West Chester, Pa (December 29, 2022) – State Senators Carolyn Comitta and John Kane announced today that an additional $4 million in grant funding is being directed to efforts to preserve Crebilly Farm in Westtown Township.
The grant, funded by federal dollars allocated through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), will support the township in acquiring approximately 208 acres of the farm for a new township park.
“We’re thrilled by this belated Christmas gift to the people of Westtown Township and Chester County,” Comitta said. “Saving Crebilly Farm is the result of persistence, perseverance, and partnership. I want to thank Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Dunn, Natural Lands, and all of the partners who are working to conserve this historic property. We will continue to work together to see this project through for the benefit of all our residents.”
“The Westtown community has spoken loud and clear that Crebilly Farm is here to stay,” said Senator Kane. “Community leaders, residents, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources along with so many more organizations have gone all in to protect the history and pride of Westtown Township, and this additional $4 million is a huge next step in that process. Westtown will continue to have my full support in the process to preserve Crebilly Farm for generations to come. I want to thank everyone involved in securing this additional funding; and I encourage everyone in our communities to join in and save this glorious farmland because the hard work is far from over.”
In November, Westtown voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to preserve the farm, one of the largest remaining unprotected open spaces in Chester County. It allows Westtown Township to purchase 208 acres of Crebilly Farm for $20.8 million and establishes a modest local earned income tax and real estate tax to help cover some of the cost. The township plans to use a mix of federal, state, and county government grants, as well as fund-raising, to pay for most of the purchase. However, it will still need about $7.5 million to foot its share of the bill.
The $4 million LWCF grant comes on top of the $2 million in state funding awarded to Westtown Township earlier this year to preserve the farm through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnership Program.
The farm, which served as the setting of the Battle of Brandywine during the Revolutionary War, was slated for development several years ago. However, that plan was abandoned after a public outcry.
The LWFC was established by Congress in 1964 to safeguard natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage; and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans.
The funding to preserve Crebilly Farm comes as part of $7.3 million in total LWFC funding for recreation and conservation projects in Allegheny and Chester counties.
“These investments will help Pennsylvania protect land that is under pressure from development and improve community parks with things like loop trails that are so desired for close-to-home outdoor recreation, as well as the green infrastructure that helps absorb stormwater during heavy rain,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
Federal approval is a required next step for the LWFC grant.