Kennett Sq. swears Holdsworth in as new PD Chief

By Eliza Mohler, Staff Writer, The Times

Mayor Matthew Fetick swears William Holdsworth in as Kennett Square’s new chief of police as Holdsworth’s wife Debbie looks on.

KENNETT – Kennett Square’s finest turned out in full force on Monday night to support William Holdsworth as he was officially sworn in as the new chief of police at the Borough Council meeting. Retired chief Ed Zunino and Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan also attended the ceremony.

During his remarks before swearing Holdsworth in, Mayor Matthew Fetick noted the loss of officers that the police department has faced recently, due to retirements and job changes.

“I absolutely believe that Bill is capable and ready to grow the department and to relaunch the department in the way that he sees fit, and he’s got a great vision,” Fetick said. “Anything that I’ve ever asked, he’s always done with integrity and with a strong commitment to the borough, and I think what we’re doing tonight will put the borough in a better place than it was yesterday.”

Chief of Police William Holdsworth stands with members of the Kennett Square police department after his swearing in ceremony.

Fetick added that since the selection announcement was made in March, several community members have approached Fetick and congratulated the borough on choosing Holdsworth, both for his qualifications and because he is well-known in the area. Speaking on behalf of the Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, Carlos Navarro also praised Holdsworth.

“We are delighted that he is our new police chief, a lot of people know and like him,” he said. “We respect this man, he’s a man of integrity as long as I’ve known him. I told him tonight that that we are ready to work with him to have a better Kennett Square.”

Kennett Fire Company No. 1 officers Steven Melton, Christopher Plumley, and Bruce Mitchell were sworn in on Monday evening.

In addition to Holdsworth, three new full-time police officers were sworn in: Johnathan Ortiz, Evan Jackson, and Alex Schwab. Kennett Fire Company No. 1 also had three officers sworn in: Fire Chief Christopher Plumley, Assistant Chief Bruce Mitchell, and Battalion Chief Steven Melton.

After a brief recess, the meeting proceeded. Rusty Drumheller gave the Codes Department and Planning Commission reports, noting during the former that 504 inspections have been conducted so far this year. He also said that the department office has received 1,628 phone calls to date in 2017, compared to 887 at the same time last year.

When council member Ethan Cramer asked why the phone calls and other department actions have increased so much, Drumheller replied, “Kennett’s busy; most of it is zoning. We spend hours trying to figure it out.”

Council member Wayne Braffman asked Drumheller about the status of the Birch Street zoning project, and he replied that there was no progress. Braffman said that when the council had voted in December to allow a temporary use permit for the Creamery because they did not have the proper zoning in place on Birch Street, they had agreed that it was a top priority, and that there needs to be significant progress soon so they can work with developers.

During his Finance Committee report, Council Vice President Geoffrey Bosley noted that there was a $287,000 surplus in the 2016 budget, which is an improvement over the 2015 budget.

“It’s been an uphill climb, but we’re on the other side of the mountain,” Bosley said. “All in all, it’s been a pretty positive year.” He also said that the committee will be reviewing the cost of “large-ticket items” in an effort to reduce expenditures in 2017, including legal costs.

Highlights of the Kennett Area Park Authority report included the announcement of the third annual “Rock the Park” benefit at Anson B. Nixon Park on Sunday, September 24, which will feature a performance by the rock band Love Seed Mama Jump. Proceeds from this event will be used to create a dog park in the borough. The Garage Youth Give Back Day community service project will be held on Saturday, April 29, and the Bark in the Park benefit by Kennett Rotary will be held on Tuesday, May 16. The park’s free concert series will begin on Wednesday, June 21, and La Comunidad Hispana will hold a family healthy living day on Saturday, September 23.

The Kennett Area Park and Recreation’s summer camp series will be held for four weeks at New Garden Elementary School and four weeks at Bancroft Elementary School. The cost is $815 for the entire eight-week session, and one-week options are available. The New Garden Airport Run the Runway 5K run will be held on Sunday, August 20, and the Mushroom Festival 5K run and two-mile walk will be held on Sunday, September 10.

Drumheller presented a discussion item as to whether the council would be interested in taking any proactive measures regarding potential permit applications from medical marijuana growers and dispensaries in the borough, especially in regard to zoning. After deliberation among the members, the council advised Drumheller to hold off on looking into possible measures for the time being, due in part to the codes department currently having several other priorities that need to be addressed.

Borough Manager Joe Scalise asked the council to authorize the Public Utility Commission’s railroad crossing application and trails alliance, and the request was approved. Scalise also presented two community revitalization program grant application submissions for the council’s consideration: one for $600,000 for a parking garage expansion, and one two-phase application for improvements on Birch Street, which would total two million dollars.

After a lengthy debate during which council members were divided, it was decided that Scalise should submit both grant applications, with the parking garage expansion being ranked above the Birch Street project in preference, since grant funding for the garage project is needs to be secured in order for the borough to move forward with plans for a new library building.

The council gave approval to the Kennett Library to hold a free paper shredding event on Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the parking lot between the library and Borough Hall. During his president’s report, Danilo Maffei announced that April 4 is the kick off of the One Billion Steps in Chester County in 2017 campaign, which is intended to promote a healthy, outdoors-focused lifestyle by having people sign up and document how much walking they do throughout 2017. All of the steps walked in the county by the participants will then be aggregated in an attempt to reach one billion steps. Sign up information is available at

Maffei also mentioned two upcoming hazardous waste drop-off collection sites for residential households in Chester County: the first is on Saturday, April 8 at 1580 Charlestown Road in Phoenixville, and the second is on Saturday, April 22 at Octorara High School in Atglen. Both collection sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Electronics and appliances will not be accepted, nor will any items containing freon. More information is available at

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