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Kennett Greenway

Skyrocketing costs, endless delays, and the lack of an overall plan plague the Greenway as envisioned by the Square Roots Collective. Their signature project - a 1.4 mile sidepath alongside for Chandler Mill Road - costs more than $7M, cuts down hundreds of trees, provides questionable benefits to cyclists, would take years to complete, and even when completed would not connect to a well-maintained path in the north.    

Background

For almost a decade, we have been excited by the promise of a 14 miles shared use path encircling Kennett Square - the “Kennett Greenway” to improve the lives of its residents and lure visitors to the region.  Kennett Township has delegated leadership of efforts to develop the Greenway to the “Kennett Trails Alliance” or KTA, a program within the Square Roots Collective. KTA promoted its own vision of the Greenway as a 14 mile long, 10’ wide, paved path for pedestrians and cyclists (aka a "shared use path") passing through the countryside surrounding the township.  KTA pays staff who lobby municipalities to apply for grants, who coordinate meetings with the designers and the community once projects are underway, and who vigorously promote the Greenway through posts and community events.

The Greenway has not been without controversy, not the least of which are associated with . It is plagued with skyrocketing costs and endless delays.  The 1.4 mile Chandler Mill Trail, currently in "final design" for more than a year will have taken at least a decade to complete, if it ever is. The cost has climbed steadily, from $4 to now $5.5 million.  There is no plan or budget for maintaining the trail - the .8 mile Parrish Trail (the only section of the Greenway partially completed after a decade of effort) is criss-crossed with ruts and ends in a field. It is not even clear if or how the the sections will be connected - there is no master plan, and the more than $6 million of projects funded or in development to date would result in 3 disconnected sections totaling about 3 miles. And KTA has promoted plans with high environmental costs - to complete the 1.4 mile long Chandler Mill Trail, almost 300 trees must be cut down and countless more damaged.

After eight years and close to $1 million already spend on design, we believe that we must now accept that the Kennett Greenway as envisioned by KTA will never be completed. Based on progress thus far, the Greenway would cost $30-40M and take at east 2-3 decades to complete, if it eve will be.  On OpenKennett, we present the data that have led us to this conclusion on projects like the Chandler Mill Trail and the Red Clay Park that risk falling far short of expectations and needs. Accepting the fact that KTAs vision will never be realized will help ensure that public funds will be directed to projects that are actually likely to succeed. We believe that these can become part of the Kennett Greenways: a network of paved paths, road-based cycling routes, and natural trails (like the trail to the right through Stateline Woods Preserve). Crisscrossing the region, it can be tailored to meet the needs of every group of users, and built in  fiscally and environmentally responsible ways. Follow our Kennett Greenway Forum to stay informed.

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To learn more, follow the timeline by clicking here. This details the evolution of the Greenway in Kennett through the work of the original design team, and the new design team installed in 2020. Click on links to read supporting documents 

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