In­put sought on open space plan

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

UP­PER POTTSGROVE » The town­ship has won recog­ni­tion and even sev­eral awards for its ef­forts to pre­serve open space and con­nect those spa­ces with trails.

In fact, the award it won most re­cently from Mont­gomery County is for ac­com­plish­ing most of the goals set up in its open space plan, funded by a .25 per­cent earned in­come tax ap­proved by vot­ers in 2006.

At the time vot­ers ap­proved the tax, only about 70 acres of town­ship land was per­ma­nently pro­tected as open space.

To­day, Up­per Pottsgrove has more than 400 acres of open space that’s per­ma­nently pro­tected — that’s an ad­di­tion of

330 acres and an in­crease of more 450 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to town­ship of­fi­cials.

So it’s time to write a new open space plan and town­ship of­fi­cials want to hear from the pub­lic be­fore they start.

There are two ways res­i­dents can help.

The town­ship is strongly urg­ing res­i­dents to par­tic­i­pate in pub­lic work­shop on the fu­ture of parks and open space in the town­ship.

It will be held Thurs­day, Sept. 27, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Up­per Pottsgrove Town­ship Mu­nic­i­pal Build­ing be­neath the fire­house at 1409 Farm­ing­ton Ave.

Also, or in ad­di­tion to, res­i­dents can par­tic­i­pate in an on­line sur­vey posted by the town­ship to get more in­put from res­i­dents on fu­ture parks, trails and open space.

It is avail­able at sur­veymon­key.com/r/Up­perPotts­grovePark­sSur­vey or through the town­ship web­site, http://up­town­ship.org/

Help­ing to get that new open space plan writ­ten, and the grants to help pay for it, will be Michael Lane, the re­gional recre­ation di­rec­tor em­ployed through the Pottstown Met­ro­pol­i­tan Re­gional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

State fund­ing for that po­si­tion has ex­pired but the Pottstown Area Health and Well­ness Foun­da­tion has stepped into the breach, of­fer­ing half the fund­ing nec­es­sary and Lane has been mak­ing the rounds to the eight mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that are part of the com­mis­sion to get them to re-au­tho­rize fund­ing for an­other five years.

On Sept. 17, town­ship com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously ap­proved a five-year agree­ment to once again sup­port the re­gional recre­ation di­rec­tor pro­gram.

In other open space news, Den­nis El­liott, chair­man of the open space com­mit­tee, said he is seek­ing fund­ing for a $30,000 vet­er­ans me­mo­rial.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

The 17-acre Alt­house open space com­pleted the Spro­gel’s Run Trail by con­nect­ing two other larger por­tions of town­ship open space, as well as host­ing nu­mer­ous smaller trails.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Amidst lots of leaves, com­mu­nity vol­un­teers help plant trees and shrubs along an Up­per Pottsgrove trail and open space area.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Peo­ple par­tic­i­pate in a pre­vi­ous 5K trail run in Up­per Pottsgrove as part of a cel­e­bra­tion and grand open­ing for Alt­house Ar­bore­tum, the cen­ter­piece of the town­ship’s open space ef­forts.

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