The news that real estate developer and former Kennett School District Superintendent Larry Bosley will build a state-of-the-art building for the local Head Start program is heartening - not only for the kids who will be attending, but for the whole end of town along Cedar Street.First, the kids.
Head Start is a federally funded program that gives pre-school children in need a boost up so they can compete on equal ground with other kids in kindergarten. Many of the children who attend the local program - in fact, about 90 percent, according to Chester County Intermediate Unit Business Manager Joe Lubitsky - live in the borough. This building will be a convenient ride for them and their parents inasmuch as Head Start does not provide bus transportation. One council member suggested that it may even be within walking distance for many of the students.
The new building will also provide a "place of their own" for the teachers and students. They will no longer be bouncing around from one facility to another in churches or crowded school buildings. They can put their equipment away for an evening and know it will be safe and sound in place the next day.
A bonus about the location of the new building on the west end of the borough near Mary D. Lang Elementary School is that the school district has already given permission to Head Start to come over and use the auditorium, bathrooms and playgrounds - a gracious gesture of sharing.
The second encouraging aspect of the project is the location.
This building could very well signal the renaissance of a whole rundown neighborhood.
The footprint for the new Head Start building is just west of the old Gawthrop Lumber Co. on Cedar Street along the railroad tracks. Mr. Bosley has renovated that building and is using it for his office, and soon, according to plans, he will be able to look out the back window and see the new construction. He anticipates putting in sidewalks, parking lots and plenty of streetlights - certainly a bright awakening for this forgotten area.
The site of the new building is also adjacent to the 25-acre former NVF property that has been vacant for several years and is under agreement of sale with developer George Beer.
Mr. Bosley said he has conducted environmental studies on his three acres of land and found it safe. And based on conversations with Mr. Beer, he said believes a cleanup of the 25-acre NVF land will not be especially daunting.
It's fascinating to imagine Mr. Bosley and Mr. Beer sharing their dreams and ideas for these 30 acres that for years have been generally regarded as a wasteland. We understand the two men have discussed mixed use, a possible retirement community, some commercial establishments and various kinds of residences.
If this comes to be, there will be a whole new neighborhood in Kennett Square - an additional commercial draw that could attract tourists, shoppers and future residents.
Kudos to Mr. Bosley and all the urban pioneers like him. He has dared to dream, and his dreams have gone beyond cookie cutter houses on a suburban meadow. We're looking forward to a bright tomorrow on Cedar Street and beyond.