Editorial: The land grab to preserve our identity
● By Richard Gaw
"Buy land. They're not making it anymore."
The above quote is generally attributed to Mark Twain, yet in some circles, however, it is believed to have first been uttered by Will Rogers. Whomever its rightful owner may be, the sentiment of the quote rings as both a financial tip and solemn warning, and one that manifests itself in the modern-day tussle of turf between real estate developers and conservationists, the ideals of economy and ecology, and the conflicting chorus between that which provides jobs and that which provides trails and open space.
Such is this land grab manifesto heard in southern Chester County, but thankfully, the word 'Buy' in the quote is sometimes replaced by 'Preserve.' As several local and regional business initiatives continue to explore ideas to recruit industries and develop business opportunities along the Route 1 corridor and nearby towns, so too, are local conservation groups doing their part to fling the tarpaulin of protection around available property.
Recently, two townships became the benificiaries of help in that regard. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently contributed more than $1.6 million in total grant funding through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, to fund five conservation and recreation projects in Chester County – including two in our back yard.
As part of the distribution, the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County received $267,000 for the acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 125 acres of woodland along Old Kennett Road in Kennett Township. New London Township received $250,000 for the development of the first phase New London Village Park located at the township building property on State Road.
The acquisition of these grants -- and their subsequent plans -- join a long line of success stories that preserve the rolling landscape of southern Chester County, that saves our history and further defines our identity.