Save the Historic Chandler Mill Bridge, Create a Nature Preserve, Leave a Legacy.
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UPDATE: We have exceeded our goal of 1,000 signatures! Thank you to all of our supporters! Visit www.tlcforscc.org for continued updates on the Chandler Mill Bridge.
The Kennett Township Supervisors have a few short years together as an administration. This is their chance to create a legacy for generations to come by rehabilitating the closed historic Chandler Mill Bridge into a pedestrian/biking only bridge as part of a nature preserve and historic district for all to enjoy in perpetuity. Converting the Chandler Mill Bridge to a pedestrian and bicycle only bridge will enable the creation of the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve, a 50-acre public access preserve with an interpretive nature center. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save a historic bridge from demolition while creating an amazing community resource, enhancing our township, and protecting our quality of life for generations to come.
The one-lane Chandler Mill Bridge, circa 1910, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since its closing to vehicular traffic in 2011, the bridge has been used extensively by dog walkers, hikers and bikers. The bridge is located at the terminus of 300 acres of conserved private lands within the emerging Red Clay Greenway public access trail. Over $11 million in today’s dollars have already been contributed to the trails and conserved lands over the past 30 years. Let's celebrate and enhance this investment.
The future Chandler Mill Nature Preserve and Interpretive Center is part of an Audubon Important Bird Area, and contains rare bird species, 100 year old specimen trees, nature trails and historic landmarks. It is a part of the West Branch of the Red Clay Creek Historic District that includes an African American Civil War cemetery, Freeman’s Village, historic mill race, and deacon’s house.
The creation of the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve would result immediately in 50 acres being opened to the public, by the generous donation of a local landowner and conservationist with future connectivity to at least 200 additional acres of trails and open space. In addition, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County will purchase the former Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast with its 2.5 acres for use as an interpretive nature center. Also planned are a picnic and parking area. This will all be funded by private charitable donations and grants, not by taxpayers!
Chester County, PA, the current owner of the bridge, is planning to replace it with a 2 lane, standard 36-ton Penn DOT Highway Bridge. Another option being considered is a rehab for vehicles of the existing one-lane bridge if the Township takes it back. Chandler Mill Road, which connects to the bridge, is a narrow winding country road, with many blind curves, that has been closed to commercial & school bus traffic since 1980 when the bridge load rating was reduced. It is, essentially, a bridge to nowhere. Do we want to create a legacy, or save a few minutes on our commute?
The negative impacts of a vehicular bridge are extensive:
-The Chandler Mill Bridge Preserve will not be possible
-Sensitive animal and avian species, such as nesting Barred Owls, who have returned to the area since the bridge closure three years ago, will depart again
-Donation of private conserved lands for public access and the interpretive nature center will not happen
-Pedestrians and bicyclers on Chandler Mill Road will again have to constantly dodge vehicles, trash, and speeding cut-through traffic on the narrow, winding road
-The cost of the 2-lane bridge to local taxpayers, who incur 5% of the cost, will be 3 times higher than the pedestrian option--$1.81 million vs. $570,000
-Rehabbing the bridge for one-lane vehicular use will require the Township to take back the bridge and pay for the rehab at a cost of $750,000, as well as possible replacement in the future
-The cost to local taxpayers to improve and maintain Chandler Mill Road will be substantial, given its current state of disrepair
-Traffic is anticipated to increase dramatically on Chandler Mill Road, a local connector road, when the 490,955 sq.ft. big box center opens at Routes 7 and 41
If Kennett Township takes back the bridge and designates it for pedestrian and bicycle use only, the positive benefits are many:
-The 50 acre Chandler Mill Nature Preserve will be donated and open to residents and visitors from dawn to dusk
-The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County will open an Interpretive Nature Center for all to enjoy and take ownership of the pedestrian only Chandler Mill Bridge
-The sensitive flora and fauna that are unique to these areas will continue to return and thrive for future generations
-Miles of trails will be added to the Red Clay Greenway for public access
-Property values of nearby neighbors will increase, due to their proximity to this recreation and open space area
-The traffic accident reduction of 60% at Kaolin and Chandler Mill Roads will continue--the number of accidents went from 16 to 6 in only one year following the closure of the bridge
-Future costs to Kennett Township taxpayers will be far less
-A quiet country road leading to a nationally recognized historic bridge will be preserved
-The project will be funded 95% by State and Federal governments, and is the least expensive option
-Future generations will applaud the foresight of the Kennett Supervisors and their constituents to preserve vital environmental resources and unique landscape
Please sign the petition to help the Kennett Township Supervisors embrace the vision of the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve with trails, historic district and Interpretive Nature Center for all residents of the Kennett region to enjoy in perpetuity.
Today: TLC for SCC is counting on you
TLC for SCC On Behalf of the Chandler Mill Bridge Consortium needs your help with “Scudder G. Stevens: Save the Historic Chandler Mill Bridge, Create a Nature Preserve, Leave a Legacy.”. Join TLC for SCC and 1,045 supporters today.