KENNETT TOWNSHIP—Kennett Township officials have bought another large piece of open space as part of its ongoing effort to preserve its natural resources and bucolic charm.

Earlier this year, Kennett Township officials said they would place a priority on acquiring open space , which reduces the amount of development that is possible in future year.

Township Manager Lisa Moore announced the purchase of the 103-acre Spar Hill property at the board of supervisors’ meeting on Wednesday night. The property is bounded by Burnt Mill, Center Mill and Old Kennett roads, Moore said, and it abuts the 68-acre Lord Howe property also owned by the township.

Moore said the acquisition took over a year to complete. As is typical with its open-space purchases, the township kept the location of the tract confidential until the negotiations were complete, for fear of attracting other buyers.

The land will be open to the public as a passive recreation area with trails and open space. The proposed trails will connect to an adjacent property that has an open space and trail easement held by The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC).

Moore said the township worked with TLC and its own land conservation advisory committee (LCAC) to negotiate for the tract. The price was $3.2 million, with $1 million of that given to the township by the Mount Cuba Center’s Board of Managers.

Scudder Stevens, chair of the board of supervisors, congratulated everyone involved for what he called their “time-consuming and sensitive” negotiations. The acquisition was another step toward the township’s goal of preserving 30 percent of its open space, Stevens said. He added that about 20 percent was currently preserved.

Jeff Yetter, LCAC chair, thanked Stevens and pointed out that the amount of land available for preservation decreases with time.

Stevens said the purchase was well placed to fit with other existing or planned trails in the area.

Just two years ago, the township purchased land for public use and created the 45-acre Barkingfield Park on Bayard Road, which has since become popular with residents.

In addition to the Spar Hill purchase, the township helped TLC acquire a 20-acre tract off Bucktoe Hills Road to be preserved as open space. The township donated $480,000, $100,000 of which it may be able to have reimbursed through a grant. The property will have trail linkages from Marshall Bridge Road.

In other business, the supervisors heard a presentation by Leigh Altadonna, a Pennsylvania Audubon Society board member, about Audubon Pennsylvania’s Bird Town Program, which seeks to create partnerships that encourage municipalities to promote conservation and support environments that are healthy and sustainable for birds and people alike.

The program, Altadonna said, seeks to promote a way of thinking in which everyone is a potential steward of nature in his or her own backyard.

The township’s community-based land stewardship program, which promotes sustainable land-management practices, was a logical match for the Bird Town concept, Altadonna said.

Altadonna was accompanied by Rachel Roberts, TLC’s interim executive director. Altadonna said TLC’s mission harmonized with the Bird Town idea as well.

Roberts said one advantage of birding from the perspective of an environmental advocate was that it was accessible to everyone, and was a fun way for young people to discover the natural world.

The large numbers of birders in the country meant that birding was a way to promote tourism in the area, according to Michael Guttman, director of the township’s office of sustainable development.

Whitney Hoffman, the vice chair of the board of supervisors, recommended that the board get an application to participate in the Bird Town program, and the board voted unanimously to do so.

The supervisors also approved resolutions authorizing applications for grants to fund the Five Points roundabout and a railroad crossing.

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