Donations sought to save Beaver Valley

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Colleen Morrone, vice chairman of Delaware County Council, addresses a group of reporters during a press conference at Pends Woods Winery on the preservation Beaver Valley.

It’s time for those who want to keep Beaver Valley green to step up with some green. That was word from Concord Township Supervisors’ Chairman Dominic Pileggi during a press conference at Penns Woods Winery.

The session was a formal announcement regarding the preservation of 240 acres along Beaver Valley, property currently owned by Woodlawn Trustees. Eastern States Development and the McKee Group are the equitable owners.

The land had been earmarked for development, but it was learned last week that a conservation agreement had been reached to keep the land preserved.

To make that happen though, the Conservation Fund needs to raise an additional $8 million.

“This is a great day for Concord Township,” Pileggi told a small group of reporters. “I do realize they are requesting additional funds to be raised and I would just hope that those who were such advocates for saving this valley will join in the passion they had in coming to our meetings, and open their wallets and pocketbooks to fund this worthy cause.”

Pileggi announced last year, the same night the supervisors approved a plan to build 160 homes on the property, that Concord would donate $500,000 to keeping the land preserved. He also said at the time that Delaware County would donate an additional $250,000.

“It’s been quite a journey to get here,” Pileggi said as he gave a brief history of five years worth of talks.

In 2011, Woodlawn requested a zoning change for the property, a request that was met with, what Pileggi called a “raucous” crowd of opponents. Woodlawn withdrew the request, but came back two years later with a plan that it, along with developers and the supervisors, considered “by right,” meaning it met the township’s zoning code.

While that plan was approved in 2015, residents appealed to Delaware County Court where Judge Michael Green, in October, remanded the decision to supervisors saying the board failed to meet criteria set forth by the state Constitution regarding environmental issues and other procedural requirements.

Then last week came the announcement of the conservation agreement.

Colleen Morrone, vice chairman of Delaware County Council, reiterated during the press conference that the county would donate $250,000 and the township would kick in $500,000.

“County Council is thrilled to have worked with Concord Township to preserve this beautiful piece of land for our residents,” Morrone said. “This serves as a model for future open space initiatives and we look forward to working together with other municipal leaders and conservation groups to preserve open space throughout our county.”

Morrone also said The McKee Group confirmed the agreement of sale, but there’s been no disclosure of the actual selling price.

She did say, however, that the Brandywine Conservancy is accepting donations for the extra $8 million needed to close the deal, which she thinks, would happen by early 2017.

Pileggi said it’s unlikely that the conservation groups would fail to raise the money.

“I personally think they wouldn’t have gotten this far unless they were confident in their fundraising efforts, he said.

The conservancy, along with The Beaver Valley Preservation Alliance is crediting the Beaver Valley Conservancy, Mount Cuba Center and the Conservation Fund joined to help preserve the land.

Those interested in donating should make checks made payable to The Brandywine Conservancy, with Beaver Valley noted on the memo line, and send them to the attention of Kim Reynolds, Director of Development, Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, PO Box 141, Chadds Ford PA 19317

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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