February 3, 2023
Friends of the Farm is pleased to announce our appeal to the community to make a bid for the 1855 Lambert farmhouse as explained in this 4 piece mailer to friends and neighbors. We are happy to be joined by Phil Walsh and Joe Botchie in this effort.
Time is short, but we trust people will see the wisdom of making a bid and the beauty a restored period farmhouse can bring to the park and McCormick Rd. – just like the stunning Glen Allen Mill, a mere 3/10 mile distant.
Our researchers have been busy and we have some interesting new history to share. See our updated Lambert farm history and Brief History of the Lambert Farm included with our appeal.
If you can help us with a pledge, please copy our pledge document and return it to us before the bid deadline of February 23, 2023.
Here is the link to the Master Plan:
January 31, 2023
The Carlisle Sentinel is out with a story on the Farmhouse bid options. We hope to see a photo of the front of the house used someday!
December 8, 2022
Report by Eric Fairchild on 12/07/22 Board of Commissioners Meeting:
Three farmhouse bid options were approved as desired by the Board. The Board had no interest in selling the farmhouse with 3.37 acres. The discussion was amicable.
Yours truly brought up the National Recreation and Park standard of 10 acres per 1,000 residents. UAT has a population of 23,000 and 239 acres of park land. So, why quibble about 1 acre? The answer again comes back that they don’t want anyone living in their park.
We suggested historic preservation conditions for the house or placing it under HARB. The Board did not want to do that either – reasoning that anyone who bid on the project would want to keep the house historic. There is concern that someone could tack a massive addition back onto the house, try to flip it, etc.
This was the best we could do and it saves the creekside lot from park use.
There will be a $250,000 minimum bid. If you bid for the lot, you must move the house to it. Bidder will have 1 year to complete the project. We will know more details when they publish the bid advertisement.
Phil Walsh brought up the historic district at the end of the meeting. Commissioners still praise the Navarro & Wright report. An overwhelming majority of district residents want to maintain the district and it is absurd to characterize all the early 1900’s McCormick built buildings as modern intrusions.
Some Commissioners continue to scratch their head as to why the historic districts exist. One could go around the Township wondering why all the soccer fields exist but yours truly bit his tongue on that one.
Frank Grumbine of the PHMC attended the meeting and spoke, Frank offered his expertise. It is a complicated issue. It appears the Board may include Frank in future HARB or BOC meetings which will be a big help.
December 7, 2022
A large group of residents are expected at tonight’s Upper Allen Township Board of Commissioners Meeting. Meetings start at 6:30 pm in the municipal Building at 100 Gettysburg Pike.
There are four important items on the Agenda from our Friends of the Farm perspective. All relate, in one way or another, to demolition and development based largely on what many view as faulty consultant or traffic studies.
Many feel that the Commissioners are favoring developers over residents and that unfettered development is ruining our Township and our quality of life.
Here are the 12/07/22 Agenda items of particular concern:
3a Discuss a Recommendation to Create a Zoning Overlay District for Historic Properties
3b Consideration/Action for a Certificate of Appropriateness for (Demolition of) 311 Gettysburg Pike
3d Consideration/Action of Subdivision/Land Development Plan for Chick-fil-A at Mills at Shepherdstown Crossing
6b Authorization to Advertise Three Bid Options for the Residential Structure Located in Generations Park Formerly Known as 1215 McCormick Road (1) Removal and Relocation of the House (2) Sale of the House with the Land (Lot 5) Across the Street (3) Demolition to include the House, Carriage House, Small Living Quarters and Pool
Threatened Dissolution of Historic Districts and Petition
Here is background information on the Upper Allen Heritage Committee and the Historic Districts established in 1975:
Here is the referenced August, 2022 Navarro & Wright report:
The Commissioners “accepted” a Navarro & Wright “Reassessment of Four Historic Districts” on September 21. Per the Minutes of that meeting, “President Martin told Ms. Janowski (of Navarro & Wright) the Board is impressed with the work she has done” and “… we are accepting the report as bona fide information, a foundation by which we can continue to involve property owners, our HARB Board and others as we process this”.
Pg 29 of the N&W report states “The (Yellow Breeches) historic district included buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and therefore any buildings with a date after 1900 are being considered modern intrusions, as they lack the character, feeling and association with the historic eighteenth and nineteenth century agricultural area.”
Given the McCormick family did not purchase the Lantz Farm and Glen Allen Mill until 1902, all buildings constructed by the wealthy and famous McCormick family are now considered intrusions.
The Historic Architecture Review Board (HARB) voted on October 18 to recommend retaining all districts with possible boundary clarification.
The Commissioners voted on November 16 to dissolve the Rosegarden and Trout Run Historic Districts and to remove 4 properties (adjacent to the Mills of Sheperdstown/ Chick-Fil-A project) from the Shepherdstown Historic District. These properties are across from the Union Hotel which is listed on the National Historic Register. Action to dissolve the Yellow Breeches (McCormick Rd.) Historic District was tabled for now.
There was a meeting of mostly McCormick Rd. neighbors who live in the Yellow Breeches / McCormick Rd. Historic District on December 5 and all attendees present signed a Petition to “maintain the Yellow Breeches Historic District to ensure its preservation for future generations to enjoy.”
Mr. Phil Walsh of 443 McCormick Rd. has since posted the Petition online at:
Please see the Petition for more details and share this information with others who may be supportive and sign it. The Petition has over 500 signatures in its first 24 hours. Phil may be reached at email@example.com
Mr. Erik Weenik of the Meadowview development is spearheading the opposition to
the Chick Fil A proposal and has more details. This is not opposition to a Chick Fil A per se; it is opposition to a faulty traffic study and traffic congestion that may occur at the proposed location and its infringement on the Shepherdstown Historic District. Erik may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Options for the Lambert Farmhouse and email to Mr. Ken Martin
As taxpayers, we should all want the Township to recover as much as possible from the sale of the 1855 Lambert farmhouse. We should also want the most people to be able to bid on the project and for it to have as few obstacles as possible. Sale of the Lambert farmhouse with 3.37 acres will do that. We thought this was to be an option. Now, it isn’t clear.
Preservation Pennsylvania, Historic Harrisburg Association and others will assist in marketing. Details of the Friends of the Farm proposal can be found in our earlier October 19, 2022 letter to Mr. Martin.
Item 6b on the December 7 BOC Agenda is unclear and Mr. Fairchild has sought clarification from UAT Board Chairman Ken Martin in this email to him yesterday.
From that email:
Hello Ken. I emailed Scott Fraser yesterday for clarification of the three options shown for the (farm)house at 1215 McCormick Road on the BOC Agenda for tomorrow night; i.e.
