Conservation Groups Fight to Save Beaver Valley From Developers

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    Historic Beaver Valley will be officially protected from future housing developments, thanks to a recent purchase by several not-for-profit conservation groups.

    Developers had been in talks about changing the zoning permit for the 240 acres of land near First State Heritage National Park for nearly five years. Their vision was to construct a 160-unit housing tract on the land just across the state line in Pennsylvania, near Wilmington and U.S. Route 202.

    Now, the Mount Cuba Center in Hockessin and the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford have joined forces to purchase the land for future preservation, along with help from the Conservation Fund based in Arlington, Virginia. Though the price of the sale was not disclosed, the conservation groups still need to acquire an additional $8 million in funds before spring 2017 to finalize the purchase.

    “This will permanently protect Beaver Valley,” said Blaine T. Phillips, Jr., senior vice president of The Conservation Fund. “No houses… I call this the half-court jump shot.”

    “Preserving Beaver Valley is a success story for the entire community,” added Delaware County Vice Chairman Colleen Morrone. “This property has been enjoyed for generations and we commend all of the partners who worked to ensure it will be enjoyed for our future generations as well.”

    The land is known for its scenic trails and woods, and for being the site of historic battles during the American Revolution under General George Washington. The conservation efforts will help preserve the space for public use.

    The township has pledged $500,000 from its open space fund, along with an additional $250,000 from the county council. Although a federal 11% tax on guns, ammo, and bows and arrows generates $371 million a year for conservation efforts, no public tax dollars will be used for the purchase or maintenance of the land.

    “The township and the county got things started with their contributions,” said Concord Supervisors Chairman Dominic A. Pileggi. “I would just hope that those who were such advocates for saving this valley will join in the passion they had in coming to our meetings.”