Kardon Park Redevelopment Project - Summary

At its July 5, 2010 meeting, the East Caln Township Board of Supervisors unanimously granted conditional use approval to allow the Millrace at Kardon Ponds to proceed with land development plans. This 70-home multifamily community will be located adjacent to Kardon Park, overlooking an expanded public park and pond. The 7 acre site is located at Norwood Road, just south of the Route 282 entrance ramp in Downingtown. The development proposal is a joint project of Progressive Housing Ventures of Malvern and J. Loew Associates, Inc. of Downingtown.

The Millrace is designed as an enclave with a central landscaped courtyard allowing most homes to have views of the ponds and open space. All homes will be 2 and 3 bedrooms with attached garages situated tastefully at the rears of the homes in order to maximize views of the open space and enhance the pedestrian friendly community design. The project will include the construction of new walking and bike trails that will link to the adjacent multi-mile Struble trail which extends to Marsh Creek State Park.

The Millrace at Kardon Ponds will be a separate enclave built nearby to the proposed larger Kardon Ponds development which will be located partially in East Caln Township and partially in Downingtown Borough. That larger development is expected to consist of a 22 acre passive public park with walking trails, 307 homes, 45 loft style apartments and 20,000 SF of retail space located on Pennsylvania Avenue. However, a lawsuit brought by Friends of Kardon Park and adjacent Kim Manufacturing seeks to block the Borough from selling the land and a decision from Chester County Orphans Court is expected shortly.

Once a quarry, the Kardon Park site was used as a dump until recent decades. While the site received Act 2 clearance from DEP (Department of Environmental Resources) in the 1990’s for use as a passive park along the paved trails, the lands outside the paved trails are contaminated and exposed. The Kardon Park developers are committed to a multi-million dollar project to cap the lands as part of the construction process to make it safe for residents and for public use. In addition the developers would be installing new trails to connect to the Struble trail and provide approximately three times the parking that exists currently and will present a 22-acre passive park for the public and their pets that will be safe to use and enjoy. The ponds, which are not contaminated but are clogged with algae, will be cleaned and aerated. The developers are also obligated to provide funds for a new firehouse as part of the purchase agreement.

Downingtown Borough has received a nearly $1 million grant from the State of PA to help defray the cost of remediating Kardon Park. If the Kardon Ponds development cannot proceed by mid 2011, the Borough and its taxpayers will lose these grant funds. In addition, should the development not be allowed to proceed, the Borough will lose approximately $8 million in one time net as well as annual net positive cash flows from the new homes and commercial establishments. Borough taxpayers will also bear the cost of cleaning up and improving the park land. According to Jamie Bruton, Borough Council President, “It will be a real lost opportunity if the balance of this project cannot move forward. Kardon Ponds as the developer has presented it, would be a key asset to the Borough in its quest to revitalize and grow.”