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The Abington Citizens Network
where Abington, PA residents can share ideas and join forces to build a better community
 

Parks And Open Space 
 Land Use and Green Space in Our Township

What is it ? Where is it? How will it affect us? 

  We hope you will send us details or links to relevant sites about the below projects. Send lel@abingtoncitizens.com  Please notify us if you see any errors.
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Safeguarding our greenspace means making sure that they are open to the public and are kept as close to "green" as possible . The trend in our Township is to acquire, acquire, acquire and then to build  structures on it . Our Township is 98 % developed .   Our greenspace is the last hope to keep it nice.  It is up to us to weigh in on what's happening .

Open Space Funds in General
In addition to other Open Space purchases,  Montgomery County (in perhaps 06 or 07? ) acquired 100 million for its most recent Open Space Program . The plan was for 1/2 of that to go back to the townships and 1/2 to be used by the county. Abington's portion was  $2.95 million  which required a 20% match by the township in order to use. Elsewhere it was reported that the total Abington  program was 3.7 million ...Will try to find which is correct.
 

The Boy Scout Preserve -  AKA Meadowbrook Nature Preserve - please see separate page

Brief Summary :  Gifted by Alice Herkness in 1947 - this gift was left to languish. By 2018 it was covered in vines, large majestic trees all dying or dead .  All pleas to care for it were ignored until finally in the 2018 Budget $25,000 was allotted and ......used to blanket spray pesticides ----turning the entire section brown and dead and plant some saplings practically on top of one another .  In such scenarios the insects are poisoned, the birds that eat them are often then poisoned, as are the mammals that eat the birds.  Pesticides ( herbicides are included in this term)  are completely contradictory to any proper management of a nature preserve. In November 2019 -  the Township was without a proper Parks director -- and a Public Works person had been put in charge of Parks. He went in, at the cusp of winter  (we had just had a first light snow) with the "mini-bulldozer" skids and cleared every living thing down to the mud on nearly every portion until we got the saws and dozers silenced  - fortunately with a few sections of brush still able to serve as cover  and food --- please see separate page   for more details and pictures  

  The Ardsley Wildlife Sanctuary-  off  Maple Ave.
  the study was done by land concepts, Inc. in 2008, and it was determined that this area was not suitable to put ball fields.   It was suitable for nature trails and very possibly the driveway.  That leads into it from Maple Avenue, could be expanded at me and to include parking for six to eight cars to accommodate more access.  There is a variety of different flora and fauna in this area, including an abundance of deer.

  Crestmont Park
In 2011 they proposed to build a PAL  multiplex  on this greenspace  -- residents were not happy.  We surveyed the neighbors and they were in favor of a community building but not a police complex ......  A small group of people began working on a plan for a community center - For approx $1.6 million we could build a center with a basketball court ( inddor recreation in the winter ) and computer rooms , kitchen and meeting spaces . Meanwhile the HUD director, Van Strother, ignoring any possibility of working together or in concert in the least, procured HUD monies to build what turned out to be just a 2500 sq ft building with one meeting room a small kitchen and bathrooms . Keep in mind the land was not included - and  sewer & water  access was already there, as it was buildt on the site of  the roundhouse. Keep in mind that we already did have use of the roundhouse  before this went up - so that use is not "in addition" to  the former use, but instead of....  Repairs to the roundhouse could have preserved that use. There is a small room that is serving as an office for Van Stother, himself.  The cost of theis approx 2500 sq ft building was $600 a sq ft --- double or triple what it should have been - and it provided one room  and a porch that residents, we are told have to pay $75 to use ---  even though we paid ( dearly) for anyone else  who uses it ---- so  our tax money is going  to pay for facilities for non-profits that those who pay  have no right to use..... What's wrong with that picture???? 

