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Editorial: New Garden's next pages of progress

04/03/2018 02:48PM ● Published by Richard Gaw

Last week, the 50 or so New Garden Township residents who attended a presentation of the township's updated comprehensive plan were given a ride on a World's Fair-like train to Futuretownship.

The presentation, conducted by Jennifer Reitz, a senior planner with Thomas Comitta Associates, was the first unveiling of the work being done by the township's elected and appointed officials and its Planning Commission, in conjunction with regional planners.

During the presentation, current problems and methods of solving them were identified.

It encompassed the twin enemies of the township – looking into ways of attracting businesses and sources of economic possibility, with also examining methods of preserving open space.

It looked at currently snarled corridors and underdeveloped areas with vision and optimism, including turning Toughkenamon from a drive-by town to one that can become a destination point.

It imagined a township with even more nature trails that will scissor through neighborhoods and wooded areas, as well as opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists.

It took the mushroom industry in New Garden Township and put it front and center in regional efforts to showcase southern Chester County as a world-wide leader in modern agriculture.

It honored both the historic and natural resources of the township, by seeking to dedicate funding to their maintenance and repair, so that they may continue to serve as the cornerstones of the township's definition.

It saw the modernization of the township's community facilities, including public safety, administration, sewer and water infrastructure and parks and recreation facilities.

Too often, our ability to imagine the wildest of ideas is relegated to our capacity to fathom them, and for many residents of New Garden Township, being able to see the outlined goals of the township's new Comprehensive Plan come to life are impossible.

And yet, to those of little faith and imagination, we ask them to remember when the township's 2005 Comprehensive Plan was rolled out.

It spelled out the need to protect its natural resources and preserve open space over the next decade – which has led to the placement of conservation easements throughout the township, and the planned acquisition of Saint Anthony in the Hills property.

It asked residents to imagine a more streamlined and cost effective township operations, which is leading to the sale of its sewer system, and will lead to the construction of a new regional police facility.

In order to become effective, a comprehensive plan must lead to the achievement of the goals it sets down, but it first needs to demonstrate bold initiatives that set the collective bar high. In its collaboration with Thomas Comitta Associates and other local and regional planners, that's exactly what New Garden Township has done with its new Comprehensive Plan. Now we wait, patiently, as we did ten years ago, for the boots-in-the-ground work that began as the wildest of ideas to begin.


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