Library board rules out shared building with Kennett Sq.

By Eliza Mohler, Staff Writer, The Times

Kennett Square Borough Council President Danilo Maffei reads the council’s response to the Kennett Library’s decision to build a new library on their own, Monday.

KENNETT SQUARE –The library is open, but its partnership with Borough officials to build a new multi-purpose community center is closed.

Thomas Swett, the chairman of the Kennett Library Board, announced the library’s decision at the July 3 Kennett Square Borough Council meeting to not move forward with the proposed community building project, which would have included a new police station and borough offices. Reading from a prepared statement, Swett thanked the borough for the invitation to explore the possibility of collaborating on a project, and he thanked borough officials for the work that they put into the effort.

“We all tried earnestly and in good faith to make this idea work for everyone,” Swett said, adding that “the obstacles got the better of us.” The obstacles he referenced include differing timelines and priorities of both parties.

Council President Danilo Maffei read from a statement in response:

“I thank the library board for all of the work investigating the idea of a joint venture in the form of a community building that would encapsulate a library, borough administrative offices, police department and public gathering place,” he said. “We believe both bodies did their due diligence in finding the best possible, mutually beneficial relationship for our constituencies.”

Swett also told the council that the library will proceeding with building a new facility on its own, and that it needs a site that offers the right size, location, and visibility. He requested that the borough sell the Weinstein lot on State Street to the library at a reasonable price; the lot had been the proposed site for the joint building project. Maffei noted that work on the sale of the lot is in process.

Council Vice President Geoffrey Bosley presented a report from the finance committee, including ideas to increase parking revenue. He stated the borough is currently working on a joint search for grants with Kennett Township and announced that all finance committee meeting minutes are now available via the public Dropbox folder on the borough’s website (

Borough Manager Joe Scalise presented the codes department and planning commission reports, and no one was present from Kennett Area Park Authority to give their report. The Kennett Area Parks & Recreation Board submitted a written report and recommended that resident Michael Caccavo be appointed as a new member of the board, which was approved by the council.

The proposal submitted to the council on June 5 for Kennett Square to possibly become one of six municipalities to participate in the EMS regional commission was discussed, with commission representative and Kennett Township Supervisor Scudder Stevens in attendance. Borough Manager Joe Scalise said the council had not yet considered the proposal.

Council member Ethan Cramer cited the reasons why he is in favor of the proposal, including that it would be good for Kennett Fire Company #1.

“This includes a 20-year plan for how equipment will be replaced,” Cramer said.

Council member Wayne Braffman asked Kennett Fire Chief Chris Plumley if the company feels like their voice would be heard with the commission, and Plumley replied yes.

“We’ve had a great relationship with the borough and the township for years, and I don’t feel that this will change that,” he said, adding that he hopes other municipalities will benefit from the arrangement as well.

Stevens explained that in order for the EMS regional commission to move forward with the project, all municipalities’ commitments have to “be up and about, and ready to go dancing,” in October, which would mean that council needs to vote on whether or not to join it by the end of August. Maffei replied that the council will try to get the proposal reviewed by Borough Solicitor Marc Jonas in order to be able to put it on the agenda of their next meeting.

Clara Saxton from the Historical Architectural Review Board presented five applications for building improvements, including renovations to the fence and loading dock area of the Kennett Friends Home on 147 West State Street. All of the applications were approved by council. A special event application for the Kennett High School Homecoming Parade on Friday, September 22, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. was also approved.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment