Overview of the Pennsylvania
Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway
In June 2001 , Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Program Management Committee approved a Byways initiative for the state of Pennsylvania. The purpose of this initiative is to designate routes that have one or more outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, recreational, archaeological, or natural features as Pennsylvania Byways, in an effort to support local initiatives to sustain and promote these features. Specifically, the initiative is intended to support local planning initiatives to enhance and improve the visual impact of specific routes, maintain the natural resources and intrinsic qualities along specific routes, and educate residents and visitors of the history and culture of the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway effort was initiated in 2002 by a diverse group of community leaders, stakeholders, and byway enthusiasts who recognized the richness of the resources, the uniqueness of the landscape, and the potential of the area to qualify for scenic byway designation. This grass roots volunteer effort evolved into a Steering Committee composed of representatives from seven municipalities spanning Chester and Delaware Counties: Pennsbury, Kennett, East Marlborough, Pocopson, Birmingham, East Bradford, and Chadds Ford Townships.
The Committee worked hard to gain the background information necessary to develop an application for Pennsylvania Scenic Byway Designation, which was submitted to PennDOT in December 2004. This coordinated effort resulted in designation of portions of PA Route 52, Creek Road (old PA Route 100), PA Route 162, and other connecting segments as the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway by PennDOT in April 2005, followed by a formal dedication ceremony held at Longwood Gardens in May, 2005. The Byway connects with the Delaware Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway, linking diverse regional resources to create one seamless corridor. The Delaware portion of the byway remains under its own jurisdiction and has achieved National Scenic Byway status.
In the summer of 2005, the steering committee began the process of creating a formal, multi-jurisdictional body to collectively oversee issues involving the byway and to develop a Corridor Management Plan. In the spring of 2006, the informal committee structure was formalized as the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway Commission by the seven participating municipalities, as a nonprofit management entity following approval of an enabling ordinance and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement from each of the seven municipalities. The Mission of the Commission is “To preserve and enhance this legacy landscape, open space, and historic resources, in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of the residents, property owners and visitors in and around the Byway.”
Once the Commission established its organizational and institutional framework, it turned its attention to securing grants and matching funds for preparation of a Corridor Management Plan (CMP). The purpose of this effort is to create a management plan that looks at the entire byway corridor to determine the most appropriate design practices, improvements, and initiatives necessary to preserve and enhance the scenic vistas and natural, historical, archaeological, cultural, and recreational resources that define the byway.
The major goal of the CMP is to provide the Commission and the Byway member municipalities, with a comprehensive management program that sets forth implementable, cost-effective solutions to address the impact of increasing development pressures and traffic volumes, to support natural and cultural resource protection and land conservation initiatives, and to address tourism implications that could challenge the integrity of the area resources. The ultimate purpose and benefits of the plan will be to maintain and improve the quality and continuity of the corridor experience while protecting and increasing the appreciation of the byway’s significant resources. The CMP will focus on interpreting the area’s rich history, supporting cultural tourism and appropriate economic development, accommodating additional recreational pursuits, and advocating land conservation efforts. Currently completion of the plan is anticipated to be late 2014.
The plan will benefit residents and visitors alike by making the corridor more inviting and will help ensure that future generations can enjoy the unparalleled scenery of the Brandywine Valley. The study will address the major issues in order to provide local decision makers sufficient information to implement future projects that are most cost-effective, of highest user quality, and would be most responsive to preservation, conservation, and economic development goals. The plan will produce sufficient documentation and mapping to enable us to proceed with an application for National Scenic Byway Designation, if desired. The plan will also identify opportunities and assist in acquiring funding for specific future projects along the Byway.
Current funding for the Commission and the Corridor Management Plan project has been received primarily from grants. In August 2006, the Commission was successful in securing a $120,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). In November 2006, a $10,000 matching grant was secured from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and a $20,000 match was received from the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau (CCCVB) enabling the plan to move forward. The CCCVB has also awarded a grant of $10,000 to support our general activities. Each member Township also contributes $500 annually to support the operating expenses of the Commission. The Commission normally meets on the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM at the Pennsbury Township office.
Revised May 2014