Next phase of progress on New Garden Township Park planned
● By Richard Gaw
Thanks to substantial grants and donations, the second phase in the continuing re-design and upgrading of New Garden Township Park is being planned for this year.
In a presentation before the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors on April 13, Shane Morgan, management plan coordinator for Wild & Scenic White Clay Creek and a member of the New Garden Advisory Committee, shared the breadth of the project, which will be to increase both visibility and safety in the park, improve its trail system and repair stream corridors.
Currently being coordinated by Land Studies, a Lititz, Pa.-based environmental landscape firm, the park will be the recipient of an extensive punch list of renovations, which will include the proper grading of riparian buffers; repair to erosive stream corridors; and the planting of trees, grasses and shrubbery.
Another key component of the project will be to revise the park's trail layout, which calls for the elimination of two bridge crossings; the installation of a paved loop trail and a mowed passive wildlife trail; and the planting of warm season grasses and sedge meadow with willow plants, in order to stabilize eroded stream banks. Morgan said that as part of the improvement plan, there is some consideration to relocate the site of the park's volleyball courts.
Morgan said that the Committee has held two meetings with Land Studies in February and March.
The project has received a $53,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department Environmental Protection; a grant estimated between $6,000 and $7,000 from Wild & Scenic; and $2,000 in cash and $2,800 in in-kind donations from New Garden Township.
Morgan told the board that she should have a more up-to-date time line for the project later in the year, when Land Studies will present the township with a complete management plan.
Morgan said that the park plan also calls for the development of educational programs that can be offered to children and families in the future, through the installation of interpretive signage that is planned for the park.
"This is essentially a plan that gets more bang for the buck, that provides better trails, good site observation and good protection for the creek, and it creates more habitat in the process," said Committee member Don Peters.
In other township business, the board gave approval to waiving Chapter 49 – a township ordinance that restricts the use of alcohol in public spaces – in order to allow the establishment of a beer and wine "garden" at the upcoming Chester County Balloon Festival, which will be held at the New Garden Flying Field from June 19-21.
The festival is now permitted to operate a Hops and Grapes Garden, that will feature wines and beers from local vendors, including Victory Brewing, Boxcar Brewing and Paradocx Winery. In reviewing the ordinance, Township Solicitor Vince Pompo concluded that the air field is considered an industrial facility, and not a public space. Township Manager Tony Scheivert said that the township has discussed the logistics of the event with Jon Martin, general manager of the New Garden Flying Field, as well as with the New Garden Police Department, State Police, fire marshals, and a representative from the festival.
"We're doing everything that we need to do to run a safe, successful event, and I look for it to be good for not only the township but also the region, as far as the amount of people coming in, and the businesses that it will support," Martin said.
Karen Bonafacino of the New Garden Growers Market told the supervisors that the market will open on Saturday, May 9 at 9 a.m., for its eleventh season. It will be located this year in the parking lot adjacent to the New Garden Township Maintenance Garage, and operate until the Saturday before Thanksgiving. [For additional information, visit www.newgardengrowers.com.]
Melanie Weiler of the Kennett Food Cupboard thanked the township for its cooperation at the 61st Christmas Basket Program, held last December at the New Garden Maintenance Garage. She said that the event served over 600 families and provided 1,000 children with toys, food boxes, coats and bikes. The board approved the use of the facility to house this year's Christmas Basket Program, which will be held Dec. 17-19.
Rory Burkhart of the Rory Burkhart Real Estate Team requested a variance from the board in order to apply to convert a 280-year-old building on Scarlett Road into an apartment complex, to house four units. The one-acre property, previously operated as the Waterbury Showroom location, absorbed two fires and is a state of disrepair. The intent, Burkhart said, would be to improve the site in order to increase its curb appeal. Board Chairman Steve Allaband opposed the concept, saying that the property is located very near an R-1 district – where single-family homes are located. Allaband did not support the request for the variance.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail email@example.com.