Delaware County considers acquiring the land of Tanguanella School through expropriation rights to create the largest park in the county

After several years of development plans for the Tanguanella school site were blocked, the Delaware County Council has set its sights on acquiring 213 acres of land in Maple Town, where officials hope the development will become the largest in Delaware. County-level park county.

Since the school closed in 2015, the large plot on Sproul Road owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been a source of controversy over the proposed development plan. Don Guanella School has been a mentally handicapped facility that provides education and accommodation services for men for decades. The plan to close schools was launched in 2013, leading to different visions of how to deal with large properties.

The acres of undeveloped land surrounding the school make it an attractive location for developers, but the local resistance in Maple Town has cancelled a series of residential and commercial projects.

Members of the Delaware County County Council said on Tuesday that the county will strive to acquire the land at a price negotiated between the county and the owner or at a price determined by the county council through expropriation.

Delaware County Council Chairman Brian Ziddeck said: “We are very pleased to have the last large open space in the densely populated eastern part of Delaware County for use as a public park.” “Even before the COVID pandemic, We know that open spaces—including parks, trails, and bike paths—bring real economic and environmental benefits to our communities, and this park will greatly improve the quality of life in our county.”

The establishment of the park will protect the virgin forest of the site and provide direct entertainment benefits to approximately 14,000 residents living within one mile of the property. Approximately 53,000 people live within a two-mile radius.

“For nearly ten years, local residents have been anxiously waiting for what will happen to Don Guanella’s land, especially since our community is almost completely built. Saving these amazing woods is good news for everyone,” Richard Jones said that a resident of Maple Town had vigorously fought for development plans on the spot. “I know that everyone who liked this natural space in the past is very happy that the county government will permanently protect this land as a public park. This is the best result.”

The county also touts the environmental and health benefits of the new park, believing that it will support a diverse ecosystem and protect the air quality in counties with high rates of childhood and adult asthma.

Since its closure, the former Tanguanella School has made at least four previous development proposals.

In December last year, the Marple committee unanimously rejected a plan by Carlino Commercial Development that would bring 141 residential units to 89 acres of land, with additional space for daycare centers, medical offices, and community facilities And living facilities for the elderly. Sproul Village’s proposal was rejected twice.

The West Conshohocken-based developer reached a sales agreement with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2017, when their previous proposal called for the construction of approximately 140 residential units on 40 acres of land. The remaining 173 acres will be reserved as protected forest, but the proposal was also rejected.

Prior to this, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia signed a $47 million sales agreement with Jenkington-based Cardinal Crossing Realty Associates, which proposes to provide residential, commercial and retail space and additional entertainment facilities for the site. The proposal was rejected by the township director and further resistance from the community organization Save Marple Green Space.A kind Lawsuit filed by the developer was dropped The Archdiocese withdrew from the deal.

The decree introduced by the county council this week, if passed, would allow the county to use Pennsylvania’s famous domain name law to control the property by paying the website owner a fair market value.

If the county and the owner cannot negotiate the price, either party can appeal the valuation set by the committee. This matter will then become a case in the Delaware County Ordinary Defense Court and will be decided by the jury at the trial.

Officials did not say where Delaware County will withdraw funds to pay for the package. Officials stated that the required notice can be submitted as early as the second half of July.

“This decision shows that Delaware County is considering how to become a place where people want to live and work,” said City Councillor Elaine Schaefer. “Public space can not only protect our environment and create economic value, but it can also build stronger communities and will help Delaware County continue to be a place where people want to live, work, and support their families.”

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