Unionville Community Park gets boost

By MATT FREEMAN

for 21st Century Media

On a cold winter’s night when February was looking like a longer month than usual, the East Marlborough Township Board of Supervisors had a much-anticipated springtime on its agenda.

During its monthly meeting Monday night, the board approved the application for a grant from the county of $130,000 to help pay for design and construction of the Unionville Community Park’s second phase. Township Manager Jane Laslo said the county grant will help the township meet its matching-fund obligations for state grants from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and other state agencies. Laslo also noted contributions from Longwood Gardens and the Docksteader Foundation.

Laslo said the funds will go to complete the design of the park’s second phase and put out bids for its construction, which could begin this summer.

In other business, the supervisors approved a request by Longwood Gardens to have fireworks displays on six occasions from May 24 to September 13.

The supervisors unanimously gave their permission to temporarily close township roads involved with the 25th Kennett Run, which will be held May 17. Mary Pat Knauss, a member of the event’s board of directors, said the course will be the same as in previous years. The event had about 1,800 participants last year, Knauss said, and they expect the same number this year, with about 2,500 spectators.

Supervisor Richard Hannum suggested that Knauss touch base with the township police to make sure they were up to date with the event plans.

The supervisors heard a report from Donna Murray, director of the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library in Kennett Square, on library activities. Murray said the library had power, like most of Kennett Square, after the recent ice storms that caused widespread power outages in the rest of the area. She said the library made itself available for people who wanted to recharge their phones, get online, or just get a warming cup of coffee.

Murray said record numbers of people visited the library for those purposes in an “old fashioned library serving the community situation,” and the ability to serve “had us thinking that libraries are not extinct.”

Among current programs Murray mentioned were activities associated with an effort by Longwood Gardens to have people in the community read “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold and explore its ideas about environmental issues. She also noted the library’s adult literacy program has a new director and is flourishing, with greater numbers of participants involved.

The children’s library section just received a grant to create family-friendly training programs and materials to help parents with subjects such as nutrition and dental hygiene, along with playtime activities for their children.

Both Murray and William Landmesser, a member of the library trustees, thanked East Marlborough for contributing a dedicated portion of its tax receipts to supporting the library.

Supervisor Robert Weer commended the township’s road crew for “what I consider a great job,” he said, in clearing roads after the recent winter storms. Laslo said the crew was out as recently as Sunday, the previous day, opening up the last roads blocked by the severe ice storm earlier that week. “They were working, in some cases, around the clock to get the roads open,” Laslo said.

Hannum added that the local fire companies and police force deserved congratulations as well for their performances.