Kennett Township officials to focus on acquiring open space, community policing

Kennett Square >> The emphasis on municipal policing and acquiring open space seen last year in Kennett Township seems likely to continue.

Township supervisors began their first meeting of the new year by approving a resolution that would enable them to avoid paying transfer taxes if they are successful in negotiating to acquire a new and sizable piece of land to keep as open space.

The supervisors typically do not discuss the actual tract in question until the negotiations are finished to avoid attracting other buyers and losing the opportunity to acquire it. But acquisition of open space has been going on for several years, with 68 acres preserved last year.

The supervisors also looked on as their seventh full-time police officer, Elysia Simmons, was sworn in to the municipal police force. Township manager Lisa Moore said the municipal police force is providing coverage nearly 24 hours a day at this point.

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Police Chief Lydell Nolt showed the attendees a short video made with the department’s new body cameras. He said the cameras helped to document interactions and would continue the process of demonstrating the department’s commitment to professional excellence.

Moore described the township’s achievements in 2017. These included acquiring open space, improvements and events in Barkingfield Park, establishing a traffic impact fee for developments, extending the township’s program to develop indoor agriculture and its trails network, and successfully applying for large grants for those and other efforts.

The township also began installing sidewalks in areas where they would promote recreation and safety, Moore said, set up a scrap metal collection container, finalized a regional emergency services management commission, and had a second successful holiday village event.

Scudder Stevens, chair of the supervisors, mentioned that among the awards the township won last year was a state award, the Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence in Building Community Partnerships, personally given to Moore for her work by the governor.

In addition to reviewing the township’s year and looking forward, the supervisors heard reports on past achievements and future plans from representatives of the safety committee, the trails and sidewalk committee, the environmental advisory council, the historic commission, the library board, the Kennett Area Park Authority, the deer management committee, the land conservation advisory committee, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway Commission, the township grant coordinator and sustainable development director, and the the new economic development director for the township and borough.