WEST CHESTER >> Chester County commissioners Thursday gave the go ahead to more than $11 million to open space preservation grants, including two that would go toward the preservation of the historic Bryn Coed Farms in West Vincent.
Among 12 other projects targeted are a public nature preserve in Elk, an extension of the Struble Trail, an addition to Marsh Creek State Park, and an addition to a public park in North Coventry.
The unanimous vote came without comment at the commissioners’ formal business meeting.
In a preview of the plan Tuesday, Department of Open Space Director Bill Gladden had explained that of the $11,120,750 in grants for the projects, some of the money will be forwarded to organizations or townships that will use it as leverage to get additional funding from the state or other sources. Those funding streams are sometimes only available when a “down payment” of sorts is made at the local level.
The per acre purchase price of the 2,061 acres works out to an average of $5,395.
By far the largest grant amount went to the Natural Lands Trust, the Media-based regional land preservation and conservation organization that is spearheading the purchase of the 1,500 acre Bryn Coed Farms land, a portion of which was once owned by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts. The trust is finalizing an agreement with the current owners, heirs to the Luden Cough Drops fortune, to purchase and save the land through a combination of open space preservation and targeted large-lot development.
Those two grants include $3.75 million from the county’s Preservation Partnership Program to help purchase 993 acres in East Pikeland, West Pikeland and West Vincent, part of a total cost of $8.98 million. The parcel would include lots for sale of no less than 25 acres each, Gladden said. The other would total $4.25 million to purchase 440 acres that would be part of a publicly accessible nature preserve. The total project cost is estimated at $11.33 million.
The other NLT projects getting grant awards on the list include a contract for $400,000 to purchase 57 acres adjacent to Marsh Creek State Park in Wallace. The land would be transferred to the state for an addition to the park. Also included are a $421,750 contract to purchase 75 acres for an extension of the Struble Trail in Wallace, and a $600,000 contract to purchase 155 acres in Honey Brook and West Caln that would become an addition to the William Penn State Forest.
The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County projects slated to receive funds include $500,000 for the purchase of 182 acres of the Patricia DuPont Foundation property in Elk for a nature preserve; $214,400 for the purchase of 24 acres in London Britain for an addition to the White Clay Creek Preserve; and$180,000 for purchase of 24 acres of the Muller property in Kennett to extend the Kennett Greenway.
Others receiving funds include the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, which would receive $400,00 to help purchase 98 acres of farmland in West Vincent for a conservation easement with public trails adjacent to Bryn Coed; and the Green Valleys Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, which would receive $180,000 for the purchase of 22 acres for an addition to the Welkinweir Preserve in East Nantmeal, and North Coventry, which will receive $70,000 to help with the $250,000 purchase of about 14 acres to add to the Shenkel Road Park
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.