Decade-long investment in county’s urban-centers celebrated

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Kennett Square gets additional $3 million for Gateway Project

By Kathleen Brady Shea Managing Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com

Flanked by the county commissioners - Kathi Cozzone (from left), Ryan A. Costello and Terence Farrell - Kennett Square Manager Brant Kucera displays the borough's $676,000 grant award.

The fact that a large portion of more than $48 million in county funds went underground did not lessen enthusiasm for the Community Revitalization Program that put it there during the past decade.

Instead, dozens of county urban-center representatives and county officials gathered this morning to celebrate the program’s 10-year anniversary and praise the accomplishments it has funded – a prelude to an announcement of new grant awards totaling another $3 million.

“I think this is a really exciting day,” said Commissioner Kathi Cozzone, explaining the enduring gratification of seeing the “before and after” for many of the projects. “This is a perfect program to talk to your citizens about.”

Kennett Square Borough Manager Brant Kucera is happy to oblige.

“It’s absolutely a great program,” he said. “It’s really been exciting to see the changes in Kennett; it just keeps getting better and better.”

Since the program’s inception in 2002, the Chester County Department of Community Development has partnered with 15 boroughs and the City of Coatesville, providing funds for infrastructure improvements ranging from sewer pump stations to streetscapes, said Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell.

Beneficiaries of the projects – including renovations to Coatesville’s Community Center, Avondale’s water system, Modena’s sewer pump station, and Kennett Square’s sidewalks – all echoed the same theme: The work would not have happened without the program’s jumpstart.

Commissioner Ryan Costello said that some of the less visible improvements, such as upgrades to water and sewer systems, are the most critical since they can deter development. Touting the “return on investment” – and apologizing for sounding like a rapper – he said: “The ROI on the CRP” has been tangibly impressive. He said the urban centers’ aggregate real-estate valuation has increased 11 percent since 2002, an improvement that likely could not have occurred without the upgrades provided through the CRP.

The new awards include $353,347 to Avondale for a water trunk main extension that will accommodate a 250-unit townhouse development; $105,285 to Modena for sewer meter relocation designed to produce more accurate readings for the borough’s 535 residents; and $676,000 to Kennett Square for its West Cypress Street Gateway Project, which will include streetscape improvements such as LED lights, sidewalk upgrades and a center planting island.

“It’s going to help provide a welcoming entrance,” Kucera said of the Kennett Square project.

Pat Bokovitz, who directs the county’s Department of Community Development, predicted that the next 10-year anniversary will generate even more success stories. “I see tremendous things coming,” he said.

 

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