Tuesday, June 15, 2021


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New Hanover Supervisors Support Camp Easement
Written by Candace Perry, Correspondent

            After a first failed attempt in April by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania to convince the New Hanover Board of Supervisors to part with $800,000 in open space funds for the purchase of a conservation easement at Camp Laughing Waters, the future of the project looked unsure.

            But when Babette Racca, senior adviser for capital assets for the Girl Scouts Of Eastern Pennsylvania, returned to the supervisors regular meeting on Thursday, May 6, in-person and via Facebook Live, she had a new plan.

            Camp Laughing Waters is mostly located in New Hanover Township, with 375 acres, and in Upper Frederick, with 79 acres, and is the largest tract of undeveloped land in western Montgomery County. The Girl Scouts are looking for support for a conservation easement for two parcels of land, one off New Hanover Square Road, and the other off Fagleysville Road. The easements would allow for public use of the land outside of the confines of the camp for fishing and hiking.

            Racca came back with a new proposal that included the previously pledged $2.7 million from Montgomery County, of the approximately $3.9 million in costs. Racca's proposal included an ask of $568,965 from New Hanover without state grants, and then lowered proportionally if the Girl Scouts are successful with grants from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of Community and Economic Development for $250,000 each.

            Upper Frederick Township, however, which was initially only asked for $1,200, is going to need to pitch in much more for the proposal to work - $116,000 to be precise.

            Racca asked the supervisors if they would be willing to chip in $568,965 over three years. Supervisor Chuck Garner countered with a plan for payment of $600,000 over 10 years, since it wasn't a "cash flow issue" for the Girl Scouts. The supervisors agreed and voted to support the 10 year/$60,000 per year plan in exchange for the conservation easement, with the contingency of a prorated reduction if the Girl Scouts are successful with the state grants.

            In law enforcement news, two New Hanover police officers took the promotional oath of office from District Judge Maurice Saylor. Corporal Dekkar Dyas was promoted to sergeant, and Officer Michael Salvo to corporal. The officers' families and State Senator Bob Mensch were on hand for the proceedings.





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