Chester County can look forward to a new place to play. On Wednesday, May 19th, Chester County and West Whiteland Township officials gathered for the groundbreaking of the Swedesford Recreation Area at Exton Park.
In 1994, West Whiteland Township and Chester County saw the benefits of preserving 700 acres of open space in the middle of Exton. They worked together to buy Exton Park from Church Farm School, with the County owning 400 acres and the Township 300 acres. There have been plans on the books for West Whiteland to develop the Township’s portion of Exton Park ever since. With an eye on the history of those plans, West Whiteland Supervisor, Joshua Anderson, explained that “the vision changed over time, from the very active park initially planned to the current Master Plan, which calls for limited improvements in two key areas – near the Chester Valley Trail and in the new Swedesford Recreation Area - to provide recreational opportunities for residents and visitors while maintaining the natural beauty of the park. West Whiteland Supervisor, Theresa Santalucia, said, “With Exton Park’s convenient location in the center of Chester County, it is an ideal gathering place and a great destination for those walking or biking from nearby neighborhoods and on the Chester Valley Trail.”
Park additions, near the intersection of Ship and Swedesford Roads, include nature-themed playgrounds, a dog park, picnic pavilion, 9-hole disc golf course and accessible paths connecting the new features to each other and to the Chester Valley Trail. The park additions reflect the items most requested by the public during the master planning process, while respecting the natural wildlife and peaceful scenery of the park. Future phases of the Swedesford Recreation Area will include a cricket field, expanded parking and restrooms.
Funding for the improvements come from a $500,000 grant through the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which also funded the Exton Park Master Plan, as well as a $250,000 grant from Chester County. A donation from West Whiteland Township Friends of the Parks and funds the Township built up through development fees will provide the remainder. T&M Associates designed the improvements and Ply-Mar Construction will install them. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
West Whiteland Supervisor, Rajesh Kumbhardare, said, “When the new Swedesford Recreation Area opens, more people will find the treasure we have here. We’re looking forward to welcoming them to discover the joys of Exton Park.”
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Raj Kumbhardare
Supervisor Theresa Santalucia
Supervisor Joshua Anderson
West Whiteland Township Police
WWT Friends of the Parks presented a check for the disc golf course.