Athletic fields

Villanova residents voice concerns over deforestation of youth sports grounds

Neighbors in one neighborhood in Villanova are not happy with the Lower Merion School District’s possible plans to place several playgrounds next to their brand new college being built.

According to the school district, in December 2018, the district paid more than $ 12.9 million for properties located at 1800 W. Montgomery Avenue and 1835 County Line Road.

“We have to put sustainability at the forefront of every project and we have to think about the summer of calamities that we just went through,” said neighbor Shawn McMurtry.

The Lower Merion School District in a statement to FOX 29 said in part:

“The district is not proposing to ‘clear cut’ the land. Plans have been submitted to the township which include the replacement of trees that are to be cleared to create the playgrounds.”

Residents say they have been left out of the process completely and the district has not listened to their concerns.

“They state that they did a thorough search of the entire township and that was the only option, but most of us know that is absolutely not true,” said neighbor Andrew Abermason.

A public meeting scheduled for Thursday evening has since been postponed until further notice as some residents have taken legal action against the school district.

Abermason lives a stone’s throw from where the playgrounds can go. he says that in addition to the poor choice of location in his opinion, he believes that a tax hike will not be far behind.

“One hundred percent. There is no doubt that when they do these kinds of projects, it is only a matter of time before taxes go up and our taxes in fact, we have been in this neighborhood for 13 years our taxes have more than doubled. ” said Abermason.

The district also said it is working with the township to finalize a site and nothing has been confirmed yet. He believes the addition of playgrounds is a net positive for the community.

However, the neighbors do not agree and want it to be placed elsewhere.

“I have a 3 year old, I want him to be able to grow up near these amazing protected places. This area is literally less than a mile from the blue road, we need these trees to absorb the high level of carbon monoxide and keep our families safe, ”said neighbor Abe Haupt.

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