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Chester County Press

New Garden Township to purchase 105 acres at Loch Nairn Golf Club

06/08/2021 03:02PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

At their June 7 online work session, the New Garden Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized the township to extend funds for its purchase of a 105-acre parcel in the northwest corner of the township, on property owned by the Smedley family that forms the 18-hole golf course at the Loch Nairn Golf Club in Avondale.

Under the conditions of the agreement, golfing operations at Loch Nairn will continue through the 2022 golf season. Once concluded, the township will assume ownership and maintenance of the golf course for the purpose of preserving it as open space.

The agreement also states that after the sale of the property is completed, Loch Nairn will continue to own and operate all of its restaurants on the property, which includes The Greathouse, The Farmhouse and The Tavern, as well as use these facilities as sites for weddings and other special events.

Soon after the agreement of sale was approved by the supervisors, board chairman Pat Little read the following official statement from the township and the Smedley family:

“For over the past 50 years, the Smedley family’s Loch Nairn Golf Course has been a staple in the southern Chester County community. The picturesque site has been the backdrop for weddings, holidays, date nights, family golf challenges -- you name it! And because the Smedley family cares so deeply for this community and the memories that this site holds to its residents, they have entrusted New Garden Township with their prized property to be preserved as a park and open space to be shared by all for decades to come.

“Avid golfers will continue to play on the course throughout the 2022 season after which operations will wind down.

“The restaurant will remain open in perpetuity and continue to serve the world’s best crab cakes!

 “Because of the generosity of the Smedley family and the thoughtful care with which they maintained this pristine parcel of land, New Garden Township will continue on as guardian of this property in order to ensure its safety from future development. While the specifics of future park use for the property will be decided in time, this will absolutely continue to be a cornerstone of Chester County.

“It is our hope that the Smedley property will continue to be a place for new memories to be made, followed by dinner or lunch at their restaurants.”

The negotiations to acquire the property were conducted by the township’s Open Space Review Board (OSRB) in consultation with Natural Lands, a Media, Pa.-based non-profit organization that preserves open space in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

Formed in 2005, the OSRB is made up of volunteers who assist landowners in the township in planning to preserve open space on their properties by discussing preservation options and creating conservation easements that protect the property from eventual development. To date, the OSRB has helped to preserve over 300 acres of township land and helped to extend the New Garden trail system.

The cost of the transaction will be $1.425 million, plus transactions costs, and will be paid in two installments. The size of the township’s payout will be defrayed by an $863,700 grant it recently received from the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program. Approved by the county commissioners in May, the Open Space Preservation and Park grants awarded $4.217 million to 18 municipalities, park authorities and environmental agencies that will assist in the preservation of 595 acres throughout the county.

The balance of the cost will be funded through the township’s Open Space Fund.

A presentation detailing the specifics and projected future use of the property will be hosted by the OSRB at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on June 21.

Scarlet Road Trail Design

In other township business, Natasha Manbeck and Steve Giampaolo of McMahon Associates presented a conceptual design plan for the Scarlet Road Trail, which if created would provide a ten-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle pathway beginning at the Cypress Street and Scarlet Road intersection, proceeding south adjacent to the Giant parking lot and connecting to South Street.

The design plan calls for the installation of a railroad crossing on Scarlet Road, as well as ADA-compliant curb ramps, bicycle crossings, bike lanes, appropriate drainage and access routes to the New Garden Shopping Center. McMahon Associates’ design also specifies the construction of a trail bridge on West South Street over the Red Clay Creek.

The cost estimate for the construction of Scarlet Road Trail is $2.63 million, and will include construction inspection, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and project development. The cost estimate for the trail bridge is $743,000.

Manbeck reviewed funding opportunities that would help defray the cost of building the trail and constructing the trail bridge, which includes the Pennsylvania Multimodal Transportation Fund, administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Manbeck also brought the supervisors up to date on the Toughkenamon Streetscape & Transportation Improvement Plan – specifically, the redesign of Main Street and the intersection of Baltimore Pike and Newark Road that call for the installation of crosswalks, curbs, driveway aprons, sidewalks and traffic calming improvements.

The cost estimate for these improvements is $1.19 million, which will include $811,000 in construction costs.

Manbeck directed the supervisors to funding opportunities, which include the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program that provides federal funds for community-based “non-traditional” surface transportation projects.

The Toughkenamon Streetscape & Transportation Improvement Plan is a partnership between the township and McMahon Associates to create a streetscape concept for the village, identify ways to improve transportation and mobility and develop ideas that enhance aesthetics, create housing diversity and stimulate opportunities for investment in the village.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].