“6b. Authorization to Advertise Three Bid Options for the Residential Structure Located in Generations Park Formerly Known as 1215 McCormick Road (1) Removal and Relocation of the House (2) Sale of the House with the Land (Lot 5) Across the Street (3) Demolition to include the House, Carriage House, Small Living Quarters and Pool”
I asked Scott: “Does Item 2 above include any land the House sits on now? i.e., the house and 3.37 acres as proposed by Friends of the Farm in our earlier letter and emails?”
Kelly Palmer responded to my email by saying “No it does not”.
I’m reaching out to you to confirm whether Kelly’s interpretation is correct because it seems like it could be interpreted either way.
I urge you to interpret Item 2 as including the land the house sits on (i.e., 1 acre) so we avoid further controversy tomorrow night and finally move past the farmhouse issue. The Agenda looks to be quite full as is.
The Board is showing good faith by allowing the sale of Lot 5 as an option as satisfies concerns about the use of that lot, people crossing the road, people trying to access the creek, etc. So, Thank You for that in advance for that Option.
My thinking has been if the Township can sell 2.37 acres, the Township can sell 3.37 acres.
I sent Scott some information last week showing how the Thornwald Mansion (on 2 acres) was split off from the 32 acre Thornwald Park in Carlisle.
Friends of the Farm gave the Board a serious proposal / option for selling the farmhouse and 3.37 acres and we feel it deserves serious consideration because it will likely generate the most interest and highest bid amounts. It will also best preserve the Lambert farmhouse.
From my understanding, the Township has not been in contact with Preservation Pennsylvania. We don’t particularly want to burden anyone with the costs of the Deed of Easement but we don’t see any way to correctly preserve the farmhouse short of this device or placing it under HARB jurisdiction. It occurs to me that if the farmhouse had been placed under HARB all those years ago, we likely would not be facing the issue of the ill advised additions now.
We should all value Henry Fry’s opinion and it stuck in my mind that Mr. Fry was pretty clear about what the three options should be when he spoke at the October 19 BOC Meeting.
October 21, 2022
The Board of Commissioners thankfully tabled the demolition advertisement for the Lambert farmhouse at its October 19, 2022 meeting.
Several speakers spoke in support of preservation and sale of the farmhouse including Mr. Henry Fry who is a long time resident of McCormick Rd.
Mr. Fry encouraged the Board to get all the facts and value in dollars and cents, through a bid process, including demolition costs, an offer to buy the farmhouse with Lot 5 (3.37 acres), an offer to buy and move the farmhouse to Lot 5 (2.37 acres), or an offer to buy and move the farmhouse to a location away from the park. He suggested that with all the facts in hand, the Board could make the best decision.
Mr. Phil Walsh presented the following October 19, 2022 letter and proposal by Friends of the Farm
October 18, 2022
The moment many of us have feared has arrived. On the BOC Agenda for Wednesday, October 19, 2022 is to “advertise for bids for demolition” of the 1855 Lambert Farmhouse on McCormick Rd. So much for the “deliberation” promised by Board Chairman Ken Martin only two weeks ago.
With this senseless destruction, the link to 200+ years of McCormick Rd. history, the Glen Allen Mill, and the Scherich, Lantz and Crall family farmhouses will be gone forever. To what end?
Our best guess as to what end is so that Commissioners can create a parking lot for 150+ people to use the “wetland walk” and 2,200 sf. “view structure” on the 150 ft wide residential lot across from the farmhouse. Pity the neighbors who will lose property rights and have little buffer to this ill advised project in such a small, environmentally sensitive area.
The Commissioners will likely deny that demolition of the farmhouse is a “parking solution” for the wetland walk, but how else can we explain their determination to demolish a structurally sound historic farmhouse that can easily be sold and generate $500,000+? How else can we explain the disregard of volunteer help, our 3,226 word History of the Lambert Farm and Letters of Support by Cumberland County Historical Society, Historic Harrisburg Association, U.S. Congressman Scott Perry and Preservation Pennsylvania?
The #1 comment one hears about the Upper Allen Board of Commissioners is “they do what they want to do”. This has certainly proved true in the 2 1/2 years that Friends of the Farm has attempted to engage the five Commissioners who have an average tenure of 20 years.
People ask who the Commissioners really represent and who they listen to. We have no good answer as we don’t hear our fellow Upper Allen neighbors clamoring to see this particular farmhouse demolished ASAP or for taxpayers to spend unnecessary millions. Most people love McCormick Rd. for what it is now. The farm/park will take years to develop. Commissioner’s Ken Martin, Jim Cochran and Jeff Walter term expires next year – yet here we are.
Our Friends of the Farm “vision” may have cost $2 million net of the sale of the farmhouse. The Commissioner’s “vision” has now been revealed to cost $15-20 million. Instead of a historic farmhouse along McCormick Rd., we are to have a $1.5 million, 2500 sf. Entry, Gate House and park office off Rt. 114. We are to have a PA German 4 Square heritage garden without a PA German 4 Bay historic farmhouse.
One would think the Commissioners would be quite proud and boastful of the Master Plan developed by Derck & Edson. They are not. Commissioners went from no plan to a “final” plan presented on July 20, 2022 and “accepted” on August 3, 2022. The 43 pages of slides posted on the Township website are not the complete plan; the complete plan (128 pages with cost estimates) was only provided to Friends of the Farm on October 11, 2022 after repeated nudging. The public’s chance to comment has come and gone. The Upper Allen Township “Fall Newsletter” has just been published and there is barely a mention of “Upper Allen Generations Park”.
Regardless of what anyone thinks about history, horses, community gardens, etc., the Commissioners are about to take a very expensive and irreversible fork in the road that few people fully understand or are even aware of. A core value listed on the Township website states “Through Stewardship of community assets, the Township ensures their future for tomorrow’s citizens. Integrity allows us to do the right thing for the public who has put their trust in us.”
A summary of Master Plan Projects and Costs is attached below.
This may be the last chance to save the farm and prevent the waste of millions. We urge all supporters and fair minded citizens to come out and speak their mind to the Commissioners. The Township building is located across from Hoss’s Restaurant and meetings start at 6:30 PM.
October 14, 2022
We finally have the complete Derck & Edson Master Plan for the farm per the Dropbox link below provided by Heather Negley, UAT Board Secretary.
Here are the 3 projects closest to the farmhouse and the McCormick Rd. neighbors:
17 Project Wetland Walk pg. 94 (Creekside lot)
2 Project Barn Restoration pg. 64 /3 Project Heritage Garden, Orchard and Pond pg. 65
October 7, 2022
We are proud to share these wonderful Letters in Support of preservation received from Historic Harrisburg Association and Cumberland County Historical Society.
October 6, 2022
There were no bids to consider for relocating the historic 1855 Lambert farmhouse at last night’s BOC Meeting. Mr. Fairchild had previously provided the Township with a letter (see below) explaining why he did not bid to relocate. The Commissioners indicated they will deliberate the matter further.
