Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Patriots Path

Reminder: Board of Supervisors Meeting Tonight . . . St. Davids Golf Club on the Agenda, Public Hearing Continuance for Patriots Path Plan


Tonight is Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors Meeting, 7:30 PM at the Township Building, Keene Hall. The St. Davids Golf Club issue is on tonight’s agenda. I am looking forward to the continuing, thoughtful discussion from the residents and to an appropriate resolution of this matter. If you are unable to attend the meeting, it will be shown on cable TV. Check township website for details,

Following the regular BOS meeting, there will be a continuance of a Public Hearing for the ” . . . consideration and possible adoption, via resolution, of the ‘Patriots Path Plan’, as an amendment to Tredyffrin Township’s Comprehensive Plan”.

Tredyffrin Township . . . First Board of Supervisor Meeting of the New Year

Last night was the first Board of Supervisors Meeting for 2010. Most of the meeting was about the necessary housekeeping for our local government . . . swearing-in of new supervisors (Kichline, Donohue, Richter) and also the election of the chair and vice chair of the Board. Supervisor Lamina will serve as Chair and Supervisor Olson as Vice Chair of the Board. It was curious to see how the seat assignments of the members of the Board — aside from the chair and vice chair, I wonder how the seating on the board is decided. Can we read anything in to the placement from left to right as follows: Donohue, DiBuonaventuro, Kampf, Lamina, Olson, Richter, Kichline.

The organizational meeting included the resolution to name the emergency services; adoption of the meeting schedule for the various township boards and approval of the consultants and law firms. I wonder if the township reviews the contracts with the various consultants/firms yearly as part of the budget review process. I wonder if these firms just become ‘grandfathered in’ and are status quo year after year. Do you suppose their fees are discussed and whether they are negotiable? Due to the economy, many firms are having to adjust their fee schedules to remain competitive — should there be an expectation on the part of the township to ask for this kind of consideration of the companies doing business with the township. Just a question.

Following the organizational meeting, there was a brief regular meeting. In fact, Chair Lamina asked if any Board member or audience members had any new business. The question was asked so quickly that at least one person I know missed the question and missed the opportunity to give her prepared written remarks. The pace was such last night if you blinked, you missed an opportunity to make comment or ask questions. Supervisors neither offered an update on the contributions to-date nor did residents ask for a status report on the Fire Department contribution; guess it’s a good thing that we have this blog — otherwise, we would not know have a clue on the subject.

A Public Hearing on the Patriots Path Plan followed the Board of Supervisors meeting. The consultants gave a slide presentation of the draft plan. Audience members spoke passionately both in favor of the plan and also some of the residents likewise related their concerns about the project, particularly about the width of the path, privacy, elimination of wildlife and trees and plants. Residents in the Great Valley are in the process of putting together a survey and asked that the supervisors not vote last night. The Board agreed to delay a decision to allow for further review and discussion; the plan will be revisited at the February Board meeting.

I have lived in the Great Valley for 25 years and I have never been to the Warner Spur/Cedar Hollow area to see the old railroad trail, location of the proposed Patriots Path. I suggested to several Great Valley Association Board members that I think it would be a good idea for a field trip for supervisors and interested residents to visit the site. I understand that this is private property owned by the Township so I would suggest perhaps a Sunday afternoon date that everyone could meet at a specific location and review some of the proposed path area. It’s hard for some of us to visualize the path without having seen the area. Perhaps the Sidewalks, Trails & Path Committee and also members of the Open Land Conservancy could be available to show the residents around. Just an idea . . .

All in a Name . . . Patriots Path Plan

Following tonight’s Board of Supervisor Meeting will be a Public Hearing for the Patriots Path. The Patriot Path Plan is a proposed trail network which will connect historic American Revolutionary War sites within East Whiteland, Malvern Borough and Tredyffrin Township via the Chester Valley trail system. The path would connect East Whiteland’s Battle of the Clouds Park, Malvern Borough’s Paoli Memorial Grounds and adjacent Paoli Battlefield, which was the site of the infamous Paoli Massacre, and Valley Forge National Historical Park.

