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Chester County Press

East Marlborough hiring consultant to prepare new open space and recreation plan

02/12/2019 09:30AM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

East Marlborough Township is taking steps to engage a planning service to prepare a new Open Space, Recreation and Environmental Resources Plan.

Last month, the township began soliciting a company to create a strategy for identifying, acquiring and maintaining open space; identifying recreational opportunities; and identifying and cataloguing environmentally sensitive natural resources. The township’s Open Space, Recreation and Environmental Resources Plan was last updated in August of 1993. The Unionville Area Regional Comprehensive Plan was adopted in January 2011.

The requested new plan will identify properties to protect for future use, and provide feedback on recommended strategies. The plan will be funded, in part, by a grant awarded in 2018 from the Vision Partnership Program (VPP) administered by the Chester County Planning Commission.

The goals for any new plan will adhere to guidelines set up previously by the township:

– Provide water resource protection measures to maximize flood control, groundwater recharge and filtration, and to minimize the discharge of contaminants into the water resources of the region;

– Protect historic resources as community assets;

  • Protect the principal land use in the region, farming, so that the agricultural heritage of the area can be maintained and agriculture can remain economically viable.

  • Provide sufficient land and opportunities for all basic forms of housing to be provided for all population groups in the community;

  • Provide a balanced mix of open space, parks, and recreation amenities that are integrated with natural and environmental resources, land use and public service goals of the region;

  • Provide drinking water and sewer systems that are consistent with planned future land use patterns;

  • Promote environmentally sustainable stormwater management techniques that achieve local, state and federal regulatory objectives;

  • Provide for safe, environmentally positive, and scenic vehicular and non-vehicular circulation system.

The township held a briefing meeting on Feb. 4 to answer questions from consultants, with help from representatives from the Chester County Planning Commission. Candidate interviews will be scheduled at a later date. The project will be awarded to the chosen firm during the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 4.

The selected consultant firm will be required to lead a Plan Advisory Committee established by the township and consisting of eight to 10 members in establishing goals for open space, park and environmental preservation opportunities in the township. In coordination with the Environmental Advisory Council, the consultant will update the existing inventory of natural and historic resources.

The consultant will also evaluate opportunities for adding to the protected open space in the township, coordinating with the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board.

There will also be a review of existing recreational facilities. The consultant will identify the community need and benefits for additional facilities, exploring potential impacts on adjacent property owners or land uses.

The consultant will evaluate bicycle and pedestrian connections, analyzing potential demand for multimodal corridors in the township. The consultant will identify potential connected greenways, trails, open space, parks and critical community features, such as schools.

Existing open space will be reviewed, including the Unionville Community Park and 26 acres on Route 82 that is slated to be donated to the township, to determine the best integration of these resources with the proposed plans.

The implemantation strategy will include a list of prioritized projects, phasing, and planning-level cost estimates for capital improvements.

At least six public meetings will be held throughout the study process, each involving the Plan Advisory Committee. There will be interviews with stakeholders across the township, including the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, the Unionville Recreation Association, the Kennett Area YMCA, Transportation Management Association of Chester County, Chester County Facilities and Parks, BikeKennett and additional stakeholders identified by the Plan Advisory Committee. An online survey will also be utilized to get the most public feedback possible.

The township expects that the project will take approximately one year to complete. More information will be posted on the township's website,

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email

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