Eric Fairchild, Phil Walsh, Billie Mackay, Eric Fry, Elaine Weibel and Judy Bailey all spoke of the importance of the farmhouse to the history and character of McCormick Rd. and urged its preservation and/or sale to a new owner that will restore the exterior to period.
Penn Live reporter Zack Hoopes attended the meeting and wrote the following story. We are thankful for Zack’s insightful coverage.
Here is a link to the online version of the story:
Here is Mr. Fairchild’s letter explaining his NO BID:
October 5, 2022
Consideration of bids (to relocate) property at 1215 McCormick Rd. is on the BOC meeting agenda tonight as item 6 b. The municipal building is located at 100 Gettysburg Pike – across from Hoss’s restaurant.
We do not expect there to be any bids to “relocate” the farmhouse.
We ask your support in attending the meeting tonight and suggesting the Commissioners re-bid the farmhouse real estate with a minimum 1 acre lot with the condition a new owner restore the exterior of the home to historic period. This will attract many more bidders and have a net positive financial impact of $200,000+ for the Township.
The Carlisle Sentinel ran the story below on the farm/park yesterday. Is it just us, or does it sound like Scott Fraser, the Township Manager, is hinting at possible sports fields in the future; i.e,
“A 10-acre active zone is reserved for activities that generate more noise, movement and larger groups of people, as well as requiring man-made facilities. Although the plan lists ball fields for soccer, baseball and softball playgrounds as suitable activities here, it doesn’t mean these are actual recommendations to the township, Fraser pointed out.”
September 25, 2022
Blocked. When Mr. Fairchild tried posting the following information on the Residents of Upper Allen Facebook Page; he received the notice you see below. The page administrator, Ms. Melanie Lenker, says this is Facebook’s doing and not hers. We shall see.
September 25, 2022
At the September 21, 2022 Board of Commissioners Meeting, the Commissioners “accepted” a “Reassessment of the Township’s Four Municipal Historic Districts” by Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers which recommends “dissolving” the Yellow Breeches (McCormick Rd.), Rosegarden, and Trout Run historic districts. The Shepherdstown district was spared the axe.
Instead of presenting the actual report, the Navarro & Wright representative, projected a series of slides not contained in the report itself. We have searched the Board Minutes for when this study was authorized, how much it cost, etc., but come up empty handed.
Here is the link to the actual report:
Per page 36: “It is the opinion of N&W that the Yellow Breeches Historic District be disbanded, as it’s historic integrity has been diminished due to modern intrusions. The historic agricultural feeling and setting of the district is lacking, and modern homes interrupt the flow of the area.”
The Joseph & Barbara (Scherich) Krall farmhouse at 443 McCormick Rd. (ca 1809) is shown as “infill” development and there is ambiguity about the age of the barn at 605 McCormick Rd. Although several lots in Allen Glen extend to McCormick Rd., the homes on them are set well back from McCormick Rd. so as to not be intrusive and all these homes front on Allen Glen Dr. We believe only 901 McCormick Rd. (built 1981) has encroached on the historic district boundary line since the formation of the district in 1976 and this home has the proportions of an older home with wood siding.
From the report it appears that neither N&W nor the township understand the difference between a National Register Historic District and a municipal historic district. Listing on the NR and a local district are not mutually inclusive and the function of each are entirely different.
There are inconsistencies and issues with various aspects of the report and many assumptions are made without referencing nominations or updated information. Additionally, they continue to fixate only on Criterion C, and they classify buildings built in the early to mid 20th century as intrusions which they are referencing the Period of Significance for the district. They fail to mention that the nominations can and should be updated to include these other resources, many of which, do blend into the district and have significance themselves. NPS criterion and local municipal criterion are NOT the same thing not to mention the township ordinance is wildly outdated.
There are many photos of McCormick Rd. homes in the report but none of the 1855 Lambert farmhouse at 1215 McCormick Rd. The Lambert farmhouse is a reason to extend the district vs. dissolving it. One can reasonably assume the Township told N&W their intent is to demolish the farmhouse by the end of the year if there are no bids to relocate it. The Township has previously indicated they WILL NOT seek grant funding to return the farmhouse to Civil War period; i.e. no plumbing or electric. Friends of the Farm has offered volunteer help to remove the ill advised additions and secure the farmhouse but they have not been seriously considered by the Commissioners.
The Township has made significant zoning changes in recent years without most residents being fully aware of them. Commissioner Ken Martin recently said apartments could have been built on the farm at 1215 McCormick Rd. Seriously?
“Dissolving” the historic district protections will change zoning yet again and likely open a floodgate of demolition and/or higher density development along McCormick Rd. One lot in Allen Glen is already in process of being subdivided. The Aycock’s former home at 989 McCormick Rd. – just outside the YB historic district – was recently demolished. The 1918 arched bridge to Monaghan Township at the Glen Allen Mill is also under threat of demolition.
The bulldozers may be coming for more of beautiful McCormick Rd. unless enough concerned citizens are made aware and act to put an end to the Commissioner’s misguided notions of history and historic significance.
The “accurate” information is now out. Compare the N&W presentation and recommendations you see now with what the public was told by Commissioner Jim Cochran last Fall. From the November 17, 2021 Board Minutes:
Regarding the HARB (Historical Architecture Review Board) meeting last night, Commissioner Cochran said there was a case involving a request to construct an addition to the rear of the home at 814 McCormick Road. He said that passed fairly quickly and allowed for time to present to the HARB the fact that we have money in the budget next year to have a consultant help us with the current historical districts and properties. He said they talked about what our issues are. He noted that HARB involvement in Shepherdstown issues brought most of this to light. He explained that the map and physical descriptions of the historic district didn’t agree. Also, as we went back to research our districts as well as our properties, there is no rhyme or reason why some are in and some are out. Three things were determined – (1) the need to come up with what the district or property should look like, (2) a historic district that continues to be recognized will be under the
Minutes of BOC Meeting – November 17, 2021 (page 9)
purview of HARB, and (3) a historic building would not be under HARB but would come back to the Commissioners. He said they talked a lot about the Early Architecture in Upper Allen Township book, which was commissioned by the Board of Commissioners in 1976 for the Centennial. Ed Lafond was one of the contributors, and Virginia Lafond, who is currently on the HARB, talked about what really happened behind the scenes. He said it was an act of love and a hobby for some but there really was no standard, and Mrs. Lafond was supportive of what we are trying to do, and the HARB understands that we need some rules as to why some properties are in and why others aren’t, and we need to be able to defend what we do. He said there aren’t enough documents left from the 70s and 80s to define why things were done. He said Mrs. Lafond is going to look to see if she has any documents to support what happened then. She said she still has cases of the books, and we have some here at the Township building. She has two file cabinets full of papers that might be related to the design of the historic districts and she will see if she has anything that will be of help.
