East Vincent Township received an $800,000 Keystone Fund grant to support its acquisition of a 36.5 acre parcel of the former Reiff Farm, which will be used as a township park and natural open space area. A conservation easement, co-held by the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, will protect the site from future development. Chester County and East Vincent Township provided additional money in matching funds for the $1.4 million acquisition of the township park parcel.
Located in the French Creek Watershed, the entire 154-acre Reiff Farm parcel includes two first-order tributaries to French Creek, which is labelled an “exceptional value” waterway. The property had been purchased by a local developer in 2002 and was slated for the development into 72 single family homes. East Vincent Township, recognized in the region as a leader in land preservation, worked extensively with the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, the Green Valleys Association, Concerned Citizens of East Vincent Township, and the David Cutler Group to achieve a site plan for environmentally sensitive growth that protects greenway corridors and the quality of the natural resources on the site. The final plan, which allows for six larger farmette developments, also calls for the transfer of 50 development rights to East Vincent’s designated Growth Zone, where infrastructure is in place and the Cutler Group can proceed with more dense development.
The new park is central to East Vincent Township and will provide extensive outdoor recreation facilities, including trails that will connect to the adjacent Vincent Elementary School and other parts of the township. The large natural area will afford residents and visitors the chance to study wildlife habitats and stream ecosystems, while offering opportunities for activities like hiking and fishing.
“I am elated that this acquisition went through,” said Walt Zaremba, vice chairman of the East Vincent Board of Supervisors. “It’s a great move for East Vincent residents, but more importantly, for generations to come. It is wonderful to see so many people and so many agencies come together with such vision and long-term benefit for all concerned.”