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Public brainstorm in Kennett Square

In a 'community conversation,' residents can help identify the area's challenges and find solutions.

Invitations have been mailed to Kennett Square residents, asking them to take part in a June 12 "Community Conversation" meeting being put together by the borough and a group called Chester County 2020.

You don't need an invite or have to live in Kennett Square though; the session is open to the public.

Inside the Red Clay Room of the Kennett Fire Co., participants will be asked to identify, and find solutions for, the greatest issues facing Kennett Square borough and surrounding areas.

"Everyone's ideas are respected; there is absolutely no idea - no dream - that is too outlandish," said Nancy Mohr, executive director of Chester County 2020, a nonprofit planning organization.

Mohr said she expects the topics of revitalization, traffic and new business will be discussed, as will a desire to maintain the feel of a small town despite rapid growth.

Many "community conversations" have already been held in locations throughout the county, including one in March for Modena and South Coatesville that drew about 65 people.

Participants at that event cited a need for a retail shopping area with a grocery store as a "critical anchor," and "a more walkable community in light of rising energy costs."

These meetings begin with residents compiling a list of issues that they think deserve attention. Then, in groups of eight to 10 people, attendees eat a light dinner while they tackle a few of the most pressing concerns.

Staff members facilitate the discussions and provide guidelines. In the end, each group presents a report detailing its conclusions, all of which Mohr combines into one comprehensive final document to be presented to the municipal government.

All members of the public, not only Kennett residents, are invited to the community conversation, which will take place at 6 p.m. June 12 at the Kennett Fire Co., 301 Dalmatian St., Kennett Square.