Commissioner Cochran said HARB Chairman Joe Botchie asked about 1215 McCormick Road and that was discussed. He said HARB understood that they weren’t invited to come in and look at a building that we don’t know is historic until we get some historic rules in place, and they are fine with that. He said the meeting went an hour longer than needed. He said he wants to get the minutes of that meeting out because there were comments online that we were trying to do away with historic districts and he would like to get the accurate information out. HARB agreed and Commissioner Cochran said he did promise that they will see the consultant’s comments. Commissioner Anderson said Mrs. Lafond is well-versed on the historic areas. She questioned whether anyone has contacted Pat Finkenbinder for information.
September 24, 2022
See it to believe it. Below are some of the conditions imposed by Upper Allen Township regarding our Monday, September 26th Appointment(s) to Inspect 1215 McCormick Rd. – the 1855 Lambert Farmhouse now owned by Upper Allen that was advertised for public bid in the August 22, 2022 Carlisle Sentinel.
@ The $5,000 deposit must be paid before being granted access to inspect the property
@ Upper Allen will send four (4) representatives including a Police Officer.
@ Mr. Fairchild is only allowed two (2) “guests”. (His guests will be Mr. Joe Botchie of HARB and Mr. David Morrison of Historic Harrisburg Association.)
@ Mr. Fairchild may not substitute guests; i.e. “is not the intent of the scheduled hours to function as an Open House”
@ Upper Allen “will not consider” sending Mr. Frank Grottola, its Building Code official and a member of HARB.
@ Mr. Fairchild may not bring an additional guest such as Dr. Nancy Van Dolsen of Cliveden or Mr. Frank Grumbine of the PHMC*
@ Mr. Fairchild may not have a second appointment to do a second inspection with a house mover.
Dr. Nancy Van Dolsen is a noted historian, educator and author. She has ties to Central, PA having received her undergraduate degree from Dickinson College in 1982 and serving as Director- Architectural Survey, Cumberland County Historical Society from 1984-1988. Nancy is presently CEO of Cliveden of the National Trust, Philadelphia, PA. Her publications include:
Cumberland County: An Architectural Survey. Ephrata, PA: The Science Press and the Cumberland County Historical Society, 1990.
“The Brick-Cased Houses of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania” in Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture III. Colombia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1988.
Nancy is a good sport and has decided to come up from Germantown for the inspection anyway. Nancy will stand across the street while the Police Officer or others escort us around the Lambert Farmhouse. We plan is to inspect the 1852 Scherich Farmhouse at 1450 Main St., Lisburn and hour or so following the inspection of the Lambert Farmhouse and we know Nancy will be warmly welcomed there.
Mr. Frank Grumbine also has much experience inspecting historic buildings and is primary inspector for historic property inspection program of the PHMC. Frank is presently Central PA Community Preservation Coordinator, Preservation Services PHMC | PA State Historic Preservation Office.
Our sincere apologies to Nancy and Frank on behalf of all decent and honorable Upper Allen Township residents who respect history.
September 21, 2022
We finally get to see the farmhouse. UAT has extended the deadline to bid on relocating the farmhouse at 1215 McCormick Rd. to Monday, October 3rd and the required $5,000 good faith deposit has been made. We are now scheduled to do the inspection on Monday, September 26th between 10:00am – 12:00 pm.
Through the courtesy of Mrs. Barbara Hawkins, we have tentatively scheduled a visit to the 1852 Scherich farmhouse at 1450 Main St., Lisburn following the inspection of the 1855 Lambert farmhouse. Mary Lambert (wife of Michael) was the sister of John Scherich. Their mother, Anna Scherich Crall, sold land to both children on which these two brick farmhouses were built and we know Anna lived with Michael and Mary per the 1850 census. One might expect similarities in construction or features but this remains to be seen.
At this point, my two “guests”, as permitted by UAT, will be Mr. Joe Botchie of the HARB and Mr. David Morrison of Historic Harrisburg Association. Joe is a Registered Architect who has had a long career with Gannett Fleming. David is the long time Director of Historic Harrisburg and brings much needed expertise to the situation at hand – a building under severe threat of demolition.
There are different approaches to inspecting a home. Some people start at the top (attic/roof) and some start at the bottom (basement/foundation). I’m inclined to say start at the top with this home because of the water issue but I defer to Joe and David. A reason to start at the bottom is to take a closer look at the “W.S. Scoot 1789” lintel beam which is above the exterior door at the northwest corner of the original home. Per Michael Lambert’s August 17, 1860 advertisement, we know the home was originally built as a “Three Story Brick House” so it’s very likely the Scoot beam was put there by the Lamberts. A finding that the summer kitchen was on the ground floor should put this home in a unique category of 4 bay German Georgian homes.
Everyone should bear in mind that “removing and relocating” the structure by a house mover would likely destroy the historic ground floor features as it is simply not feasible to attempt to “get under” the foundation of this particular home to move it.
Here again is TKS Architects (Mr. Doug Tilley) earlier evaluation of the farmhouse and barn for reference.
The UAT Commissioners continue to say how expensive; i.e, “7 digits” it would be to “rehab” the farmhouse without ever acknowledging the same would logically hold true for the barn as well.
The UAT Commissioners continue to ignore Friends of the Farm offer of volunteer help to secure the farmhouse, and seem not to understand the distinction between “rehab” and our recommendation to return the Lambert farmhouse to Civil War period; i.e., no indoor plumbing or electricity. The Commissioners have also said they will not seek any grant funding for the farmhouse.
Ms. Kelly Palmer, UAT Assistant Manager, has clarified the media may have access but “needs to coordinate a time for a site visit with the township. They can directly contact me to coordinate this”. Kelly may be reached at 717-766-0756 or email@example.com
POLICE TRAINING DRILLS USING THE FARMHOUSE
Early on in the Township ownership, there were police training drills using the farmhouse. Our understanding is the initial drill was to use “flash bangs” but this drill was postponed. From the BOC Minutes 05/06/20:
He (Mr. Ken Martin) said prior to purchasing the property the Board talked informally about whether the house has much use, and he noted that it is in disrepair. He said the Board talked about allowing the Police Department to use it for
Minutes of May 6, 2020 Board of Commissioners Meeting page 8
training. He polled the Commissioners for any objections to that happening, and there were none. He said that is not to say the Fire Department couldn’t use it for training, but the Board is giving the Police Department first crack at it this time due to the circumstances. Vice President Castranio noted that the Police Department will limit their training only to the single family structure and not the other buildings, and Chief Adams confirmed that it would only involve the farmhouse and the area right around it. Depending on the type of training they do, he said they would certainly alert the neighbors. He said a lot of it will depend on the COVID-19 situation and social distancing as far as how intensive a training they can do.
