To The Editor,
The possible closure of The Barn at Spring Brook Farm has been portrayed in social media and The Kennett Paper as a situation of “The Good Guys vs. the Bad Guys.” This is unfair to the community of Pocopson Township, the Township Supervisors, and is not true. The conversation should instead focus on “Good Neighbors: A Community Effort”.
I am a big fan of The Barn at Spring Brook Farm. My 5th Grade Girl Scout Troop performed a year-long service project there, and Mary Beth Drobish was very accommodating, allowing the girls to groom the animals and use the facility for our meetings.
I am also a Pocopson Township resident; I have served on the Parks & Recreation Township Committee for several years; and I am a big fan of the Supervisors ensuring that our residents are able to enjoy their properties, without undue compromise.
The issue at hand is not about one disgruntled neighbor vs. Spring Brook Farm and the children it serves, or about the Supervisors asking for improvements to bring the facility up to code. The issue is about the larger community; it is about upholding the rights of township residents and property owners, while ensuring that The Barn is safe and compliant in its zoning as an “Educational Use” facility for the community served by The Barn. The Supervisors are doing their job; they are upholding zoning ordinances, and they granted The Barn a 3 1/2 month extension to complete the improvements. That doesn’t sound like “The Bad Guys” to me.
While fundraising is always a challenge for non-profits, the cost of the needed improvements and stipulation of one onsite fundraiser per year don’t signal a death knell. There are numerous alternatives: online crowd funding, silent auctions, corporate sponsorships, offsite events in tandem with other organizations, etc. Surely Dan Stark, who is the Executive Director of the Barn and Principal of his non-profit consulting firm, thinknext http://www.tnextsolutions.com, has proven ideas regarding sustainable revenue streams after 25 years in the non-profit sector.
And while not everyone agrees with the “No Birthday Parties” stipulation and may find that unreasonable, I challenge you to imagine your home next to Spring Brook Farm, with its ever-increasing traffic (full-size school buses, too!) due to additional guests arriving for events throughout the year.
It is time to talk like a community, to stop pointing fingers at the Supervisors and the neighbor, and to face facts: The Barn has been out of code for several years; a firetruck could not even make the turn into the driveway. The Barn is not doing their job; they are jeopardizing the safety of all who utilize the facility and property, and as of May 12, they have not complied with any of the fire and safety code improvements. That doesn’t sound like the “Good Guys” to me.
I realize this may be difficult for some who find it easier to lay blame rather than engage in a real conversation, but I do believe that this situation can be about “Good Neighbors: A Community Effort.” Everyone needs to try.
Lawrie Graves Bolger