Mid­dle­town mulls us­ing Gran­ite Run de­bris in park

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kath­leen E. Carey kcarey@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @dt­busi­ness on Twit­ter

Mid­dle­town Town­ship Coun­cil Mon­day night will con­sider al­low­ing fill ma­te­rial from the con­struc­tion at the Prom­e­nade at Gran­ite Run to be taken to a park un­der de­vel­op­ment to make way for trails and play­ing fields.

Mid­dle­town Town­ship Coun­cil Chair­man Mark Kirch­gasser ex­plained the gov­ern­ing body will be con­sid­er­ing al­low­ing BET In­vest­ments to move clean fill from the con­struc­tion site off Route 1 to the Smed­ley fa­cil­ity off Rose Tree Road.

“We need this soil to prop­erly level the play­ing fields that are be­ing in­stalled,” Kirch­gasser said. “It’s a 71-acre par­cel, which is in­tended by the pur­chase agree­ment that we have with the Smed­ley fam­ily to be pas­sive re­cre­ation.”

The Prom­e­nade at Gran­ite Run is a 820,000-square-foot re­tail and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment that was ap­proved in Novem­ber 2015 to re­place the Gran­ite Run Mall af­ter years of de­clin­ing pa­tron­age at the one-time shop­ping mecca. Con­struc­tion started about a year later and sites be­gan be­ing oc­cu­pied and used at such sites as the Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal of Philadel­phia Pri­mary Care. Over­see­ing the de­vel­op­ment is Hor­sham­based BET In­vest­ments.

Much of the for­mer fa­cil­ity was de­mol­ished ex­cept for two an­chor stores, Boscov’s and Sears, to make way for a town cen­ter project in­clud­ing new shops like TJ Maxx, Mar­shalls and Pan­era Bread.

It will also con­tain a 50,000-square-foot, 192-unit apart­ment com­plex con­sist­ing of stu­dio, 1- and 2-bed­room units, a club house, a fit­ness cen­ter, a lux­ury lounge and a pool deck. It will also have an Uber load­ing area and an Ama­zon stag­ing zone. It is an­tic­i­pated to be­gin leas­ing next Fe­bru­ary.

A cor­re­spond­ing five-story garage will be built for res­i­dents and Prom­e­nade shop­pers.

The ex­ist­ing AMC the­atre will be trans­formed into a Frank The­atres Cinebowl & Grill, an en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­ity fea­tur­ing a cinema with mul­ti­ple screens and lux­ury seat­ing, a bou­tique 10-pin al­ley and an ar­cade and restau­rant. Palm Beach Gar­dens, Fla.based Frank The­atres be­gan in Philadel­phia and has ex­panded to 20 the­atres with 220 screens up and down the East Coast. Among their fu­ture projects in­clude a com­plex in In­di­ana.

The ex­ist­ing Boscov’s is also ex­pected to get a $2-$3 mil­lion face lift.

On the town­ship coun­cil’s agenda for their Mon­day meet­ing is an item in which the coun­cil will con­sider an agree­ment to re­lo­cate fill ma­te­rial from Prom­e­nade at Gran­ite Run to the Smed­ley site.

Cur­rently, stormwa­ter basins are be­ing in­stalled at the par­cel. A se­ries of base­ball, soft­ball, soc­cer and lacrosse fields are planned for the up­per sec­tion of the land, while wooded trails take up the ma­jor­ity of the par­cel in the lower sec­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Kirch­gasser, this tract was an orig­i­nal land des­ig­nated from Wil­liam Penn and is some of the high­est ground in the town­ship. It was also a part of Pen­ncrest Farm.

The coun­cil­man ex­plained that the Gran­ite Run soil is needed to level the ath­letic fields. He added that it is all clean fill, al­though he did not have the amount to be trans­ferred to Smed­ley im­me­di­ately avail­able.

In ad­di­tion, he said the town­ship would be re­ceiv­ing fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion for the ma­te­ri­als. Those fig­ures were not avail­able Sat­ur­day.

Kirch­gasser said town­ship of­fi­cials hoped that the fields would be­gin planting next year with a full open­ing in 2020.

“I would ex­pect we would be seed­ing the fields this time or a lit­tle bit later next year,” he said.

Kirch­gasser said the coun­cil is try­ing to make cer­tain they are pre­serv­ing open space in a smart way that is ben­e­fi­cial to the com­mu­nity.

Some, like town­ship res­i­dent Wil­liam Evans, have reser­va­tions about the ma­te­ri­als be­ing moved to the Smed­ley par­cel at Route 352 and Rose Tree Road.

“I need to re­mind you, as our com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives,” Evans wrote in an e-mail to town­ship coun­cil, “that the Smed­ley prop­erty was pur­chased and fi­nanced by us tax­pay­ers to be a com­mu­nity park, not as a dump site so I have sev­eral ques­tions.”

The meet­ing is at 7 p.m. at the town­ship build­ing at 27 N. Pen­nell Road in Mid­dle­town.

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