By Jane Ferry
President of Upper Providence for Open Space
In the early 2000s, multiple developers put forth proposals to develop areas along Ridley Creek and other open spaces in Upper Providence Township. Upper Providence for Open Space (UPOS) formed in 2001 as groups of neighbors became concerned about proposed developments in their area. One area facing numerous threats was located along Ridley Creek, a High-Quality waterway, and just above a water treatment plant that serves many in the surrounding area.
While attending numerous township meetings, UPOS members realized that even when we stopped one developer, another one would come along with a different plan. Knowing the only way to protect the green quality of the township (including woodlands, wetlands, watersheds, flora, and fauna) was to have money available to purchase properties. UPOS worked with council members to let the voters decide if they wanted to spend money to protect open space within the township. UPOS spent hours talking to residents about the upcoming vote and sent mailings explaining why saving open space was so important. The measure passed by a 2:1 margin and our effort shifted to saving properties in the township.
One was the 5.6-acre Drexeline Property. A developer was looking to squeeze four homes onto this property and UPOS was very concerned, since the creek overflows during heavy rain. With the help of a Keystone Fund grant, the township was able to work out an agreement with the owners. Generations to come will be able to enjoy nature along Ridley Creek.