Broomall’s Dam update

Oct 9, 2021 by

At their October 6, 2021 legislative meeting, Delaware County Council announced an ordinance to take 4.7 acres of the Broomall’s Lake Country Club’s property, bordering the northern edge of Glen Providence Park, by eminent domain. Ordinance # 2021-10 references acquiring “private property for the purpose of establishing, making, enlarging, extending, operating and maintaining public parks and multiuse trails within the limits of the county.”  The 4.7 acres include the footprint of the former Broomall’s Dam, which was partially removed by the PA Department of Environmental Protection in 2017 for safety reasons. Issues surrounding the ownership and maintenance of Broomall’s Dam have been ongoing since the dam was declared unsafe by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1980. 

Glen Providence was the first park owned by Delaware County – it was donated in 1935 by George and Eleanor Butler to establish a Bird Sanctuary & Arboretum. Glen Providence was constructed by the Works Progress Administration, and it was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Friends of Glen Providence Park, an all-volunteer non-profit organization, formed in 2011 in response to the threat to the northern end of the park from the planned Broomall’s Dam reconstruction, which would destroy over an acre of Glen Providence including wetlands, stream, and 76 mature trees. That acre is a valuable wildlife corridor, and harmful impacts from the project would continue downstream through the park.

In addition to many hours spent in research and advocacy to minimize destruction to Glen Providence Park from that project, we have volunteered many thousands of hours to preserve and enhance this historical 33-acre park, including free and family-friendly monthly events, native tree plantings, cleanups, historical research, nature walks, and summer concerts. Through citizen science projects, we have documented over 200 plant and animal species including 19 reptiles and amphibians, more than 58 trees, dozens of plants, and 129 birds. Many of those are in the acre that would be destroyed by the reconstruction of Broomall’s Dam, including some Pennsylvania-rare and sensitive species. 

We look forward to learning more about the County’s plans for this area. We hope the 4.7 acres in Ordinance 2021-10 can create a natural buffer for Glen Providence Park, and protect its trees, wetlands, and stream, with all of the native plants and wildlife that make it their home. 

County Council will conduct a second reading of the ordinance and hold a public hearing to solicit comment from Delaware County Residents at their Legislative Meeting on Wednesday, October 20 at 6pm.

UPDATE on Tuesday, October 19, 2021:

At this morning’s County Council Agenda meeting, it was reported that the County is in productive discussions with the landowner (Broomall’s Lake Country Club), and that a two-week delay may help achieve a resolution without the use of eminent domain. County Council voted to REMOVE the vote on Ordinance 2021-10 from the agenda for Wednesday, October 20. There was discussion about having the second reading and vote on Ordinance 2021-10 at the next legislative meeting on Wednesday, November 3.

Friends of Glen Providence Park continues to support dam removal (partially completed in 2017), stream restoration, and a community discussion about an environmentally sensitive bridge to reconnect Media Borough and Upper Providence. When the dam was partially removed in 2017, we led a neighbor coalition that presented a proposal to County Council for a footbridge at 3rd Street. We were disappointed that the footbridge was not installed due to cost and permitting considerations.

For more information on the complex and evolving Broomall’s Dam project, start with our Broomall’s Dam overview with links to dozens of articles, and visit the website of our sister organization, Keep Media Green

Read Ordinance 2021-10, with its diagram of the 4.7 acres, below.

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