On October 20, Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Regional Advisor Drew Gilchrist, County Preservation Programs Coordinator Judy Thomas, Township supervisors and staff, the WWT Friends of the Parks, and the community gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Swedesford Recreation Area. Located in the northwest corner of Exton Park, the Area’s newest additions include two dog park enclosures, a cricket field, and nine disc golf baskets. A pavilion will be added in the spring. Other amenities, including nature-themed playgrounds, a zip line, restrooms, a lit parking lot, and additional paths, opened in 2022. 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.
Commissioner Moskowitz noted that Exton Park attracts visitors from across the region. “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. The scenery at this time of year is especially stunning, with the rolling hills and seasonal interest.”
Township Supervisor Raj Kumbhardare commented, “We are very excited to open this newest area of Exton Park and offer the community some amenities not found at other area parks. The next phase of development for the park will be at the multi-field area, where we will continue to add recreational features while preserving the undisturbed natural resources. One quarter of the Township’s land is green open space, and Exton Park is a beautiful example of this.”
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 Brian Dunn 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 thanked those who contributed to the funding of the project, saying, “Funding for the improvements come from a $600,000 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 provided the remainder.”
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Brain, Public Information Officer, Chester County Commissioners' Office: Holding the ribbon, from left: Ed Culp (Twp. Interim Public Works Director), Supervisors Theresa Santalucia and Rajesh Kumbhardare (Vice Chair), Drew Gilcrist (DCNR), Commissioner Moskowitz, Supervisor Brian Dunn (Chair), and Jeff Yearsley (Twp. Parks staff)