In 2016, the Penn Township Supervisors purchased 43 acres of commercially zoned property from Star Roses for $1.4 million. Penn Township was successful in obtaining acquisition grants in the amount of $1,086,000.00 from Chester County Open Space and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) and the US Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The total cost of the land acquisition to the Township was $314,000.00. The reasons for the purchase were:
- Both the county’s Landscapes2 Comprehensive Plan and the Penn Township Comprehensive Plan of 2010 included a promise of developing a park for active recreation for the community at large.
- The Supervisors, after the development of the Township’s passive park, determined a need and a tentative plan for an active park as a result of a 2015 Active Park Planning process which included public hearings. That planning process and plan are being amended for this new site.
- The Supervisors saw an opportunity to preserve prime commercial property development in an already busy area.
The 43-acre parcel has been deed-restricted in perpetuity as open space to satisfy the funding requirements of the acquisition grants. We have recently installed a driveway, handicapped parking lot and initial trail. We were required to begin development by the end of 2019, also a funding requirement. Currently, the design features trails, multi-purpose fields, three (3) Baseball Fields – Youth Softball, two (2) Multi-Purpose Flat Fields – Regulation Soccer, one (1) Multi-Purpose Flat Fields – Regulation Lacrosse, one (1) Multi-Purpose Flat Fields – Regulation Football, four (4) Pickel Ball Courts, two (2) Hard Surface Courts W/ Sideboards for Hockey or Basketball, tot lot areas, gazebos, perimeter hard surface trails, 280 parking spaces, and maintenance building.
Township Engineer Dennis O’Neill, MacCombie Engineering, and Karen Versuk, Director of Operations, have been working on amending the plan designed in 2015. As a part of that process, they have discussed the park with the Board of Supervisors, held meetings with local sports teams, and today, are presenting to the public for additional comments. The design is not yet complete. Among the issues to be addressed is the property access. The site does not extend to Ewing Road, but rather stops short of the Star Structure and constitutes half of Star Roses’ original parcel. They retained ownership of the Star Structure and land along Ewing Road. The Township has no easement to Ewing Road at this time. The Supervisors and Versuk have approached PennDOT to consider the park site access as part of their planning process for the Route 1 corridor upgrade which will affect the Jennersville interchange, bridge and on and off ramps as well as Route 1 itself in Penn Township.
O’Neill and Versuk are meeting with PA Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) next week to discuss our development grant application which has a submission date of April 22, 2020. They are gathering letters of support from the community, state and federal legislators and sports teams for the grant application.
Proposed Sports Park site plan can be found at the bottom of the page.