The Board of Supervisors adopted the Tredyffrin Township Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan (PROS) in 2005. The PROS plan was included in the township’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan. The primary benefit of incorporating the Patriots Path Plan in the Comprehensive Plan is for help with future funding opportunities. As part of the multi-municipal effort, the Patriots Path funding opportunities could be increased. That said, tonight’s discussion does not imply a commitment to build the trail, nor impose any timeline on further action.

The purpose of the public hearing will be to consider the adoption of the Patriots Path Plan as part of the Tredyffrin’s Comprehensive Plan. There are two segments of the Patriots Path that are located within Tredyffrin Township:

  • Valley Forge Segment: 1.8 mi. connection from the Chester County Trail to Valley Forge National Historic Park through Tredyffrin Township
  • Cedar Hollow Segment: 1.8 connection from Chester County Trail to Cedar Hollow Preserve and Cool Valley preserve via the Warner Spur Trail and then extending an additional mile to East Whiteland to connect to the Valley Creek Segment.

There is concern among some of my Great Valley neighbors over the proposed Patriots Path and the proximity of the path to their properties. Tonight’s discussion should be useful for members of the community who are ‘for and against’ the proposed path. Sometimes misunderstanding of the facts can be at the root of the problem; tonight’s information session should help both sides with any misinformation.

For many of us, we will recall the years that some Radnor Township residents spent in argument over the 2.2 mi P&W Radnor Trail. There were resident that lived next to the abandoned railroad tracks that were very much opposed to it and the trail debate lasted decades (lawsuits, gag orders, etc) and became a major political issue. The Radnor Trail finally became a reality and many of the resident’s earlier fears have not materialized. In fact, I’m thinking that many of the neighbors probably use the Radnor Trail themselves and the trail certainly stands as a success story and attribute to the Radnor community.

The success of Radnor Trail aside, we need to look at the Patriots Path Plan and make sure that concerns/questions of Great Valley residents can be answered by the township staff and the Supervisors. Good open discussion is always helpful — here’s hoping that tonight’s public hearing will provide that kind of forum.

I thought it might be useful to give some links to those of you who like to read further about the proposed Patriots Path Plan. Tim Lander, member of the Open Land Conservancy and also on the Sidewalks, Trails and Path Committee offered helpful information, including articles concerning the Radnor Trail and providing a vintage photo (below) of the trestle bridge over Valley Creek. I encourage people to attend the Public Hearing tonight and if interested, review the following documents:

former trestle across Valley Creek, with nothing but farmland in sight (foreground is now the OLC Cool Valley Preserve);
The former trestle bridge across Valley Creek in the Great Valley, with nothing but farmland in sight (foreground is now the Open Land Conservancy’s Cool Valley Preserve);

Patriots Path Discussion Set for January 4

The first meeting of the Board of Supervisors on January 4, 2010 could be challenging; on the agenda will be the Patriots Path. The township Planning Commission unanimously approved the draft plan and is recommending to the Board of Supervisors the inclusion of the Patriots Path in to the Comprehensive Plan. The path has been 7 years in the making and will connect 3 municipalities that share Revolutionary War history; East Whiteland, Malvern and Tredyffrin. The path would connect East Whiteland’s Battle of the Clouds Park, Malvern Borough’s Paoli Memorial Grounds and adjacent Paoli Battlefield, which was the site of the infamous Paoli Massacre, and Valley Forge National Historical Park

The Great Valley Association has formed a sub-committee to look at the pros and cons from the residents standpoint. I myself live in the Great Valley in a pre-Revolutionary House and I can see both sides of the argument. I have neighbors who are concerned about this path (and the potential of strangers) close to their properties. But on the other hand, I think that the concept of the Chester Valley Trail system is wonderful. The Radnor Trail originally met with much opposition and has turned out to be highly valued in that community; the hope is that the Patriots Path can enjoy that same degree of success in the Great Valley. I know that the Sidewalks, Trails and Path Committee (STAP) have worked very hard on these plans and I want all the residents to full understand the benefits. Involving the Great Valley residents in the process and implementation can only help with the success of the project.

To read further about the Patriots Path, please look at STAP’s link.

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