From a press release
For the first time in more than 30 years, Delaware County is getting a new County park. The county’s newest and largest county park will be located on the former Don Guanella site in Marple Township. The 213 acre park will be focused on the woodlands that now serve as one of the county’s largest forests.
Public input is a cornerstone of the project and will guide key elements of the plan. Delaware County is seeking fifteen community leaders to join the new Master Plan Advisory Committee for the former Don Guanella property. The new committee is part of a public planning process that began earlier this year in order to engage the public in the planning process for the conservation and public use of the 213-acre property.
The committee will meet an estimated six to eight times with the consulting team and key stakeholders from Delaware County through March 2023. Members will provide information, ideas, and perspectives to help develop a plan for the new park. The master plan, to be completed in the Spring of 2023, will be the guiding document that identifies long-term conservation, woodland protection, infrastructure, and recreation improvements for the future county park
“We are thrilled to begin planning work on the former Don Guanella site and we’d like to hear the community’s vision for what our newest and largest County park and forest could be,” said Elaine Schaefer, county Council vice-chair and liaison to the County’s Parks and Recreation Department. “The property is already a cherished regional destination for many residents and we are excited to think big and expand opportunities for park users that are inclusive and forward-thinking. We want people of all ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds to feel welcome in our parks. That starts with hearing from the public.”
The future park consists of 213 acres and is home to woodlands, wetlands, grassland, and many wildlife species. The creation of a park on the Don Guanella tract is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create an open and accessible public space that will provide immediate and ongoing economic, environmental and quality of life benefits to Delaware County.
In June 2021, the County announced its intention to acquire the 213-acre Don Guanella parcel after its development into housing and institutional use was unanimously rejected by the Marple Township Board of Commissioners and opposed by the planning commission. In March 2022, Delaware County Council approved and funded a proposal to create a plan to transform the property into the largest public park in the county.
Members of the public will also have a chance to share their input and opinion through surveys, public meetings, and events even if they are not serving on the advisory board. More information regarding ways to participate will be posted on the county’s website.