Since 2009, my former State Representative Office and since my retirement, my office and I have worked diligently to:
- Defeat a developer’s proposal to develop the 35 acre open space property located on south Springfield Road adjacent to the Little Flower Manor complex.
- Defeat a 4.5 million Pa. Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP) grant application recently approved by Governor Rendell. The funding would not only provide assistance to the developer but reimburse the entities involved up to the $4.5 million if all state guide lines were met.
- Convince the new Governor Corbett not approve funding for the project.
- Begin the complex process of garnering enough funding to purchase the open space property that extends along South Springfield Road to Penn Pines Park and the Darby Creek.
- Negotiate with the Sister of Devine Providence to purchase the property.
- Convince Delaware County Council to assist in the funding to purchase the property by providing portions of the State’s Shale funding allocation.
- Convince Delaware County Planning, Upper Darby and Darby Borough government entities to approve the proposed subdivision of the property.
Please see below for more details on my office’s success.
Late last year the Sisters of the Devine Redeemer made it known that the 35 Acre property located on South Springfield Road in Darby Borough and Upper Darby Township and adjacent to Little Flower Manor was for sale.
In 2009 Governor Rendell approved a $9 million Dollar Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP) (4.5 Million for local development and a $4.5 Million State Match) grant application submitted by Darby Borough to construct a shopping center on the 35 acre open space property on south Springfield Road adjacent to Little Flower Manor. The property is owned by the Sisters of Devine Providence with its Mother house located outside of Pittsburg. The new construction proposal included big box commercial buildings and other unwanted use of the property.
Two (2) Town Meetings
In order to inform the residents and mobilize opposition against the proposed development my office conducted town meetings at the Aldan Elementary School. At the meetings, I promised the residents that my office would be dedicated to defeat the proposal and keep the property as open spaces. A petition that I eventually submitted to Governor Corbett was gathered. I met and urged the Governor not to approve funding for the project. Governor Corbett agreed not to fund the grant application.
Efforts to Purchase the 35 Acre Property
After, the Governor agreed not to fund the grant application, my office then began the process of garnering funding sources to have Delaware County purchase the property. I personally contacted Peter Williamson, Vice President of Conservation Services with Natural Land Title (NLT), and a non-profit land conservation organization, to lend his expertise to my plan.
In the meantime Upper Darby Township Major Tom Micozzie, Delaware Councilman Mario Civera visited the owners of the property at their Mother House of the nuns during a business trip to Pittsburg. At lunch I explained that my plan was to purchase the property and that my office and Delaware County Council were interested in keeping the property as open space. We informed the nuns that jointly we were committed to do all that was necessary to purchase the property at a fair and mutually acceptable purchase price. After months of discussions, the nuns with the approval from Rome agreed to sell the County the property to the County and an Agreement of Sale was executed.
A DCNR and CFA Funding
My office immediately submitted a grant application to the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
DCNR approved One half (1/2) of the appraised value at $2,350,000 ($1,175,000.00) for the 35 acre property. With the assistance of NLT, my office submitted another $250,000.00 grant application with the Commonwealth Finance Authority (CFA). After meetings that included the Governor’s office, CFA staff and House and Senate Leadership, CFA approved $224,000.00 of the $250,000.00 requested towards the purchase of the property. At that time, the total amount of state grants garnered through my office was $1,400,000.00.
Mayor Tom Micozzie and I Meet with County Council
After the Mayor of Upper Darby Township and I presented our request to the President of Delaware County Council President Tom McGarrigle, Council Persons John McBlain, Mario Civera, Colleen P. Morrone, and David White, the members approved funding from Delaware Counties’ Marcellus Shale allocations to assist in providing the remaining amount of $300,000.00 needed to meet sellers price of $1,700,000.00. They also approved any additional costs involved in the execution of the provisions of the Agreement of Sale. Delaware County Council then agreed to pay for all cost involved. A thank you is in order to Delaware County Councilmen to Mario Civera, John McBlain and Mayor Tom Micozzie for their involvement and leadership.
Because of the Due Diligence provisions of the Agreement of Sale document, DelCo Council has been doing all that is necessary to meet the provisions included in the Agreement of Sale. It includes physical inspections of the property, an assessment of related-environmental conditions, and a review of the title, zoning requirements, contracts, leases, and surveys, etc. as well as copies of deeds, Zoning documents, Land and improvement surveys; Current title insurance, Environmental assessments and all construction plans in the seller’s possession; etc. Delaware County approved the subdivision plans. Because part of the property is located in Upper Darby Township, Upper Darby approved the sub division plans on October 21, 2015. – A settlement date and Delco ownership is in the process of being negotiated.
Look for additional community updates on this website or for any questions on this topic call Nick Micozzie at 610-299-0577.