Recently, I spoke to Sheila Tekavec, the new office manager for the Kennett Area Park Authority (KAPA), which operates and maintains Anson B. Nixon Park.Sheila herselfconsiders the Parkto be a “community gem” and just the right enrichment to make Kennett a great place to live.
Sheila was very encouragedby the responses that the 2020 Annual Appeal received in December. Revenue was down in the Park last year since both The Trout Rodeo and Rock the Park fundraisers were cancelleddue to COVID-19.Monetary donations of all sizes are welcome, and are still coming in.
In addition to asking for financial contributions, KAPA requested information from the residents of Kennett Square. At the bottom of the remittance envelope, there was space for donors to "Tell us why you love Anson B. Nixon Park.” Sheila said the responses have been overwhelming in a way that she wasn’t quite expecting.
“It’s been so rewarding. It’s one thing to get a positive response and hope to achieve or exceed the financial goal you’ve set for the organization.It’s another to realize that the space you’re preserving and maintaining truly provides a benefit to the lives of the people who visit the park each day.” She said that some donors even wrote letters to share their thoughts about the Park and special memories with beloved pets there.
People said they love Anson B. Nixon Park because it is so conveniently located and provides a great place to exercise, get some fresh air, and relieve stress during this time of isolation.So many enjoy the playgrounds, dog park, tennis courts, and trails.
One resident said they felt like it’s “Our little local Central Park” right here in Kennett Square.Othersmentionedhow much they treasure the free Summer Concert Series and still some, the opportunity to reserve a pavilion for special family or community events.
The106-acre plot of land was opened to the public in 1993. After that,KAPA successfully raised funds to construct the entertainment pavilion and develop the athletic fields which have had broad appeal and provided unique recreation for the community’s diverse population.
More than 2 &1/2 miles of trails provide a variety of landscapes around 2 ponds and along the East Branch of the Red Clay Creek to towering forest trees for a restful walk or brisk jog. The trails provide an opportunity to view birds, insects and animals in this natural environment where children delight in the learning experience.
Bothponds are stocked with fish in spring for the Trout Rodeo, which is planned this year to be bigger and better than ever and is enjoyed by all ages. Last year, the KAPA board responded to a concernedarea residentand they worked together to installmonofilament receptaclesaround the pond.Fishing line can now be safely and easily recycled, so ducks and other wildlifedo not becometangled in the lines and injured, or worse.
The Park was never closed during the pandemic. They followed theNational Recreation and Park Association and CDC guidelines and posted those on their web site. The restrooms are currently closed however, there are portable toilets located next to the main parking lot and also by the soccer fields.
Special events in the park have been cancelled, the pavilions and stage are currently not available for reservations, but there is still so much to enjoy in the Park.
The Dog Park opened in 2018 and many dog owners feel this is a great outing for them and their pets.There are 2 acres designated for this purpose with separate sections for small and large dogs. This area also provides a human and pet water fountain drinking system, multiple benches, and dogipot clean up stations.
The park has three separate and unique playground areas. The playgrounds are all different and offer opportunities to climb, swing, and spin and slide.This would serve as a great break from the virtual schooling that demands so much focused attention.
Friends of Anson B. Nixon Park is a newly formed non-profit organization made up of volunteers for fundraising to help KAPA meet their strategic goals. Sheila speaks about the tremendous volunteers that make-up both of these organizations---energetic, dynamic, talented and committed as they work to keep this “sparkling communitygem” evolving and flourishing.
This year plans are underway to transform the former paved vehicle entrance on Walnut Road to a permeable pedestrian walkway, which will reduce runoff to the stream and improve the quality of the aquatic environment. It will also provide safer access for residents who walk to the park from the Borough.
Additionally, both the Friends and KAPA boards are considering the best ways to transform the area where the soccer fields are now.The soccer fields are in decline, and preliminary discussion is revolving around 1/3 playing fields, 1/3 restored native pollinator habitat and woodland, and 1/3 to be used as an extension of the popular community gardens, for both food production and community education.
The Community Garden is one of the favorite features of the park. The web site describes the mission of the Kennett Community Garden as one to create a garden that will involve people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and generations. The park is easily accessible to the community, and families sign up to grow food in their own 3 feet by 10 feet raised bed. This happened even in the Spring of this pandemic year. There is always a waiting list, so contact the Park to make a reservation at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of us have felt shutdown this past year. Nature has always been available to us, yet this time has re-awakened the free gift nature offers to us by getting out and engaging it. Anson B. Nixon Park is a safe and well-developed park that accommodates and engages all community members.Who knows?If we seize the opportunity, it may end up being an adventure in our own backyard!