Concord preserves 17 acres

Concord Township Council Tuesday night voted to spend $870,000 to preserve a 17-acre property at the corner of Featherbed Lane and Bethel Road. The property, owned by the Hall family, is a former Christmas tree farm that will now be used for passive open space.

The John Beale House, dating back to the mid to late 1600s, on the Hall property will remain. It’s on the 2.5 acres retained by the family. (Courtesy image.)

Of the 17 acres, the township is buying 14.5 acres while the family will retain 2.5. Those 2.5 acres include the log and stone farmhouse that dates back to the late 1600s. The township portion is to include 1.5 miles of trails and provide access to Clayton Park and possible trail expansions the township is considering.

According to Councilmember John Crossan, the township is giving residents what they want.

“Our residents have said they want more open space and we are listening and taking action,” he said.

Council member Libby Salvucci said it’s a positive sign that the township has the money to buy properties for open space preservation.

That money has been a point of concern for Councilmember Joshua Twersky since the 2019 budget discussions last year. Specifically, he expressed concern about how open space money is put into various funds. He has questioned why $3.5 million was put into the capital reserve open space fund, while another $1 million was put into a fund specifically designated for open space.

Council President Dominic Pileggi explained that the open space fund is for immediate open space purchases while the other is held back during negotiations but can be moved if necessary.

The issue became more heated when Twersky did not accept an offer for endorsement for another term in office. The Concord Republican Party offered the endorsement but Twersky did not accept it by a deadline, so the endorsement was withdrawn. Twersky then ran a write-in campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the May primary election.

Now some of the Council meetings are more politically charged. Prior to the start of the July 2 meeting, one of Twersky’s supporters handed out copies of a May 14 letter written by Salvucci a week before the primary. That letter was critical of Twersky, calling him a “former political operative from Swarthmore” and said Twersky voted against the $3.5 million and the $1 million being earmarked for open space. Her letter was also critical of Jai Oberoi who ran a write-in campaign alongside Twersky’s.

Twersky took time out of the meeting to say that Salvucci’s letter was all “lies,” that it constituted “workplace harassment” and that he wanted her censured by Council.

 

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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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