Chesco doubles open space acreage preserved in 2017

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Portions of the former Strawbridge estate near the Maryland border were preserved as protected open space in Chester County last year. Photo courtesy: Chester County Department of Open Space Preservation .

The Chester County Commissioners announced that an estimated 4,240 acres of open space were protected during 2017—more than double the amount preserved the previous year.

“We are pleased to announce that the county continued to preserve open space in 2017,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline. “This is one of the largest annual increases in open space since 2009.”

Overall, a total of 136,020 acres of protected open space, or 28 percent of the county, was preserved as of December 31, 2017, according to the county’s Protected Open Space Tracking (POST) system, a web-based database and mapping program.

of the key findings of the annual protected open space report was that in 2017, county-funded Agricultural Conservation Easements accounted for over 1,300 acres of protected open space. Furthermore, more than 1,000 acres were protected due to the preservation of the large Bryn Coed Estate located in West Vincent, West Pikeland, and East Pikeland townships and parts of the Strawbridge property near the Maryland border.

The state parks system expanded its holding by over 250 acres and the county park system expanded by over 210 acres with a major addition adjacent to Hibernia Park.

Open space preservation has been supported by the growth goals in the Chester County Strategic Plan and in Landscapes2, the county’s existing comprehensive plan,” noted Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. “It will continue to be a priority for Landscapes3, the county’s next long-range plan for the future.”

Since 2000, the Chester County Planning Commission has collected information summarizing the amount of open space protected in Chester County each year. This information is gathered from municipalities, land trusts, and various other state and county entities, including the Chester County Department of Open Space Preservation and the Agricultural Land Preservation Board. It is then mapped using the county’s POST system.

“We will continue to keep open space preservation at the forefront of future planning for our county,” stated Commissioner Terence Farrell. “We believe it’s important to balance this preservation with future growth.”

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