September 14, 2022
Hello Everyone. The Township has released the July 20, 2022 Master Plan presentation (attached below) by Derck & Edson which provide much needed detail for the farm/park now named “Upper Allen Generations Park” with an address of 1340 Lisburn Rd. It is helpful to go through the 43 slides for close up views of the various park areas and the planned amenities.
There was mention, in earlier Commissioner meetings, of Derck & Edson preparing a narrative to accompany the Master Plan. We hope this happens soon and that the public is afforded the opportunity to make comment. As Ms. Jennifer Lee of Derck & Edson has said, this is an “evolving document”. For now, we have the Minutes of the July 20, BOC Meeting to serve as a narrative and comment. The Carlisle Sentinel also did its front page story on July 22.
One important piece of missing information at this point are preliminary budget numbers and suggested phasing. Commissioners have mentioned an overall cost of $15-20 million for this park which we find staggering. How do Commissioners come up with such a number at this point? Commissioner Jim Cochran (see below) has referenced possibly having to spend “7 digits” rehabbing the farmhouse alone as a reason not to do that.
The sooner cost estimates for such amenities as Roadways, Trails, Gatehouse, 220 Parking Spaces, 7 Restrooms, Plantings, rehabbing the Barn, Skate Park, Pump Track, Amphitheater, etc. are provided, the better for all concerned. We suggest prioritizing and separating items based on wants and needs. The lack of budget numbers suggest the Board should proceed with caution.
UAT has also corrected the website presentation of its Meeting Minutes and now shows all minutes back to October , 2021. We thank the staff for doing this and Heather Negley (Board Secretary) in particular for doing such a great job with the minutes.
Commissioners approved the “Upper Allen Generations Park” name at the September 7, 2022 meeting. Commissioner Ken Martin referenced the generations – from younger to older – that will find the park distinctive. Commissioner Virginia Anderson said “I also think it’s something different as far as park names in the central area and I think it will be something that attaches easily”. Mr. Fairchild referenced paying homage to the generations who have lived on the farm. Another interpretation is that it will take at least another generation to build out this park.
Things got a bit testy when Mr. Fairchild probed for answers to the three (3) questions he communicated to the Board in his September 7, 2022 Friends of the Farm update. What follows are mostly verbatim answers so no one (hopefully) feels their comment is taken out of context. Mr. Fairchild served on a (school) board himself and feels it appropriate for the public to ask questions of a Board as it is not a monolithic body. The Upper Allen Commissioners can be commended for responding as they did.
1 What is the affect of the “Deed in Lieu of Condemnation” on the Camelot Meadows deed restrictions which call for residential use only on the creekside lot?
The Board expressed little awareness of this issue.
Mr. Fairchild said “I’m trying to tie up loose ends as we start seeing people walking – trying to walk down to the creek through on that (Township) lot -so I didn’t know – I do think the township wants to be a good neighbor – how do we get that to work”.
Commissioner Ken Martin said “So that’s a legal issue. We will have our Solicitor research it – you know, if, in fact, those covenants or restrictions are applicable on the land we own – I’m not even going to comment on it”. The Board gave direction to Solicitor Steve Fineour to research the matter.
(We suggest if the Solicitor’s position is that condemnation extinguished the (1958) deed restrictions, the Board owes it to the creekside lot neighbors and others to acknowledge this and seek an honorable solution. The neighboring property owners had no notice of the condemnation or possible loss of their property rights and there is little buffer shown in the Master Plan. As one neighbor has quipped: “they don’t want anyone living in the park – but we are already living in the park”. Our suggested solution is that the Board reconsider selling the creekside lot and farmhouse)
2 What qualifies the Commissioners to pass judgment on the historic significance of the farmhouse?
Mr. Fairchild said “I’m just trying to understand the Boards thinking, since we haven’t had any, um, professional historians give an opinion – certainly, Friends of the Farm has tried to provide a lot of historical information – but what qualifies the board to more or less determine that the farmhouse is not historically significant”
3 How do the Commissioners reconcile their view of historic significance with the 2013 Comprehensive Plan?
Commissioner Jim Cochran said “So, I think we need to be clear the comprehensive plan, much like a financial plan or budget, is a set of guideposts but it is not some kind of sacrosanct document we have to abide by – something that was written in 2013 – now 9 years later. There are some things we tried to do and there are some other things in other areas that we didn’t do because times change. Um, I think the other thing noticed when you called some of this into question – I think the plan called for buildings of significant historic significance and i think that leaves a lot of leeway in there. What is significant to you might not be to me and I think we’ve gone through a rather long and drawn out process to make sure, but we slowed down and took our time. But, um personally I have yet to see true historic significance. It is an old building that was chopped up many times in its lifetime and put back together in a rather poor fashion. And over the last 10 years really wasn’t taken care of and now has some really significant problems so, um if I ask what I feel is best for the constituency I feel I serve – it’s not to spend 7 digits on rehabbing a house that really doesn’t – in my opinion warrant spending that money. We need to get facilities in the park up and running so people can use it – so, that’s my preference. One of the interesting things you can’t – you’re elected to a 4 year term and I think Steve will back me up on this – there are things we can do and things we can’t do. But you can’t constrict the hands of a former board into the far future – there are limits on that, so , in 2013 I think only Ginnie and I might have been on when the Comprehensive Plan went through, so we have 3 new members that have their own ideas … and again it’s a guidepost – much as we put a budget out every year but we don’t meet that too the penny … there are things that we don’t spend money on and there are new things that come up we do spend money on. So, that’s just how i feel, not speaking for the board, my impression”.
Commissioner Jeff Walter said “… I have to agree with Commissioner Cochran .. the decay of that building and the multiple times it was poorly restored or rather added onto have really really changed my mind about the aspects of saving the house for display”.
Commissioner Ken Martin said “I just want to say it, and I don’t want to cut anyone off, but I think this board deserves credit for listening to citizens, to you, your organization, multiple times. I think we’ve been patient and considerate and then we came up with a process that was partially suggested by your organization – and we’re in that process and so, to suddenly (unintelligible) – it feels like we are pre judging that process so now we’re trying to thwart that process and figure out another way to prolong the process we’re already in. I don’t mean to be disingenuous to suggest there is any mal intent (unintelligible) I mean you are a wonderful human being, you’re the best attender of our meetings, but, you know, I guess I’m a little bit troubled by the fact that we’ve done a lot of what the residents asked for and have the opportunity now (to) reconstruct it somewhere, move it across the street like you publicly suggested. You know, I feel like we are sometimes kind of beat up for nothing”.
Commissioner Virginia Anderson said “I have one thing to say and I think it’s often times a misinterpretation of the comments that are made about the 1976 booklet that was put out – ah, that was during the (bi) centennial and it was put out and you referred to not having anyone historic – technically, those people didn’t either because I knew most of them on that committee. I wasn’t living in the Township at the time but they were interested in historical things. So, I often feel that is being thrown out and it technically was not done by someone who had a title after their name of being a historic so and so. That was done by residents of the Township that had interest. And that’s how I view it and I do get offended when that’s thrown out because I understand what that booklet – and it interesting and it tells us things – but it isn’t carved in stone. Maybe I’m expressing that wrong but it’s how I do view it.”
