Open Space – 37 Acre Property – South Springfield Road
Nick Micozzie Announces Settlement in Purchasing the Little Flower Property
Nick Micozzie announces purchase of 35 acre property on Springfield Road in Darby Borough
June 30. 2016 ceremony celebrating the purchase of a 35-acre property for open space use adjacent to Little Flower Manor in Darby Borough took place Thursday, June 30, 11 a.m., at the site on South Springfield Road. The ceremony highlights the $1.7 million sale of the property from the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer to the Natural Lands Trust, a non-profit land conservation organization, who is deeding the property over to Delaware County. (Check out the Delaware County Daily Times story here.)
The parcel, known as Darby Heights, is the site of Woodburne, a mansion designed in 1906 for the son of Col. Thomas Scott, former assistant Secretary of War under President Abraham Lincoln and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The mansion was used as a nursing home by the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, an order of Roman Catholic nuns based outside Pittsburgh, from 1958 until 2005 when the property was put up for sale.
Nick Micozzie has been working diligently with the Natural Lands Trust, state agencies and county and local officials to oppose development of the property and secure funding so the land could be purchased and maintained as open space. The property will serve as the southern trailhead of the Darby Creek Greenway, a walking trail system, and could one day include a play field and picnic area.
The parcel of land, which runs along South Springfield Road to Penn Pines Park and Darby Creek, almost became a shopping center.
In 2009, a developer came forward with an interest to buy the property and build a shopping center there. Darby Borough submitted an application for a $9 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant which Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell approved, $4.5 million for local development and an additional $4.5 million reimbursement if state guidelines were met for the project. The developer’s proposal would have included big box commercial buildings and other unwanted uses for the property.
In 2011, State Rep. Nick Micozzie hosted two town meetings at Aldan Elementary School to inform residents and to mobilize opposition against the proposed development. There was public outcry against the shopping center and a petition with hundreds of signatures protesting the development was started.
Micozzie promised his office would work to defeat the proposal and keep the property as open space. He presented the petition to Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett and urged the governor not to approve funding for the project. The governor agreed not to fund the grant application and the developer abandoned his plans for the property.
The next step was to convince the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer to sell the property to Delaware County and to find the funds to buy it.
Micozzie contacted Peter Williamson, vice president of Conservation Services with Natural Lands Trust to lend his expertise. The Natural Lands Trust agreed to conduct an $8,000 appraisal of the property and to partner with Nick Micozzie’s office to find available funding to buy the property.
Micozzie, Upper Darby Township Mayor Tom Micozzie and Delaware County Councilman Mario Civera visited the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer at their Mother House outside of Pittsburgh. Micozzie explained that his office and Delaware County Council were interested in keeping the property as open space and were committed to purchase the property. Months of discussions followed and, with approval from Rome, the nuns agreed to sell the county the property, appraised at $2.25 million, for a purchase price of $1.7 million. An Agreement of Sale was executed.
Paying for it
Micozzie’s office submitted a grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to help fund the purchase. The DCNR approved funding for $1,175,000. With the assistance of the Natural Lands Trust, Nick’s office submitted another $250,000 grant application with the Commonwealth Finance Authority (CFA).
Following meetings with Nick Micozzie, the governor’s office, CFA staff and the state House and Senate leadership, the CFA approved $224,000 of the $250,000 requested to buy the property. State grants toward purchase of the property garnered through Nick’s office now totaled $1.4 million.
County steps in
Micozzie and Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie met with Delaware County Council, seeking its help in acquiring the property. A request was made to the president of Delaware County Council, Tom McGarrigle; Councilmembers John McBlain, Mario Civera, Colleen P. Morrone and David White. County Council approved funding from Delaware Counties’ Marcellus Shale allocations for the remaining $300,000 to buy the property.
Council also approved any additional costs for an Agreement of Sale. (A thank you is in order to Delaware County Councilmen Mario Civera, John McBlain and Mayor Tom Micozzie for their involvement and leadership.)
Delaware County Council has been fulfilling the obligations laid out in the Agreement of Sale, including inspections of the property, an assessment of related environmental conditions, 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. Delaware County also submitted and received a DCNR grant of $52,000 to create a development plan.
Delaware County Planning Commission approved subdivision plans for the site. Because part of the property is located in Upper Darby Township, Upper Darby approved the subdivision plans on Oct. 21, 2015. Delaware County Council also worked with Darby Borough officials to obtain borough council approval in February 2016 for the Little Flower property subdivision, clearing the way toward settlement.
Lansdowne Borough and Lansdowne Train Station Historic Preservation
In the mid 1990s and 2000s, I worked in Lansdowne to help to revitalize the Borough through numerous projects including historic preservation projects. The projects taken together demonstrate a strategy to reinvigorate the community through taking advantage of existing assets within the Borough. With each of these projects, I was able to work with the dedicated volunteers of the Greater Lansdowne Civic Association Board of Directors and its members. With their support and dedication and extensive knowledge of Matt Schultz I, was able to take a leadership role locally and in Harrisburg in seeking approval and funding for worthwhile projects in Lansdowne.
