Coatesville celebrates long-awaited Riverwalk

Water feature anchors a scenic, half-mile trail along Brandywine

By Kathleen Brady Shea Managing Editor,

Former City Council member Patsy Ray (from left) chats with County Commissioners Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell and City Council President Ed Simpson.

The path toward revitalization brightened substantially this morning in Coatesville.

First, the sun appeared after a spate of showers. Then officials cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of the long-awaited, first phase of the Riverwalk Brandywine Creek Trail, After the ribbon gave way, water jets burst into the air in the background, part of a recirculating fountain feature that also made its debut.

Coatesville City Council President Ed Simpson extended thanks to the numerous individuals and groups who assisted during the process, an effort that began in 2009. “We depend on you people so much,” he said, reiterating the city’s appreciation to a host of local, county, state and federal entities.

Rep. Tim Hennessey suggested that the event was a great way to jumpstart the Memorial Day weekend and an excellent example of a successful collaboration. “When everyone works together, we can see a lot of good things happening,” he said.

Chester County Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell agreed, citing the recent opening of the Marriott Courtyard in Coatesville and projects in the works, such as the Velodrome and the train station. He called the trail “a great addition to the city and the countya” and well worth its $1.25 million pricetag.

Coatesville Council President Ed Simpson (from left), Rep. Tim Hennessey, Chester County Commissioners Terence Farrell and Kathi Cozzone and City Manager Gary Rawlings join in the Riverwalk ribbon-cutting.

Commissioner Kathi Cozzone noted that many such events attract few participants. “I am so thrilled to see so many people here,” she said, surveying the crowd of about 100.

At the conclusion of the short program, many in attendance took time to stroll along the trail, stopping to admire the views of the gurgling Brandywine Creek below.

“It’s a small steo, but an important one,” said Mike Zuratt, a longtime resident and member of the Coatesville Community Policing Committee, a group that has led city cleanup initiatives. “You have to start somewhere.”

Rob Barry, project director for the city’s Redevelopment Authority, said the 10-foot-wide paved trail extends about 1,200 feet from the intersection of Rt. 82 and Lincoln Highway to Glencrest Road and includes some scenic overlooks.

Simpson said the water feature will turn off automatically but can be activated by anyone who steps on the specially marked foot pedal in front of it.

“This is definitely a good day,” he said.

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