De­vel­oper to host fo­rum on fu­ture of Don Guanella site

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Tustin ktustin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Kev­inTustin on Twit­ter

MARPLE » A pre-sched­uled meet­ing on Mon­day night to present de­vel­op­ment plans for the Don Guanella Vil­lage site has been moved to an­other venue and an­other time.

Car­lino Com­mer­cial De­vel­op­ment will meet with the pub­lic on May 21 as an­nounced, but the open house it’s host­ing will now be at Car­di­nal O’Hara High School start­ing at 6 p.m. Car­lino is look­ing to de­velop the 38 acres of the orig­i­nal Don Guanella site, plus 9 more acres, for a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment.

Marple New­town High School was orig­i­nally slated to host until the change was an­nounced this week.

“We had been calling Marple New­town High School for two weeks to look at the room they wanted to put us in and talk to them about their au­dio/vis­ual ca­pac­ity and no one ever called us back,” said Car­lino Prin­ci­ple Peter Miller Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. “We thought it would be bet­ter to move to a place that is large enough to han­dle the crowds and in a timely fash­ion.”

Of­fi­cials from the school could not be reached for com­ment late Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

“They know they’re go­ing to have a hos­tile crowd so they want to have a min­i­mum num­ber of peo­ple there,” re­but­ted Ken Hem­phill, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the ac­tivist group Save Marple Greenspace. “They were plan­ning to do this all along to change the venue at the last minute.”

Save Marple Greenspace has been fight­ing to keep the whole of the over 200-acre tract of land Don Guanella is on, which is owned by the Arch­dio­cese of Philadel­phia, from de­vel­op­ment.

Miller re­sponded by say­ing it was an ab­surd claim.

“We’re ex­cited about this story and proud of it, we re­ally are, and we want to tell it di­rectly to the peo­ple,” he said. Fly­ers were sent to 7,000 house­holds to in­vite peo­ple to the open house.

Miller and a team of con­sul­tants will be on hand to give specifics about many facts on the de­vel­op­ment plan. Ap­prox­i­mately 380,000-square feet of re­tail space are slated for the site in­clud­ing a fourstory self-stor­age fa­cil­ity and a four-story se­nior liv­ing build­ing on a to­tal of 47 acres.

A big­ger de­vel­op­ment was pre­vi­ously proposed by Good­man Prop­er­ties but was nixed in 2016.

“We had been calling Marple New­town High School for two weeks to look at the room they wanted to put us in and talk to them about their au­dio/vis­ual ca­pac­ity and no one ever called us back. We thought it would be bet­ter to move to a place that is large enough to han­dle the crowds and in a timely fash­ion.” — Car­lino Com­mer­cial De­vel­op­ment Prin­ci­ple Peter Miller

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

The for­mer Don Guanella School on Sproul Road in Spring­field.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

A for­mer foot­ball field in the 200-acre Don Guanella Vil­lage was over­come with growth as the two field goal posts dis­in­te­grated and the prop­erty fell into ne­glect.

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