Clifton Heights Intersection Improvement – Update April 2016
As reported, part of the Penn Dot’s $4,128,459.90 of Transportation Incentive Program (TIP) known as the Baltimore Pike Optimization Project the widening of Baltimore Pike and Springfield Road and the installation of sidewalks is in its final stage and construction as pictured above in front of and side of the Old Price property located on the Southwest Corner of Baltimore Pike and Springfield Road Intersection. The above construction also extends down the west side of South Springfield Road.
Update on The Purchase of the 37 Acre Open Space Property at South Springfield Road in Darby Borough
Since 2009 with two town meetings with area resident, my former State Representative Office, my office staff and I have worked diligently to:
- Defeat a developer’s proposal to develop the above 37 acre open space property.
- Convince Governor Corbett in 2010 not to approve funding for the project.
- Execute an Agreement of Sale for $1,700,000 with Sisters of Devine Providence.
- Garner $1,700,000 agreed to selling price needed to purchase the property.
- Convince the Natural Land Trust to pay for an $8000 appraisal of the property.
- Garner 2 State Grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DNCR) for $1,198,000 – the Commonwealth Foundation Administration (CFA) for $250,000.
- Working with Mayor Tom Micozzie, Delco Councilman Civera and McBlain to convince Delco Council to provide funding from Delco’s Shale Allocation Fund for $252,000 totaling $1,700,000 and to allocate funding to meet the agreed to Due Diligence provisions.
- The above grants and the Agreement of Sale allowed Delco County Council to submit and have approved a grant by the DNCR for an additional $52,000 for a development plan.
- Convince DelCo Planning Department and Upper Darby Township Mayor Micozzie and Council to approve the proposed subdivision of the property.
Delaware County Council is presently working with Darby Borough Officials to obtain Council approval of the Little Flower property subdivision and schedule a settlement date.
PennDOT Completes Widening and Improvement Project on Route 252 in Delaware County
After years of complaints about the conditions that existed at the intersection of 252 and Providence Road, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that it has completed physical work on the $5 million project to improve traffic flow on Route 252 (Providence Road) between Palmers Mill Road and Kirk Lane in Upper Providence Township, Delaware County. The $5,087,279 project was funded with 100% State funds; the direct result of the passage of legislation included in ACT 89 passed by the Pa. General Assembly and signed into law in late 2014.
“The improvements and upgrades to Route 252 (Providence Road) will make travel safer and help ease congestion on a section of highway that carries more than 25,000 vehicles a day,” PennDOT District Executive Kenneth M. McClain said.
Crews worked 18 months to improve Route 252 (Providence Road) by widening the roadway to five lanes at the interchange with U.S. 1; upgrading ramps at the U.S. 1 interchange; widening the intersections at Palmers Mill Road, Rose Tree Road and Kirk Lane; installing new traffic signals and sidewalks; and rehabilitating the Route 252 (Providence Road) bridge over U.S. 1.
Open Spaces Update – Glenwood Road Property
The Glenwood Road Property
Glenwood Road and Fairview Avenue
An Update – in the recent past, a developer was in the process of submitting an application for approval to Clifton Heights Borough Council and the Borough’s Zoning Board to construct a multi-unit on the vacant lot that fronts Glenwood Road at the intersection of Fairview Avenue. The residents along Glenwood Avenue and Fairview Road contacted my then State Rep. office voicing their concerns.
I personally contacted Ralph Pansini who I knew to discuss the new development proposal and to voice the concerns of the residents of the area. I convinced him to end the controversy and donate the open space property to Clifton Heights Borough. After some thought and back and forth dialogue, he and his wife decided to take my advice. They proposed and executed a transfer of property agreement to Clifton Heights Borough.
The Borough – Pansini Agreement included a provision that specified that the property remain as open space and that a plaque be placed on the property with an inscription stating that the land was donated to the Borough of Clifton Heights by the Pansini Family.
In a response to my inquiry about the execution of the provisions included in the Pansini Agreement, Mayor Joe Kelly sent me an e-mail informing me that the property adjacent to the Pansini property owned by the Borough will be used to construct the building(s) to transfer and house a Highway Garage, a Salt Shed and Supplies. The Pansini Property, per EPA regulations and mandates, will be used as a water retention basin and remain as open space.
Note: After meeting with residents along Glenwood Avenue and more discussions with Mayor Kelly, jointly we uncovered that the Manager, Anthony Tartaglia’s plans does include construction of a garage on the Pasini property towards the former basketball site.The rest of the property is to be used to meet EPA’s mandated water retention provisions.
As you may or may not be aware, with part of the $2.3 Million Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RCAP) grant that my State Representative Office provided in 2008, the Borough will be renovating the Borough Hall and constructing the Glenwood Road facility mentioned above. The $2.3 million grant funds are being used and will be used in the near future on properties owned by Clifton Heights Borough and the Clifton Heights Community and Economic Development Corp., respectively. I will provide more information as the proposals develop.
