Community/se­nior cen­ter a step closer to re­al­ity

The Advance of Bucks County - - YARDLEY-MORRISVILLE AREA - By D.E. Sch­lat­ter

LOWER MAKEFIELD - The build­ing of a long-awaited town­ship community cen­ter, which will be also be used by se­nior cit­i­zens, is one step closer to re­al­ity.

At the Sept. 19 meet­ing, the /RweU 0Dke­fieOd 6uSeUvLVRUV, LQ D 4-0 vRWe, DSSURved EuLOdLQJ WKe pro­posed fa­cil­ity on the Samost tract lo­cated near the in­ter­sec­tion of Ox­ford Val­ley and Edge­wood roads.

The par­tially-wooded 25-acre town­ship-owned site cur­rently KRuVeV VeveUDO VRIWEDOO DQd EDVeEDOO fieOdV, DV weOO DV D wDWeU WRwer. It sits across the road from the mu­nic­i­pal build­ing, li­brary and pool.

“The Samost tract is the best way to go,” said chair­man Pete 6WDLQWKRUSe EeIRUe WKe vRWe. “,W’V the tract that makes the most sense.”

Vice-chair­man Daniel McLaugh­lin agreed, ex­plain­ing that he changed his mind from con­sid­er­ing the 2.87-acre Vet­er­ans Square site on Edge­wood Road near Mir­ror Lake Road as the best choice.

“,I WKeUe’V JRLQJ WR Ee FKLOdUeQ and se­niors us­ing the cen­ter then the Vet­er­ans Square site is not the best,” McLaugh­lin noted, cit­ing WKe KeDvLeU WUDI­fiF LQ WKDW DUeD.

But Stainthorpe told the meet­ing, which was packed with supSRUWLve VeQLRU FLWL]eQV, WKDW WKe VuSeUvLVRUV weUe RQOy FRQVLdeULQJ the site se­lec­tion, not the ac­tu­ally build­ing de­sign and the num­ber of park­ing spa­ces needed.

“7Key’OO Ee SOeQWy RI RSSRUWu­nity for com­ment on that as this WKLQJ PRveV DORQJ,’ Ke VDLd.

$IWeU WKe uQDQLPRuV vRWe, PRVW of the se­niors at­tend­ing the twohour meet­ing ap­plauded the de­ci­sion to build the cen­ter at Sa- most. The site is near where the VeveUDO-KuQdUed PePEeU /RweU 0Dke­fieOd 6eQLRUV JURuS FuUUeQWOy PeeWV DW WKe WRwQVKLS EuLOdLQJ’V board room on Edge­wood Road.

“6eQLRUV DUe uQdeU VeUved LQ WKLV community,” Stainthorpe noted, “The town­ship build­ing is in­ad­e­quate [for them].”

6eveUDO RI WKe VuSeUvLVRUV DOVR pointed out that the town­ship spends re­cre­ation funds for soft­EDOO DQd VRFFeU fieOdV uVed PRVWOy by the younger res­i­dents.

“We KDve PRQey DQd VRPe RI the money should go to se­niors,” 0F/DuJKOLQ VDLd. “We’Ue JRLQJ to do a bet­ter job al­lo­cat­ing that money.”

Af­ter years of putting off buildLQJ WKe RIWeQ-WLPeV FRQWURveUVLDO fa­cil­ity, the town­ship de­cided to pro­ceed with the project af­ter 6WDWe 5eS. 6Weve 6DQWDVLeUR (D31) ac­quired a $1-mil­lion state re­de­veORSPeQW JUDQW ODVW yeDU.

Un­der the terms of the grant, /RweU 0Dke­fieOd LV UeTuLUed to put up at least $1-mil­lion in match­ing funds to build the cen­ter wLWKLQ WKe Qe[W five yeDUV.

“We want to get the most bang for our buck,” Stainthorpe said. “WKeQ yRu’Ue ORRkLQJ DW D EuLOd­ing like this it sounds like a lot of PRQey, EuW LW’V QRW.”

Ac­cord­ing to Stainthorpe, the community/se­nior cen­ter can be built with­out rais­ing taxes.

/DVW yeDU, WKe VuSeUvLVRUV DS­pointed a spe­cial site-se­lec­tion com­mit­tee to look at a num­ber of pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions on town­shipowned land.

The com­mit­tee in­cluded town­ship man­ager Terry Fe­dor­chak, for­mer town­ship en­gi­neer James 0DMewVkL, DV weOO DV five RWKeU PePEeUV UeSUeVeQWLQJ VeveUDO town­ship com­mit­tees, such as the plan­ning com­mis­sion and parks and re­cre­ation board.

2veU WKe ODVW VeveQ PRQWKV, WKe JURuS PeeW VeveUDO WLPeV. ,W deFLded WR wRUk wLWK five VSeFL­fiF ]RQLQJ UeTuLUePeQWV, VuFK DV D PLQLPuP five-DFUe ORW VL]e, RQe SDUkLQJ VSDFe IRU eveUy WKUee VeDWV SURvLded DQd WKe SURSRVed build­ing had to be 300 foot wide with a 100 foot set­back. The cenWeU wRuOd DOVR KDve WR Ee D SeUPLWted use on the land.

