While 2020 presented countless challenges for communities across the globe, Chester County continued to implement Landscapes3, the county’s comprehensive plan, through a variety of ways. These efforts (and more) can be identified through the Chester County Planning Commission’s recently released 2020 Metrics and Success Stories!
The 2020 metrics and success stories were presented at the Planning Commission’s April Board Meeting, and serve to support the six goals and vision of Landscapes3.
“Our 2020 metrics and successes show that our Chester County communities continue to remain resilient,” commented Planning Commission Executive Director, Brian O’Leary. “While some industries were more affected than others this past year, we see more positives than negatives which proves that even during a global pandemic, our efforts to continue implementing Landscapes3 are strong.”
When it comes to protected open space, Chester County saw a relatively normal amount of growth in 2020. With an additional 2,100 acres of land protected, the county’s total amount of protected open space rose to 29.7%, or 142,000 acres.
There were thousands of trees and shrubs planted throughout Chester County last year, and over 7,100 feet of stream banks and riparian buffers were restored along Plum Run in West Chester Borough and West Goshen Township. Additionally, Kennett Township’s Anson B. Nixon Park began the process of their Red Clay Stream Restoration, which includes the restoration and re-grading of 4,400 feet of impaired streams in partnership with the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the county celebrated with a number of online events, postings, and resources. The Planning Commission’s “50 Ways Your Community Can Protect Our Planet” brochure, which provides information for municipalities to help protect our planet, can be found here: https://www.chescoplanning.org/Environmental/50ways-Home.cfm
While the historic tourism industry took a major hit in 2020, the county’s annual Town Tours program remained successful by switching to a virtual presentation (rather than in-person walking tours). There were more than 1,000 logins for the six live events, and the recorded videos have received more than 2,000 additional views to-date.
Chester County saw an addition of 1,732 new housing units in 2020, which included a mix of developments — from mixed-income workforce housing such as the soon-to-be “Pinckney Hill Commons” in West Chester, to West Grove’s “Big Elk 55+” affordable senior housing.
Many of the county’s urban centers stepped up to the plate to safely serve the needs of their communities when the pandemic struck. West Chester, Kennett Square, and Phoenixville closed down portions of their downtown areas in order to create open-air pedestrian marketplaces, while others provided virtual events and other engaging activities. Additionally, the county launched the Restore Chester County Initiative, which provided resources and support for the county’s thousands of businesses and residents.
The county continued to advance efficient, reliable, and innovative connections to help serve our growing communities through the completion of various projects and initiatives in 2020. The Exton Train Station Reconstruction Project, the completion of the US 322 Bridge, and the county’s purchase of 100% renewable energy are just a few examples.
The Planning Commission created a video highlighting some of these 2020 Success Story highlights which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAkxIaaxUvc.
While this video only lists a few of the county’s 2020 achievements, more information on Chester County’s 2020 Success Stories can be found by visiting https://chescoplanning.org/Landscapes3/6-SuccessStories.cfm.