Micozzie Announces the Purchase of the 35 Acre Property on Springfield Road in Darby Borough
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.
Providence Road Scheduled to Close Weekdays in Upper Darby – Yeadon Storm Sewer Replacement
Providence Road Scheduled to Close Weekdays in Upper Darby – Yeadon Storm Sewer Replacement
The Department of Transportation announced that Providence Road is schedule to close between Lansdowne Avenue and Springfield Road in on Monday, October 12, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, for storm sewer replacement, The Department also announced that the weekday road closure will be in effect through the end of October.
During this operation, Providence Road through traffic will be detoured over Lansdowne Avenue, Baltimore Pike and Springfield Road. Local access will be maintained up to the construction zone.
Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the area. The schedule is contingent on the weather.
Roadway Improvement Project Update – September 2015
Although there has been a great deal of inconveniences with all of the detours, the projects that are being implemented throughout Pennsylvania have been delayed over at least the last 15 years because of the lack of funding at the state level.
In October of 2014, former State Representative Nick Micozzie was appointed the Majority Chairman of the Pa. House of Representative transportation Committee. He joined State Senator John Rafferty of Pittsburg and Secretary of Transportation Barry Schook with the sole purpose of enacting a much needed dedicated funding source to fix the states deteriorating infra structure that included bridges, roads, as well as initiate long overdue needed road projects. Nick’s amended funding legislation was signed and enacted into law by former Governor Tom Corbett.
As the Majority Chairman, Nick made sure that Delaware County Pa. Dot and Septa projects were a priority; thus the projects being implemented throughout Delaware County – Septa Trestle over Darby Creek between Clifton Heights and Lansdowne, the work being done at 252, 352, I 476, etc.
Here is an update on the roadway improvement project for Clifton Heights and surrounding area in Delaware County.
The following is a three Week schedule Starting Week September 7th 2015 & the schedule for next few months work. Of course, there will be delays but here is what Pa. Dot has announced.
Week of September 7th:
Tuesday: Signal cables at Bishop Ave will be pulled and pedestrian PB pipe poles will be installed. The mast pole foundation at Home Depot driveway will begin and pole foundations at Springfield & Woodlawn will continue.
Wednesday: The footer at Home Depot will be poured and signal cable at Oak Lane will be pulled. We also should complete Underground conduits & JB’s at Church Stshould be completed. Work also will continue at Woodlawn.
Thursday September 10th: Road construction at Baltimore Pike & Springfield Rd will begin. Mast Poles will be installed and final connections at Bishop will begin. Work will continue at Woodlawn and the signal cable at Oak will be pulled.
Friday: Continued work at Springfield Rd. Completing final connections at Bishop. If all goes well new pavement markings will be added and an active new traffic pattern for southbound Bishop and also eastbound Baltimore Pikeshould be in place, if not then it will by Monday.
Week of September 14th & 21st:
Road construction will continue at Springfield Rd. New traffic signal conduit & pole foundation installation will start. Curb work will begin as well as work on new signals at Oak, Church St, Broadway & Woodlawn. Underground installation at Delmar/Home Depot will begin.
Once curb work on north side Baltimore & Springfield Rd is completed the work on ADA ramps at Broadway, Madison and at Woodlawn should begin.
Hopefully the completion of the north side of Baltimore Ave & Springfield will be by the end of September and then traffic pattern changes to move to south side, with the goal of having completed all work by end of October.
If all goes well traffic signal installation will continue going east from Springfield Rd.
As of now not all controllers are scheduled for installation, only at Bishop and also Delmar/Home Depot. The controllers for Oak, Church, Springfield, Broadway, Madison and also Woodlawn have been released, but with no scheduled delivery date. There is not yet a schedule for all poles to complete all the above intersections but should get most completed, with second release should be arriving in November.
The much needed traffic lights at Madison Avenue and South Springfield Road, turn signals at Oak Avenue and Baltimore Pike will be installed. There will be widening at the Lansdowne Avenue and Baltimore Pike intersection as well the installation of left hand turn signals.
About Nick Micozzie
"Everybody knows somebody Nick has helped..."
Recently retired after 44 years as a Pennsylvania State Representative of the 163rd Legislative District and as an Upper Darby Councilman, respectively, after working in the private sector at the General Electric Missile and Space Department in Philadelphia as Electronic Computer Specialist along with a Business Degree from St. Joseph University...not to mention his four years of service in the U.S. Military where he was a Staff Sargeant, supervisor of radar maintenance group and eventually taught basic electronic and radar technology.
Nick continues to be a community advocate and wants to share his opinions and lend support on how we can all work together for the betterment of our communities through this website, blog and social media. Nick Micozzie is President of the Clifton Heights Community and Economic Development Corporation (CHCEDC) as well as a Past Grand Knight of the De La Salle Knights of Columbus Council # 590 and serves also as the President of the De La Salle Home Association.
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