,Q FRQVLdeULQJ WKe vDULRuV ORFD­tions, the site-se­lec­tion com­mit­tee used a tem­plate of a build­ing roughly 10,160 square feet with at least 63 park­ing spa­ces.

HRw­eveU, WRwQVKLS RI­fiFLDOV now in­di­cate that fund­ing lim­i­ta­tions will most likely re­strict the planned fa­cil­ity to no larger than 7,000 square feet.

7Ke vROuQWeeU FRPPLWWee ORRked DW 13 SRWeQWLDO VLWeV, LQFOudLQJ )Lve 0LOe WRRdV, 0DFFOeV­fieOd 3DUk DQd Qe[W WR WKe YDUdOey-0Dke­fieOd Branch of the Bucks County Free Li­brary near the town­ship build­ing. Most of those lo­ca­tions were deemed “un­suit­able.”

In Fe­bru­ary, the com­mit­tee chose four sites, but could not reach a con­sen­sus on which one should top the list.

Be­sides the Samost Tract, the fiQDO FKRLFeV weUe: WKe EDUQ DUeD on the 216-acre Pat­ter­son Farm on Mir­ror Lake Road, the 34-acre Snipes par­cel at Quarry and Dol­ing­ton roads and Vet­er­ans Square Park in Edge­wood Vil­lage.

8VLQJ WKe FRPPLWWee’V UeFRP­men­da­tions as a guide, the town­ship com­mis­sioned its con­sultLQJ eQJLQeeULQJ fiUP, BRuFKeU & James, Inc., in Doylestown to come up with its own rec­om­mended lo­ca­tions.

7Ke fiUP’V -udLWK GROdVWeLQ made a pre­sen­ta­tion at Wed­nes­day QLJKW’V VuSeUvLVRUV’ PeeWLQJ RuWlin­ing the pros and cons of each of the four sites. She con­cluded that Samost was the best choice be­cause of its cen­tral lo­ca­tion and prox­im­ity to the town­ship com­plex.

$FFRUdLQJ WR GROdVWeLQ, uWLOLWy and sewer hookups for a build­ing there would also be eas­ier, DOWKRuJK VeveUDO ]RQLQJ vDULDQFeV would be re­quired and the facilLWy’V FORVeQeVV WR UeVLdeQFeV PLJKW spark some op­po­si­tion.

Dur­ing the pub­lic com­ment peULRd, VeveUDO DUeD KRPeRwQeUV dLd

did ex­press con­cerns over what they Vay iV a Sark­ing and traf­fic Srob­lemV aVVo­ci­ated with the ball fieldV at the Vite, eVSe­cially when there are Voft­ball tour­na­mentV VSonVored by the nonSrofit Pen­nVbury Ath­letic AVVo­ci­a­tion.

But long-time townVhiS reVi­dent Vir­ginia Tor­bert of Yardley-New­town Road com­mended the VuServiVorV for itV de­ciVion deVSite the oSSoVi­tion.

“, VymSathize with the neigh­borV,” Vhe Vaid. “But , think it’V un­re­al­iVtic to exSect that be­cauVe you live in the townVhiS there iV go­ing to be no more change.”

Other reVi­dentV com­mented on whether it’V a good idea for a community cen­ter to be couSled with a mu­ni­ciSal Sark.

“Some of the beVt SarkV ,’ve been to [in thiV coun­try] had a commu- nity cen­ter alongVide,” Slan­ner Ju­dith GoldVtein reVSonded.

AV far aV the to­tal coVt of the Sro­ject, Zachary Rubin of Cov­ing­ton Road queV­tioned whether the townVhiS’V $1-mil­lion match­ing con­tri­bu­tion iV enough money to build an ad­e­quate­lyVized cen­ter.

“There Vhould be a needV-aVVeVV­ment and coVt-ben­e­fit ana­lyViV, Rubin ad­viVed. “You Vhould not be lim­ited to VSend­ing $1 mil­lion.”

Be­cauVe of the cur­rently low in­ter­est rates, he sug­gested that the townVhiS look at iVVu­ing bondV to Say for a more exSanded cen­ter.

“,f you’re go­ing to build a cen­ter do it right,” Rubin Vaid. “There’V money out there.”

Mean­while, SuServiVor Jef­frey Benedetto waV un­able to at­tend the meet­ing.

,n hiV abVence, Dr. He­len Heinz of the townVhiS hiV­tor­i­cal com­miVVion Sublicly read a Vtate­ment from Benedetto, in which he crit­i­cized the VuServi­sors for deny­ing his re­quest to postSone conVider­a­tion of the community cen­ter un­til he could at­tend.

Benedetto, who wrote that he fa­vored ei­ther the Vet­er­ans Square or SniSeV ViteV, imSlied that the VuServiVorV’ de­nial of hiV re­queVt to de­lay the iVVue waV “So­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.”

Chair­man StainthorSe diVa­greed, Vay­ing that the Vite Velec­tion Sro­ceVV waV “be­ing done tranVSar­ently,” but de­clined fur­ther com­ment be­cauVe Benedetto waV not there.

More Sublic hear­ingV are Slanned in­volv­ing the build­ing’V deVign and Sark­ing VSaceV.

Fi­nal SlanV and zon­ing vari­ance re­queVtV alVo will have to be conVidered by the townVhiS Slan­ning com­miVVion and zon­ing hear­ing board aV well.

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