Overview of Whitpain Open Space and Trails Initiatives

WRO leadership and members have been deeply involved in open space and trails initiatives in Whitpain Township. The following brief overview highlights the major steps in the ongoing process to improve the walkability and quality of life in Whitpain.

 
Open Space Preservation Plan

The Whitpain Township Board of Supervisors adopted the Open Space Preservation Plan 2005 Update in October 2006.  This updated the Township’s 1995 Open Space Preservation Plan, as required by the Montgomery County Green Fields/Green Towns Open Space Task Force, and enabled the Township to bid for an allocation of Montgomery County open space funds. The Open Space Plan provided an audit of Township open space properties, and made recommendations for priorities regarding the acquisition and preservation of open space in the Township. 
 
The plan also provided guidance for enhancing trails in Whitpain: “The existing and proposed trail system will connect Whitpain open space areas, link local trails to regional trails, provide access along scenic roads, and enhance the overall walkability of the Township. To support this effort, an advocacy committee should be formed to promote trail partnerships, alternative funding sources, and volunteer opportunities.”
 
Timeline

07/07/2004:
First meeting of the Whitpain Township Open Space Preservation Plan Committee.  WRO members involved included Susan Mudambi and Fred Connor.

 

07/13/2006:
Final meeting of the Whitpain Township Open Space Preservation Plan Committee.

 

10/2006:
Whitpain Township Board of Supervisors adopted the Open Space Preservation Plan.

 

12/2006:          
Montgomery County approved Open Space funding allocation to Whitpain of $1.7 million.

 

01/2007:          
Whitpain Township approved $1.3 million of the Township open space allocation for the purchase of the Briar Hill 33.5 acre parcel, in conjunction with WVWA.

 

01/2007:          
WRO Task Force on Trails formed, co-chaired by Amy Fruncillo and Susan Mudambi.  Started an initiative to seek funding for Trails projects.

 

05/01/2007:
Whitpain Board of Supervisors agreed to support an effort to develop a proposal for the remaining Township Open Space funding (approx. $400,000).  Agreed to support a consultant study for the development of a Trails Master Plan. 

 

06/13/2007:    
First meeting of the Whitpain Township Trails Subcommittee.  WRO members Amy Fruncillo and Susan Mudambi appointed to the Subcommittee.  Susan Mudambi named as Trails Subcommittee co-chair.

 

07/17/2007:    
Trails Subcommittee presented trails vision to BOS Work Session. 

 

09/18/2007:    
BOS awarded contract to Land Concepts for the development of a Trails Master Plan.

 

12/11/2007:    
Presentation to County Open Space Board of Whitpain trails vision (see attached).

 

12/17/2007:    
Whitpain public meeting to discuss trails ideas with neighbors.

 

07/22/2008:    
Presentation to County Open Space Board to request $335,000, joint with Lower Gwynedd Township, for funding of Core Phase I of the Trails Master Plan, to connect the Green Ribbon Trail in Penllyn Woods Park to the Montgomery County Community College, using a Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association easement.

 

10/24/2008:    
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) awarded Whitpain Township a grant of $42,000 for design and planning of the Core Phase Trail Project from Wentz Road and Route 73 Skippack Pike south to Township Road South.  This is part of the Trail System identified in the Master Trails Plan.

 

10/29/2008:   
County Open Space Board approved funding of approximately $200,000 of the Whitpain Open Space allocation for farmland preservation of the Walbridge property.

 

03/26/2009:    
PECO awarded Whitpain Township an open space grant of $10,000 for the Master Trail Plan Project.  This was used for the Township’s matching requirement for the DCNR grant.

 

11/06/2009:   
PECO awarded Whitpain Township a second open space grant of $10,000 for a study of the ponds at Prophecy Creek.

 

01/2010:   
Whitpain Township formed a new Park and Open Space Board, to replace the Park and Recreation Board and the Open Space Preservation Plan Committee.  WRO members appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the board include Amy Fruncillo, Susan Mudambi and Vince Marrocco.  Bill Dion named as Chair and Susan Mudambi named as Vice Chair.

 

02/2010:          
County Open Space funds frozen.