NEW GARDEN — Defined by a landscape of inescapable and indescribable beauty, a place home to the White Clay, robust industry, innovative enterprise and lush farmland, New Garden Township is working to create a new community park at St. Anthony’s on the Hills.

In one of the largest acquisitions ever, New Garden supervisors in December 2018 approved funding for the purchase of the St. Anthony in the Hills 137-acre property at a price of $1.5 million.

Township Manager Ramsey Reiner said 660 people responded to an opinion survey on the future of St. Anthony’s on the Hills.

Reiner said that the survey results show that folks most supported adding for public usage either an amphitheater, a pool or a miniature golf course.

“I’m curious to see what the general consensus was,” Reiner said. “Those were the big-ticket items.”

People also listed soccer fields as important additions for New Garden to consider.

During the months since the survey was open to the public, the Chester County Planning Commission encouraged folks to voice their opinions for the future of St. Anthony's in the Hills in New Garden Township.

There is a miniature golf course, swimming pool, large amphitheater, many picnic pavilions, and other amenities throughout the property in disrepair on site. Their renovation will require significant investment to rehabilitate for public use, New Garden supervisors said in a public announcement encouraging people to take part in the survey which launched in April and recently closed.

New Garden has hired a team of consultants to review the St. Anthony’s in the Hills landscape, provide recommendations regarding the feasibility of rehabilitation of key features, and develop a master plan for the property as a public park.

Reiner said that the master plan for the park likely shall be done in 2021, however, she foresees the public gaining an opportunity to visit St. Anthony's in the Hills for a special community event either in the spring by the summer.

“I’m hoping it’s sooner than that,” Reiner said.

Earth Day is April 22.

The 137-acre property on Limestone Road is the site of the former St. Anthony’s in the Hills parish day camp.

More than 100 people visited the park on Sept. 23 during a special open house event to shine light on the historic property now owned by New Garden, Reiner said.

Many people were visiting the location for the first time, while equally many others came who had their own St. Anthony’s on the Hills story to share, she added.

“It was really interesting,” Reiner said.

There are two houses on the property with tenets, which is why the land remains closed to the public currently.

New Garden plans to release the full results gained from the opinion survey in November.

For more, visit: https://www.newgarden.org/about-new-garden/pages/st-anthonys-hills.

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