By Eliza Mohler, Staff Writer, The Times
KENNETT SQUARE – Somehow, it seemed inevitable that Bayard Taylor would get back into the picture.
At Monday night’s meeting of the Kennett Borough Council, it was announced that the new Kennett Library building will be renamed as the Kennett Library at the Bayard Taylor Commons. The now Kennett Library had previously been named for decades in honor of the 19th Century poet and author who was a borough native.
“There were some problems with the name change in 2016, as it was done in a way that upset many people in town,” said library board member Brenda Mercomes. “We realize a lot of people love Bayard Taylor, so we’re not leaving him out of the naming.”
A Bayard Taylor display has also been added to the current library.
Mercomes said that a public meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the atrium of the Genesis Building, located at 101 East State Street. During the meeting, people can view and comment on preliminary design plans for the new library, which will be built on the corner of State and South Willow Streets.
Borough Council President Danilo Maffei opened the meeting, and the entire council was present. Immediately before the meeting, the council had held a private executive session regarding personnel matters relative to the borough manager, solid waste disposal, and the Kennett Library.
Borough secretary Karen Scherer gave the fire company report for March 2017 in on behalf of Chief Christopher Plumley, who was out on a call. She noted that there were 91 EMS calls, 57 transports (including 35 advanced life support incidents and 22 basic life support incidents), and seven refusals. There were also 25 fires handled by the department.
Chief of Police Bill Holdsworth provided the police department report for March 2017. He said that there were nine category part one offenses, 36 category part two offenses, and 25 arrests. There were also 136 traffic citations issued and 40 traffic warnings. A total of 656 calls were received by the department during March.
The council discussed a recommendation request from the planning commission regarding how many parking spaces should be provided per unit by the developers of the new senior housing apartments on Mulberry Street; the current plan is for two parking spaces per unit. Some council members argued in favor of keeping the two spots in order to provide ample parking, and others said they thought fewer spaces were needed.
Affordable senior housing is a priority; it’s part of the strategic plan, and we should do our best to accommodate it so we can keep seniors who want to age in place in the borough” Mayor Matthew Fetick said. “If they (the developers) can prove through a professional engineer in the studies that one and a half spaces is enough for seniors – a lot of them don’t drive – then we should work with them.”
Maffei summarized the council’s recommendation to the planning commission, saying that a reduction of the required number of parking spaces would be considered if it was supported by objective data that demonstrates the need for fewer spaces.
The special event application for the Victory Brewing Company’s second annual food truck festival was approved by the council, despite a divided vote by members because of concerns about adequate parking at the event. The festival will take place on the 600 block of West Cypress Street on Sunday, June 4, and proceeds will benefit Historic Kennett Square.
“The main issue last year from my perspective was that the parking was not handled well,” Ethan Cramer said. “I parked off on the land that is now being developed by Mr. Pia as Cannery Row, and it was pretty haphazard and didn’t seem well controlled.”
He added that the since that parking area is no longer available, parking will be more difficult and will lead to traffic snarling, which he thinks will affect the attendees’ ability to enjoy the event. During subsequent discussion, Holdsworth said that there will be additional signage and police direction for parking at this year’s event.
Other upcoming events in the borough include Student Art on the Square on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 at the American Legion auditorium from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on both days; an informational open house hosted by the Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at Charles Court, Suite A, 312 West State Street; and a presentation for adults entitled “How to Talk with Your Children about Race” on Wednesday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the Kennett Friends Meeting at 125 West Sickle Street.
During his president’s report, Maffei said borough residents should remember to sign up for the Swift 911 telephone notification program through the borough’s website. He noted that the program is an important way to get correct information from the borough when emergencies and other events happen, referring to the recent false rumors on social media that the borough’s water supply had been contaminated.
Maffei also announced several board and commission vacancies: two on the Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, two on the civil service commission, one on the HARB, one on the Kennett Recreational Board, three on the Kennett Square human relations commission, and one on the property maintenance appeals board.