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East Marlborough supervisors approve new fireworks dates for Longwood Gardens

03/07/2017 08:52AM ● Published by J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

After a two-year hiatus, fireworks and fountain shows will return to Longwood Gardens this summer.

At the East Marlborough Township Board of Supervisors meeting on March 6, two representatives from Longwood asked for board approval for six dates in 2017 that will feature the popular shows.

The Main Fountain Garden at Longwood is completing an extensive renovation process, and should be ready for the start of the season in a few weeks.

To take advantage of the improved lighting and water features, the shows will feature more visual effects and fewer fireworks. A resident in the audience asked about noise complaints from the fireworks shows of past years, and the representative said the music will be more focused on the audience area thanks to an improved sound system, and that there will be less of the loud fireworks in each show, reducing the overall amount of noise.

The board unanimously approved the application for the shows.

A land development agreement for a car wash to be built near the Walmart store on Route 1 was also unanimously approved. The business was extensively discussed at last month's meeting, and the supervisors have expressed that they are satisfied with all the plans for the business.

The board approved the addition of Chris McDougall to the township Historic Commission, and allowed the Walmart store to open an outdoor garden center in its side parking lot again this summer. While supervisor Bob Weer objected again to what he feels is a violation of the terms that Walmart agreed to during construction of the store, the other board members said that the garden area has been run well in past years.

“I agree with Bob [Weer] in some respects, but I do think you have done a good job with this,” supervisor John Sarro told the Walmart representative. “I think the area looks good, so I don't have a problem with it.”

The board approved the second year of the Willowdale Chapel Run for Recovery 5K, which will take place on Oct. 1, 2017. The event was successful last year, and it will cover the same route this year, the organizers told the board. Police Chief Robert Clarke said the organizers had met with him, and that the event will require three officers to direct traffic. Route 82, from Route 926 to East Locust Lane, will be closed for no more than an hour during the event, which will include a picnic and party at the Willowdale Chapel site after the end of the race.

There was an extended conversation about the removal of a specimen tree from the site of the Walnut Walk townhome community. The specimen willow tree was removed after an extension of the community was approved, in an attempt to preserve the historic farmhouse and barn originally on the property. In that extension of the original plan, the tree was not specifically tagged for preservation, and it was inadvertently cut down before an attempt to save it was completed.

Doug Knox, the developer of the property, came to the board to see what he could do to make up for what he called a mistake. Township engineer Jim Hatfield laid out the background of how the tree was removed, and said, “All along, this developer has been honest, and making a real effort to preserve trees. I do believe this was a mistake.”

Supervisor Christine Kimmel expressed her disappointment that the tree had been lost due to an oversight. To compensate for removing the tree – which qualified for specimen status due to its 42-inch width – the developer will pay to have seven new trees planted. The location will be decided at a later date. Most likely one tree will be planted at the Walnut Walk site, and the rest will be planted in the new Unionville Park, according to board chairman Richard Hannum, Jr.

Board member John Sarro detailed recent activities of the safety committee which has been addressing the problem of speeding in the village of Unionville. Two radar speed-control signs have been effective in slowing traffic through the village, he said, and he was seeking approval to purchase another, smaller radar sign that can be moved around the area to trouble spots.

The battery-operated signs don't operate well in shady spots such as the approach to the village from the west, and particularly when baseball season starts, the supervisors want to concentrate speed-control efforts near the ball fields in the village. Crosswalks will be repainted to make them more visible before the season starts, Sarro said, “but the good news is that the new radar signs have helped a lot.” The board unanimously approved the $2,000 cost for the third sign.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.

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