Sappey announces $1.5M DCNR grant for open space preservation at Embreeville site

CHESTER, Oct. 8 – State Rep. Christina Sappey, D-Chester, today announced that a $1.5 million Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 2020 Community Conservation Partnerships Program grant has been approved to acquire approximately 163 acres to help establish a public park at the location of the former Embreeville State School and Hospital.

“I am thrilled that this grant has been approved. We have been working on this for a very long time and this is the best possible outcome,” Sappey said. “West Bradford Township and its residents should be commended for their commitment to open space. It’s because of their proactive stance that a large-scale development that would have changed the region forever was prevented.”

Embreeville Redevelopment LP purchased the site from the commonwealth in 2013 and planned to transform the 16-building hospital site into a 1,000-home housing complex and shopping center, which residents strongly opposed. After reaching an agreement with West Bradford Township last year, a total of more than 200 acres will be converted into open space for active and passive recreation. Plans for the space include walking trails, improved ball fields and municipal services space.

The agreement included a $22.5 million payment from West Bradford to the Embreeville Redevelopment LP. This amount was obtained through a combination of this DCNR grant and locally supported township and county open space funds. In addition to the 200 acres of open space, the settlement provided for the real estate developer to cover the estimated $13 million cost for demolishing the old hospital site; removing asbestos, mold, and possible soil contamination; and seeding and regrading the soil for future use.

The DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program is funded with state and federal sources, including the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, which includes Key-Community and Key-Land Trust; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund; Pennsylvania Trails Fund; Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program; and the ATV Restricted Management Account Fund.

For more information, reach out to Sappey’s district office at (484) 200-8264.