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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens
March 16, 1998
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August 13, 1997
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Brightside Farm - Charlestown Farm Committee
Saving Charlestown's Century Farm
for the Next Millennium
Dear Charlestown Residents,
The subdivision and sale of the 135-acre Pyle family farm on Yellow Springs Road, their home for 103 years, has been the focus of intense debate within the Township since 1997. This "century farm" is one of our few remaining working farms, a legacy to the rural, farming community of historic Charlestown. Many residents expressed the need to preserve the centerpiece of the tract--the 1809 farmstead of 55 acres, called Brightside Farm. A volunteer committee was formed to save this unique farm from development; we call ourselves the Charlestown Farm Committee.
To accomplish this goal we have a proposal for you to consider--to have the Township of Charlestown purchase the farm in conjunction with grants from the county and state. We have a vision for Brightside Farm --- a working organic produce farm and equestrian center. Please help us save CharlestownÍs Century Farm for the Next Millennium.
The Charlestown Farm Committee
Mark Connolly, CSA: 610-983-9447
Ellen Behrle, President Charlestown Green, Inc.
Marcia Solda, Equ.: 610-935-2545
Bob Jones, Charlestown Civic Assn.
The Pyle Farm
Charlestown's Century Farm
Coming over the crest on Yellow Springs Road from Phoenixville Pike just past Hollow Road, the Pyle family farm sits at the center of the Township. As your eyes sweep the green fields to the horizon, they center on the Brightside Farm, a collection of red roofed barns and outbuildings with a white farmhouse--all set back from the road in a perfect scene of nature and a familyÍs commitment to the land.
In the TownshipÍs 1993 Open Space Plan, only five viewsheds could be found that define the rural character and historic landscape of our community. The Pyle family farm vista is one of those precious, endangered views. The Plan also identified agricultural lands to conserve, and the Pyle Farm again was identified as one of the few remaining working farms able to be saved.
A Plan for Conservation and Public Use
A process to plan our open space
The Supervisors have supported the Farm CommitteeÍs proposal by funding a planning process through the TownshipÍs planner, Thomas Comitta & Associates (TCA). The process will be managed through an ad-hoc committee to engage in collaborative brainstorming sessions with key entities including the Supervisors, Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Board, GVSD, CSA and Equestrian Center parties, and the public.
The Supervisors have called a special meeting on October 18 to start the planning process. The meeting will examine the status of open space preservation in Charlestown, and the Township's strategy. The Township's 1993 Open Space plan will be reviewed and the role of land acquisition by the Township will be discussed. A brief presentation by the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation will outline the status of development, recreation and past efforts at planning a Township facility.
With this information as background, the proposal to purchase the 55-acre Brightside Farm will be presented. Ideas for planning the whole tract including the historic Rapp House and the adjacent 20-acre site owned by the Township will be explored. The Farm Committee will present the vision for developing the farm as a Community Supported Agriculture farm and Equestrian Center. A funding plan will be discussed and the Supervisors will update the public on the discussions with the Great Valley School District, the current owner of the property.
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