1385 Easton Rd- The Grove Property   in Roslyn
Bought with Open Space funds in one of the most convoluted  processes I have ever seen, with a real live human being caught in the middle of all of it. Besides it being absurd to buy "Open Space" with Township funds that has many buildings on it and is in the heart of the business district and would remove  a prospective earing property from the tax rolls. The Township then, after the very costly acquisition, decided to perform costly  historic renovation  ont he property - claiming it to be the oldest property in the Township  - though that "recognition" was absent while they were  transferring ownership  from the elderly owner. Then they declared they would likely house possibly a Library, (with a premier Library a little more than a mile or two away) or  Historic Society or other "community " enterprizes there --- effectively turning it into a non-profit business venture at great expense to the public.  The Shade Tree Commission (and the  Environmental Advisory Council?) In my opinion this was an incredibly egregious action, especially including all the details of the purchase. It was bought on 1-10-08 wfor approx  $485,000, which negotiations began  months  after the property was sold for approx  $276 K on 3-12-07  . Of the $485K , $97K was Township money and  $388,000 of this was County open space grant .  An appraisal came in February of '08 for $555,000....
Feb 4-08 – $2, 700   was approved  for an environmental study
$65,000 was the estimated cost of razing the 3 buildings  that were unwanted - they hoped for 80/20 split with the county on that (???)
It was to ultimately be deed restricted Open Space – 485,000 purchase + 65,000 raise buildings + 2700 environmental study - and of course there were costs for legal reviews and the code and engineering personnel etc etc etc

There is zero information posted on the Township website about  There those costly aquisition details as of the end of 2019  about the cost to aquire, renovate and maintain this property on our website. A great expense with very little use. https://www.abingtonpa.gov/Home/Components/FacilityDirectory/FacilityDirectory/1007/2441

Jackson Park - off Meadowbrook Rd near Hampton

Bought for somewhere around  $600,000 ? with 80/20 Open Space grant funds  The part of this park that is on the more public road does not currently have any parking or access - so it is used largely by the nearby neighbors with the access on the neighborhood street. We asked for a sign to show where users of this park should park their cars to enter - and instead Commissioner KLline arrand for an ugly green official looking sign that just added to the sign pollution on the roadside saying Jackson Park .... and still not deaignating hwere the parking was. The park already had an identifying sign in the attractive wood design -  the green road sign should be removed. 

 
Rydal Green - bought as open space
Former Clubhouse - razed  ( 2010? ) This parcel sits nest to Rydal School which is already a large public property with a great  green field area and some planted areas, groves and playgrounds. 

  Manor Woods ( formerly Summerford )    - near Alverthorpe & Manor College
There is a major issue with how this "greenspace was acquired.  Like the Grove Fund, there was another party briefly involved, and even though there was a sewer moratorium at the time ( because it runs to Cheltenham's system)  the Township nonetheless allowed a rezoning - supposedly increasing  the value of the property...even though it was exactly the same except for the rezoning. The township then bought it at a far inflated price ..... leaving the rezoners with a handsome profit. 

 January 2012  A good number of residents showed up to voice their opposition to the township’s plans for Manor Woods, which included  one plan for a football field or an alternate one that would leave the park largely intact except for  picnic tables trails,  etc.

Residents were concerned about parking , noise, lights etc if the Abington Raiders were to use it for a football "home field" .

Kevin Leech, Raiders team president, said that their current field at Alverthorpe is in bad  shape. Earlier there had been reports  of a possible stadium. The Raiders, however, did not apparently ask for a stadiu, an equipment room, a snack bar and a well groomed field . While it might be  possible that a stadium for other teams ( baseball or lacrosse or soccer) might be in some phase of the discussions with the township, the Raiders are not the ones who requested one.  Although all personnel are volunteer and the  budget they have  have goes to things like Jerseys, helmets supplies and various field or associated supplies or improvements, there is still a lot of "business " done in the process of running  sports clubs.

        There is a problem with a shortage of fields in the Township for township sports teams. There is also the issue of Open Space purchases being bought as Open Space with Grant Funds and then converted to other uses.

This situation also highlighted  the issue of communication and how many people actually KNOW about meetings like this one for Manor Woods.  Then there is the issue of how these things impact the neighborhoods upon which they encroach.  Finally, there is the issue of priorities and whether basic township needs have been addressed , like infrastructure repairs to keep people from flooding,   before we boost the "secondary" or wish list  benefits

 Many residents asserted that they were not interested in having the Township  convert the park into anything new.   We have a township building something in nearly every corner of the town.

Residents wanted no plans without more input from themselves and were promised by the Ward 4 Commissioner that would be the case and said  Commissioners would not vote in favor of any plan opposed by residents.

Doug Wendell said the township would provide maintenance to the park, regarding  plant species and trees on the verge of falling, either way There will be  more meetings with residents before a potential plan is brought forth .

  Pembryn Park -
 Hunter Soccer Club 2010 (?) built a 1/2 million dollar clubhouse there with township funds, in combination with county,state or federal funds and funds that they had raised. Nearly a million dollars  would be the cost to shuffle around some fields & courts for the  soccer club - The funds were not available - but the project was appoved

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   Send your the information to: lel@abingtoncitizens.com 
 

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