Old waterworks building in park seen as option for multiple public uses if renovated.
By P.J. D’Annunzio, Staff Writer, KennettTimes.com
KENNETT — Richard Lyon, a representative of the Kennett Area Park Authority, presented details regarding a proposed community center within Anson B. Nixon Park to the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors on Monday.
“There’s been a lot happening with the park within the last few years,” Lyon said, “and for a number of years we’ve been planning to restore the old municipal waterworks in Anson B. Nixon Park. Three years ago, we commissioned a study to find out how we could utilize the old buildings, with their wonderful architecture, to create a community center within the park.”
According to the proposal, the buildings would be renovated and adapted for purpose of creating a common area which would serve as a hub for public gatherings. The park has no storage facilities or offices of any kind either and these buildings would be used to support community-run operations in that capacity. It is envisioned that events such as the Kennett Run, local sports leagues, and a variety of other local organizations that frequently use the park for community events will be able to employ this space for their activities as well. The current DPW area will also be the site of the future parking lot used for the proposed facilities, eliminating the need for on-grass parking.
The vision of KAPA, according to Lyon, is to create and ever improving park over the period of the next twenty-five years, and to build upon and continue renovation and renewal projects as money becomes available. KAPA is funded solely by donations and revenue earned from joint borough operations such as allowing cell phone companies to place beacons atop the town’s water tower, located at the street side section of the park. The organization is also the only park authority in the county to be unsupported by tax revenue.
Several existing facilities in the park such as the playground, tennis courts, and basketball courts are to be relocated or reconstructed. “The Basketball courts are too close to the playground and the tennis courts are facing drainage issues,” Lyon concluded, “so we came up with this vision to bring all of these things together, to improve the safety, the functionality, and the aesthetics of the park.”
At this time the project is still in the preliminary planning stages. There is currently no proposed date for the renovation and construction of new buildings designed by Archer & Buchanan Architecture, LTD. Costs and budget analyses are set to commence within the next three to six months.
In other township news, representatives of Kennett Fire Company and Longwood Fire Company were present at the meeting to accept donations on behalf of their respective groups.
“We were reminded that our two fire companies who continutally operate on tight budgets are being stretched thin by increasing gasoline and diesel prices,” Kennett Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Allan Falcoff said, “as such we are giving a donation to both companies to help offset this major operating cost. We hope that our gift will encourage other municipalities who rely on their services to voluntarily increase their contributions.”
Finally, the board announced that a recent engineering inspection illuminated serious structural faults with the Chandler Mill Bridge, thus making it unfit for vehicular traffic. The bridge, which is operated by Chester County, has been shut down and the appropriate detour signs have been posted.
P.J. D’Annunzio is a reporter for our sister site, The Kennett Times, which launches formally on June 1.