S.O.S - Stop the Sale of the Kindergarten Center

Open space and trail advocates, local neighbors and school district residents have formed the Phoenixville Area Friends of Open Space . We are raising $30,000 to preserve the most significant remaining piece of public open space in Phoenixville.
 
We, the taxpayers, have paid for this land. This property is OUR open space.
 
The PASD School Board has voted to sell the 7.4-acre Kindergarten Center at 100 School Lane to Toll Brothers to redevelop into 80+ high-density multifamily units. Public discussion and input were severely limited due to inadequate notice and publicity, with hundreds, if not thousands, of PASD district residents having no idea these proceedings were taking place.
 
We have petitioned the Chester County Court of Common Pleas and hope you will join us in stopping this short-sighted decision from moving forward. We plan to challenge the School Board's transparency obligations under the Sunshine Act and the School Board's cash flow economic case for selling this 18,000SF school and open space.
 
Will you help fund our legal representation and associated costs in the fight to protect our land and keep our taxes lower?
 
We can meet this goal if just 1,000 of Phoenixville’s school district's 18,000 residents can contribute $30 each.
BECOME A FRIEND OF OPEN SPACE . Learn more about signing the petition. Join the Phoenixville Area Friends of Open Space .
 
OPEN SPACE -- ONCE IT'S GONE, IT'S GONE FOREVER
 
Which would you rather see?
 
  • 80+ high-density multifamily housing units
  • More traffic plus safety, noise and environmental impacts
  • Increased maintenance and infrastructure costs
  • Loss of existing woods and disappearing wildlife habitats
  • Higher taxes
 
Or these possibilities:
  • A new park with community gardens, tree nursery and expanded woods
  • A Phoenixville Greenway Trailhead to Schuylkill Township
  • Adaptive reuse of the 18,000SF into a Learning Center, to possibly include:
          o Environmental Education, Regional Sustainability & Resilience
          o Food Education, Teens, Music and Community Art Center
          o What’s your idea?
 
What IS the best and highest use of this beautiful public asset?
 
The Borough offered to purchase the property for $1.8M with a vision of a possible Park and Learning Center. The developer's final offer was $4.6M. Should the disposition of this beautiful land be based solely on price?
 
Help us reverse the decision and create a Working Group so the public can participate in envisioning the future of this property. Donate and Join the Phoenixville Area Friends of Open Space
 
BACKGROUND
 
On March 28, 2022, five Phoenixville Area School District Board members voted to sell the Kindergarten Center property at 100 School Lane to a developer and allow high-density townhomes to be built despite overwhelming opposing public comments. The alternative is to keep this property as 7.4 acres of open space and perhaps work with the Borough to have the 18,000 SF school building become a community Learning Center.
 
The Public called for the Board to delay the vote and create a Working Group.
 
In the last six months, advocates for saving the open space presented a poll (786 respondents) and petition (971 signatories) showing overwhelming support for keeping the property under public ownership. Residents voiced concerns about destroying the neighborhood's character, flooding, stormwater management, increased sewage treatment costs, and habitat loss. And increased traffic, noise, and pedestrian safety concerns.
 
The Board vote was based solely on an incomplete economic analysis.
 
The Board’s rationale for voting now and selling to Toll Brothers was based solely on an incomplete economic analysis. The board was unwilling to consider an alternative analysis showing what most people have experienced – development actually increases education costs and taxes.
The alternative analysis referenced the Chester County Planning Commission’s “Return on Environment” report that estimates the positive economic impact of open space preservation and increased property taxes with development. Open space saves money and helps keep property taxes lower!
 
The Board’s rationale for voting on March 28
 
The Board has represented the sale process as fair, comprehensive and transparent. The record indicates otherwise. Numerous possibly false statements were made, significantly that this sale had been discussed for four years.
 
The facts prove that this is false. The property was being held from being listed at the request of the Mayor’s Train Task Force. That hold was in place until at least the end of 2019 and early 2020. The first time this was on the public agenda was November 2021, and the vote was held in April 2022, not even six months later and with five board members who had been on the board less than six months.
 
Most importantly, the School Board dismissed the public’s appeal for more time and collaborative engagement with the advocates for a new park and the Borough of Phoenixville’s vision for the property.
 
Substantive Board deliberations were not possible with five new members just being seated this year, most having little awareness of previous facts, details, actions and discussions. Over six months, advocates called for a collaborative process with the public. We contend that this board had no serious or substantive deliberation on this matter,
 
SELLING OUR OPEN SPACE
 
We , the taxpayers, have paid for this land. This property is our open space. The School Board Members need to honestly and accurately represent the duty of care for the institution's best interests in alignment with its public mission. And it is up to us to insist the school district live up to its responsibility as a fiduciary.

This is why we have formed the Phoenixville Area Friends of Open Space. We are raising $30,000 to fund our legal representation and associated costs in the fight to protect our land and keep our taxes lower. Help us with a $30 donation to reverse the decision and create a Working Group so the public can participate in envisioning the future of this property, 


  • Gary Smith 
    • $40 
    • 1 d
  • Matthew Rink 
    • $50 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 5 d
See all

Organizer

Phoenixville Area Friends of Open Space 
Organizer
Phoenixville, PA