At the conclusion of the discussion Commissioner Martin said “Several of us have given personal responses and I would just caution that I don’t think anything that was said here tonight is a board response so I would just caution you in future correspondence when you kind of link individual responses as an official position like the Board is going to do this or the Board is going to do that. Well, you know, we kind of talk some times in a discussion period and it’s not action or it’s not official so I guess I just hope we are extended that courtesy in correspondence to the public.”
On September 9, 2022, Mr. Fairchild emailed Kelly Palmer (Assistant Township Manager) about scheduling two (2 hour) appointments to inspect the farmhouse per the Bid Advertisement to “remove and relocate the (Residential) Structure” at 1215 McCormick Rd. Bids are due September 23. Mr. Fairchild asked to possibly bring 2 members of the HARB, 2 neighbors who know McCormick Rd. houses, 1 contractor and the house mover(s). He also requested to be able to apply a chemical stripper to a small area of the exterior brick as a test for how easily the paint can be removed.
Ms. Palmer responded: “Thank you for your note. I will assume this is your written letter of intent to bid on the property. We would be happy to schedule a walk through on Monday, September 19th between 10am -12pm. Per the Township’s August 22nd Advertisement for Sealed Bids, to schedule the walk through, the township requires a $5,000 Good Faith Deposit to be held in escrow by the township until the bid opening. Once the Good Faith Deposit is received, I will confirm the walkthrough with the appropriate township parties.”
Ms. Palmer further states “As the August 22 Advertisement notes, the sale of the structure will be accompanied by limited permission to enter the structure. You may bring 2 quests with you who should be identified to the Township. Additional guests may be permitted at the discretion of the Township upon a showing of necessity”.
Finally, Ms. Palmer states “In reference to the chemical stripper, that will not be permitted. The Structure is being sold in as is, where is condition without any warranty or guaranty of fitness for a particular purpose or merchantability, whether expressed or implied. Therefore no physical changes may be made to the structure. Please let me know if you have any further questions”.
September 7, 2022
Attached (below) are the July 20, 2022 BOC Minutes which include the Master Plan presentation/discussion on pages 1 to 7. There is much to digest here.
The Master Plan slides have yet to be posted on the Township website and the Meeting Minutes continue to be incomplete and out of order. See Meeting Minutes – Upper Allen Township. This is unfair to anyone who would want to review and comment on the Master Plan.
There is another BOC Meeting tonight which includes Item 7a Consideration/Approval of a name for the park. Meetings start at 6:30 pm. The Township suggested name is “Upper Allen Generations Park”.
We have seen no activity at the farmhouse suggesting anyone is seriously considering making a bid to relocate it. The deadline for bids is September 23.
We plan to ask some questions tonight such as:
1 How does the “Deed In Lieu of Condemnation” affect the Camelot Meadows deed restrictions which call for residential use only?
2 In absence of professional historic opinion, what qualifies the Commissioners to pass judgment on the historic significance of the farmhouse?
3 How do the Commissioners reconcile their view of historic significance with the 2013 Comprehensive Plan which states (pg 28) “Rehabilitate and preserve significant historic residential structures” and (pg. 30) “To support the identification and designation of properties of national, state, and local historic significance” and “To encourage the preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of historic structures as identified in the 1976 publication, Early Architecture in Upper Allen Township, by the Upper Allen Heritage Committee and in Cumberland County’s historic structure inventory”
Here is the Master Plan presentation/discussion per the July 20, 2022 UAT Minutes:
Cumberland County Commissioner Foshi and Cumberland County Commissioner DiFilippo were in attendance.
Jennifer Lee of Derck & Edson did a presentation on the Master Plan for 1215 McCormick Road. It was announced that since the driveway will be on Lisburn Road, the official address will now be 1340 E. Lisburn Road.
Ms. Lee stated that what she was sharing was not a set of instructions, it is a planning effort that they expect will evolve and change. She said that they created active, passive and transitional activity zones and overlaid them on the property where they thought they would be appropriate. They placed activities zones near the center which is flatter. The plan shows 10 acres or 16% as active use, 12 acres or 20% as transitional use and 39 acres or 64% of the property as passive use. The plan showed vehicular circulation with the small traffic circle being one way and the center road being
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There are a variety of trails and walkways using a variety of paving materials to create different experiences. Wetland areas can have boardwalk areas to protect wildlife and there are opportunities in meadow areas to do mowed paths. We do not always need a hard surface. The design shows two and a half miles of trails with under two miles being paved.
They looked at existing structures and how they could be repurposed. Some were not in the right place or in the right condition. Restrooms will need to be incorporated and the Township will have to undertake infrastructure development.
They did not want to create a big parking lot in the middle and have spokes coming out as it did not fit the property or the type of uses. They wanted to create enough parking to meet needs of the facility but to spread it out in pocket areas – smaller areas where the uses would demand it. In the center, it offers an opportunity to create a larger area in the center, but that can be done incrementally. Two hundred twenty parking spaces are proposed, not counting the ten at the maintenance and entrance of the facility.
Ms. Lee took the approach of sharing the uses in a counterclockwise movement around the park. The first area is the entrance where she showed a maintenance facility with a gatehouse feel. This would include an office.
The Senior Playground (2.5 acres) would have its own space and identity. There are places for bocce ball, pickleball, horseshoe pits, gardens and a pavilion with restrooms.
The Quiet Meadow (4 acres) is to the right of the main entrance. There is a short loop trail with identified potential wetlands. There are opportunities for more natural vegetation, sculpture or local artist, a pickleball court and creating a buffer along the residential edge of the property.
The Amphitheatre (1 acre) would be natural with a tree cover canopy. There is the opportunity for a sloped lawn area, sound buffering, rain gardens and a pavilion with restrooms.
In the center is the opportunity for a Great Lawn (3.3 acres) where there would be no formal use, but available for play. Beside this area, there could be a large pavilion to have community events. It makes sense to have that lawn where events could spill over. There are two existing structures that could be converted into restroom facilities or smaller pavilions. Bocce ball or picnics could take place on the lawn.
The Butterfly Meadow (1 acre) would be a natural area that could support butterfly houses, educational signage and a small pavilion.
The Birdwatching Meadow (2.7 acres) has vegetation that lends itself to birdwatching. The Township could take an existing structure and use it as an overlook. A sculptural bird blind and nesting boxes could be incorporated into the area. There are opportunities for education.
The Picnic Paddock (1.5 acres) could have trees planted around the perimeter for shading. It is an area that could be used for community events such as festivals and food trucks. Patio spaces could be created on the upper and lower side of the barn.
