Saturday, November 22, 2014

Open Space for Athletes

More athletic fields may be available in the coming years thanks to the township’s purchase Monday night of nearly 16 acres off Chestnut Grove Road.

The property, known as the “Boerner tract,” is 15.89 acres and across the street from the playing fields run by the Police Athletic League.

Once slated for 33 single family homes to be developed by the Danny Jake corp., the property, located at 1458 Chestnut Grove Road, will instead be developed to expand the athletic field capacity of the PAL fields, said Township Manager Carol Lewis.

“The concept is to develop them in conjunction with neighboring municipalities as a regional sports facility,” Lewis said.

“It will probably be several years before those plans are developed. “Until then, we will probably contract with a farmer to farm that land, like we usually do,” she said.

The purchase was made after a closed-door executive session at Monday night’s commissioner’s meeting.

It is the latest in an aggressive range of open space purchases undertaken by the township over the past five years to create a trail system, passive open space and more active open space.

In 2006, Upper Pottsgrove voters supported a referendum to adopt an earned income tax of 0.25 percent in order to finance the acquisition of open space from willing township sellers.

The money is also used as a revenue stream to pay back bonds borrowed to purchase open space as it becomes available.

The 2015 budget now available for public review shows the open space fund revenues at $1,516,150 and expenses at $292,221.

Township Commissioner Herb Miller, who is also a member of the township’s open space and recreation board, said Monday night that he and several other officials met with Pottstown officials in the hopes of connecting Upper Pottsgrove’s growing trail system with the walking/biking routes recently funded in the borough.

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