­cated.

Birch Street

Birch Street could re­pur­posed into an arts and cul­tural district. The Cream­ery will not sur­vive on its own, and more needs to be de­vel­oped around it. The re­port said of­fi­cials would be wise to ex­plore pub­lic art fund­ing, and en­gage Long­wood Gar­dens for cu­ra­to­rial voice and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance. The Red Clay Trail should be signed and il­lu­mi­nated, and Birch Street should be con­sid­ered a trail head. Zon­ing should be ex­panded to in­clude mul­ti­fam­ily res­i­den­tial, up to 100 units. Cur­rent in­dus­trial and ware­house build­ings, work yards and park­ing lots should be re­pur­posed. Bor­ough of­fi­cials should add the def­i­ni­tion of a pop-up com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion to make Birch Street a fun area.

State Street

On State Street, walk abil­ity and bike­abil­ity should be ex­tended, draw­ing peo­ple all the way to Vic­tory Brew­ing Co. at Mill Road. Big truck traf­fic should be elim­i­nated and park­ing should be im­proved at Broad Street west to the Mar­ket at Lib­erty Place to make it safer. Busi­nesses on State Street are al­ready pros­per­ing, ben­e­fit­ting from the mar­ket­ing done by His­toric Main Street.

“You don’t have a re­cruit­ment prob­lem,” Poole said. “You don’t have enough space to per­mit all the en­trepreneurs that want to be here. I guar­an­tee that if a shop goes un­der to­mor­row, within two months, some­one will fill that space. Peo­ple want to be here.”

Poole recommended the area is ide­ally suited for an in-town mu­seum or an ur­ban an­chor in­sti­tu­tion. The char­ac­ter of the town should re­main with­out tear­ing build­ings down along State Street. Fi­nally, the tall-build­ing over­lay district should be ex­tended the State, Cy­press and Broad street cor­ri­dors. This would al­low more tall build­ings in town. Also “craft dis­tillery” should be a per­mit­ted use in the C-2 district.

Cy­press Street

On Cy­press Street, of­fi­cials should eval­u­ate the pos­si­bil­ity of a two-way cy­cle track for bi­cy­clists and iden­tify the location for 16 on-street park­ing spa­ces that would be dis­placed. Of­fi­cials should seek fund­ing re­sources to de­sign, in­stall and main­tain sea­sonal plant­ings and street trees, per­haps part­ner­ing with Long­wood Gar­dens.

“There is a great deal of room to grow the west end gate­way,” Poole said.

All of this de­vel­op­ment, Poole said, could have an im­pact on schools, adding about 600 to 1,150 new stu­dents over the next 10 years. But the Ken­nett Con­sol­i­dated School District could eas­ily han­dle it. Poole said his firm is fin­ish­ing up the fis­cal im­pact anal­y­sis this im­pact.

The lack of park­ing in Ken­nett Square was iden­ti­fied as a huge prob­lem. Poole recommended a park­ing garage be built in the western edge of town, near The Mar­ket at Lib­erty Place.

“Ul­ti­mately you will need struc­tured park­ing in this bor­ough, be­cause you are run­ning out of sur­face park­ing area,” he said.

A Vi­sion Part­ner­ship Pro­gram Grant from the Chester County Com­mis­sion­ers, ad­min­is­tered by the county’s Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, funded a por­tion of the $60,000 study. The re­main­der was funded by Ken­nett Town­ship, Ken­nett Square, His­toric Ken­nett Square, and Long­wood Gar­dens.


Matt Fet­ick, Ken­nett Square mayor, ad­dresses the crowd that gath­ered Thurs­day night at the Amer­i­can Le­gion Build­ing to hear the fi­nal re­port on a com­pre­hen­sive eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment study.

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