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The Barn and Orchard (.9 acre) would be an area for heritage plantings representing the agricultural history of the area. The fate of the house has not been decided. We have not committed one way or the other. The plan will allow for whatever use that house ends up taking on. There is an existing pond that could be rejuvenated and could be part of the stormwater plan.
The Informal Native Garden (1 acre) would benefit from a champion in the community to care for it. A focus would be on native plant materials and have an educational and experiential purpose. There could be educational signage with individual plants tagged. There could be lawn pockets to play and discover at the same time with informally done pathways.
The Wildflower Walk (3 acres) would be a more naturalized area capitalizing on what we already have. A sycamore grove exists that could be cared for and encouraged. We would want to keep healthy trees intact and have a mown walkway. There may be opportunities to do things with insect habitat that are educational and fun.
The Woodland Walk and Nature Discover (2 acres) in the southeast corner requires restoration. There are invasive materials, and we would want to pull the woodland out further. Walking trails with areas of discovery and play for children could occur. There could be hollowed out logs or stumps or a willow branch tunnel fitting the character of the part. It would encourage children to walk and bike along the path in areas of discovery.
The Skate Park and Palustrine Pass (2.1 acres) could take advantage of the topography and be tucked in the middle. It would be suitable for different ages. There is a low wetland area that could help provide mitigation for stormwater. It could enhance what the vegetation is doing and provide an area for education.
The Woodland Adventure and Pump Track (2.8) could be a discovery area for bigger kids. The area could have an opportunity for a pavilion. We could pull out the woodland and enhance it. A bike park with a mini pump track could be tucked away.
McCormick Road has an existing fence. We could close the gaps and create limited access. We could give pedestrians and bikers access to the park through this area. We could provide signage to announce the park and where to enter on Lisburn Road for vehicles. It is important to address this roadway edge.
The Wetland Walk is very dense. It is very steep toward the creek with a large wetland body in the middle. We have decided against a creek access point. There is no good place for parking and the trek to get there from anywhere would be a disruption to the natural community. We are proposing to introduce a small loop walk and boardwalk to allow residents to get in there and have it up open into a beautiful wetland. You could get to a viewing platform, watch wildlife and see different plant material.
President Martin stated that this is a master plan, a roadmap of how it might be used and that it will not be built in five years or in his lifetime. He shared that this is an asset to the township and that we have the flexibility to build the park as we go. He opened the floor to comments about the park and master plan. He said that the Board of Commissioners would listen and take notes of input. He stated that the Commissioners want this to be as participatory as possible.
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Eric Fairchild, of 1224 McCormick Road, stated that a lot comes back to the values of the board members and that his first impression is that this is a car centric park like drive-by tourism. People drive in here, get out and see these features. I think you said two miles of paving in this 61-acre farm. That is not my value. It just seems way excessive and one of the problems with society of course is health issues, obesity and all that. He would much rather see a park with maybe a more limited parking area that people get out and explore. President Martin said that he did not hear it that way but asked Ms. Lee to confirm. He thought it was two miles of walking trails. Ms. Lee confirmed that it is. 1.86 of those trail miles are paved and others are mown paths. She does not have the exact mileage of the road. Mr. Fairchild asked if he saw that the road was 15 ft wide. Ms. Lee said that is the proposal for now for a one-lane access. President Martin said that the roadway is for vehicular traffic but there are 2.5 miles of trails. Ms. Lee confirmed there are 1.2 miles of roadway.
Mr. Fairchild said he was a little taken back that more of the parking was not shaded and asked if that was the intention. Ms. Lee said that can be something that evolves as part of the plan. She said we were trying to do pocket parking where we thought it was needed for each of the types of uses, but that is not to say that we could not shade that and plant around it. Vice President Castranio said that parking does not need to be impervious, we may put pervious pavers in some of these areas. He said that he thinks Mr. Fairchild is looking at saving the atmosphere, and asked if that was his goal? Mr. Fairchild asked if he heard that there would be 200 parking places. Ms. Lee said that is what was shown on the plan, but as we noted, that could certainly be a phased approach depending on what activities are popular or how many people you find utilize the park. She said she would not advocate for going out there and building 200 parking spaces right from day one. She would like to comment from Mr. Fairchild’s introductory statement as we were working through the process, we noted that this is a destination park in the southeastern part of the county. So, despite human nature of wanting to drive everywhere, there are not as many opportunities in this neighborhood to necessarily walk to get to this park and we want to make it available and accessible for all of the Township residents. Hence, the need for some parking. President Martin asked Mr. Fairchild to help him understand why shaded parking? Wouldn’t we rather have shaded trails? Mr. Fairchild said that asphalt and sun and cars do not mix.
Mr. Fairchild said it seemed like there was no preliminary plan and now we have a final plan. He said he is not sure it is a final plan and maybe that is wrong. Commissioner Anderson said that there can be additions five to ten years down the road as we see what people are interested in. It will be done in phases. Mr. Fairchild said that there is no public comment now that Ms. Lee hears or maybe the board would even agree with, to go back and make changes. President Martin said that Mr. Fairchild is certainly welcome at a meeting or in correspondence and/or in a visit with staff to express that input.
Mr. Fairchild stated that the Township did a 2016 park study and wanted to know if the Township feels that was met with this plan and recommendations. Ms. Lee said that part of that 2016 plan really called for the need for passive recreation. So given the fact that almost 2/3 of the property will be allocated for passive recreation, she feel like the Township has met a lot of those goals. We are not building more sport fields out here. That is not what we are suggesting as part of the plan.
Mr. Fairchild asked if Ms. Lee made a calculation of how much of this park may be mowed. Ms. Lee said she did not, but would suggest there are some areas like the Great Lawn that we feel are important to have as lawn. It does not have to be the most spectacularly mowed or chemically
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treated, but it needs to be a playable lawn. There are a lot of in-between spaces and the opportunities to be more natural but check to keep invasives out. It would help to not have everything mowed. She has not done a formal calculation. This is a master plan, so it is a high level concept.
Phil Walsh, of 443 McCormick Road, asked the dimensions of the amphitheater. Mr. Lee was not sure but stated that the dashed circle area at the top of the drawing represented a defined area of 50 feet. Mr. Walsh asked if there would be leveling of that area. Ms. Lee said that the entire park will have some grading, but they were very deliberate with locations and trying to fit within the topography of the site. Mr. Walsh asked if there would be a soccer field down the road. President Martin said no, this is not meant for competitive active sports.
Mike Goetz, of 1117 McCormick Road, stated concern about the trail along the western side of the park that abuts his property. He asked what can be done to create more of a buffer or move it. Ms. Lee said any of the trails that are seen on the plans are proposed plans and that it is really going to take some field work to lay out the exact location of the trails. The trails may or may not end up coming to fruition in the way it is drawn. We want to work around existing growth. She shared that where we see green on the drawings is intended to represent additional buffering. Mr. Goetz would like more buffer. President Martin asked what is on his property. Mr. Goetz said it is a culvert area, so it is a drainage area, from the park, it drops down into that culvert. He said it is woods, but he does not want to be the buffer for the park, he was hoping the park would be more of a buffer for him. President Martin said the Township will give them more buffer, yours and the parks.
Wes Morrett, of 1125 E. Lisburn Road, told Ms. Lee that he thought it was a great plan and a great start to everything. Mr. Morrett thought there would be creek access. He asked if it was worth keeping the land near the creek or to sell it to fund the park. He asked if it would make more sense to have the maintenance more centrally located instead of at the entrance. President Martin said it would be wise to have public access to the creek at some point, but this location is not ideal. President Martin said he made a statement two years ago that creek access would be possible, but it is not. Commissioner Cochran shared that the lot currently has the drain field for the septic in the house that is currently there.
Bruce Swartz, of 1025 Apache Trail, stated that he borders the park and wanted to make the Commissioners aware that he has hunting on his property. He asked that the Township be cautious of where the trails are so that hunting can continue.
Leon Crone, of 1350 E. Lisburn Road, said that in early phases, there was talk of screening along his property line. Ms. Lee said that is the intent. President Martin said that the Township wants to be good neighbors. Commissioner Cochran added that if we build a structure near the street, that it will echo the character of the neighborhood.
Garret (Jack) Shambaugh, of 12 McCormick Road, said that the Township is creating runoff and wanted to know what was going to be done. Ms. Lee said that if you look at the plan, there are a lot of jelly- bean shaped plans. They are called out as stormwater or rain management areas. Ms. Lee said it is known that water flows toward the road and they have shown additional areas to try to manage it. She stated that they are trying to pick up stormwater management before it leaves the property. President Martin said that we are obligated to keep it on the property. Vice President Castranio said that the Township will be required to take care of it.
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Karen Overly-Smith, of 855 Oak Oval, said that she is a potential consumer of the resources that are there along with a lot of people from Messiah Village who would really be interested in it. They came and participated in some of the planning for it. She stated that she appreciates the foresight in purchasing land and considering the whole plan. She thanked the neighbors for being the neighbors that would welcome the community to use the property.
Eric Fairchild, of 1224 McCormick Road, asked if he heard the fencing was going to be retained along McCormick Road. Ms. Lee said that was the intent and also said that they would like to take some of the existing fencing from elsewhere in the park and use it to fill in gaps along McCormick and potentially out along Lisburn as kind of an entrance edge feature and maybe even other spots throughout the park will be appropriate. Mr. Fairchild asked if it would be the white PVC fencing. Ms. Lee said that there is a lot to use. President Martin asked if he was in favor of or against fencing. Mr. Fairchild said that he is in favor of some demarcation, but you could do it with planting material too. He stated that he is not a fan of white PVC vs split rail. Ms. Lee said the intent is to utilize the resources we already have.
Mr. Fairchild said he is a little confused about the road that is going to be constructed from 114. Is it 1,000 feet of paved and 700 feet of stone? He did not know how it was going to connect. Commissioner Cochran said that it is just a first step. He shared that when the Township refinanced our bond, we got extra money, so we looked a year ago at creating the entrance and bringing it in off Lisburn Road Rt 114 and the prices we got were too high because we bid it separately, so we did not do anything last year. This year we bid it as part of our road paving project and prices were more reasonable. It is about 1⁄2 million to get it in. We have talked about the cost of this park, and I think if we want to do everything that is laid out here, it is $15 or 20 million dollars so this is a long term, really expensive project. We have applied to the county for ARPA money. We have asked for a matching grant. If we get the matching grant, we can do some of the trails. All we have to get started this year with is getting the road in off of Rt 114 paved at a certain distance and then stone which would connect with the stone road that goes down through the property now. President Martin said kudos our staff, to Kelly and Scott who have done a great job getting external grant government. We will continue to do that. Yes, the majority of the expense will be borne by taxpayers over the years, but we will supplement that to the extent we can with external funding and our staff has done numerous excellent projects.
Commissioner Cochran said he thinks our matching grants were over a million at our parks in the past years. We have been very active in applying for any monies that are available. The state is very interested in increasing parks and outdoor activity. The state likes that our playgrounds, and that is where the money comes so far, are all accessible. We have some of the most accessible playgrounds in central Pennsylvania if your child has restrictions, disabilities and they cannot go to a normal park. Our parks are accessible. We have a teeter totter to put a wheel chair on.
Staff has done a great job finding money for us. Not all is free, some is matching money. Matching money is often easier to come by than a full grant. It is usually maybe 1/3 and 2/3. You put up a 1/3 and the agency puts up 2/3. That stretches our dollars.
Mr. Fairchild said that we as neighbors have seen the farm sit dormant for a long time and kind of deteriorate. He asked how soon after the road is completed, can the Township open the farm up to the public to walk around and take down no trespassing signs. President Martin said it is a good, but premature question and the Commissions have not discussed it yet. He said we want to bring it on as
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a usable asset in a safe manner. As we develop phases, we will bring it on.
Commissioner Cochran said that to open it up without trials, invites people going places we do not necessarily want them to go including neighbors. Eric said to just let the grass keep growing and mow a trail. It is just seeing life there and people, tax payers did help fund the purchase and should be able to use it.
Mr. Fairchild asked how the Township is handling septic or sewer on the property and stated that he he did not understand that when he saw the restrooms. President Martin does not know if the Township has an answer for that yet. He said that there is public sewer on Lisburn Road so we could bring that in. We have a park in Simpson where we have a different kind of waste management so, I am not aware that has really been addressed granularly. We can get to public sewer there. Commissioner Cochran said he imagines that at some point he will have to run public sewer there, but does not see that as a first step.
Mr. Fairchild said that the sooner you can get vegetation reestablished in some of the areas it is good so that is growing while everything else in process. He shared the tremendous problem with the Ash trees dying on McCormick.
Debbie Goetz, of 1117 McCormick Road, asked that in repurposing some of the fencing, would it be possible to run fencing between the park and their property line so that guests will not go down the hill into their property. Ms. Lee said the Township can consider that. Ms. Goetz said that the Township should consider all edges and state that you have left the park property. She said that the ravine is one of her favorite places on her property and she would not like people coming from the park onto her property.
President Martin said that a decision has not been made about what to do with the house. Several people have approached the Township about purchasing and moving the house. The Township is working with solicitors on how interested parties could give us a bid. The Township will follow the protocol required to dispose of public assets. He stated that the Township will try to have the process and instructions available at the next meeting. President Martin stated that it does not mean that the Township is going to relocate it and it does not mean that we are going to restore it or take it down.
After the minutes to this meeting have been approved, the plan presented by Ms. Lee will be made available on the Upper Allen Township website.