“A large portion of the Rose Valley Creek has been preserved as public open space in Borough Park. A further preservation opportunity appears to exist a short distance upstream from Borough Park, where an undeveloped parcel lies on Edgewood Drive. This should be considered in the Borough’s open space preservation planning.”
-Ambler Comprehensive Plan For Open Space 2006
A developer purchased this land along Edgewood Drive with plans to build three houses; 200 and 300-year old mature trees were being felled. Deeply distressed by this loss, one neighbor intervened with a plan to purchase one of the three lots, and secured the deal with a $10k non-refundable check.
Within days, the Borough elected officials pledged another $20k and agreed to become the deed holder, preserving it forever as passive open space.
Now, together with the Ambler Environmental Advisory Council, neighbors are actively raising the remaining $45,000 through asking the people of Ambler to donate whatever they can (“It takes a village to save a forest). We are actively pursuing grassroots involvement by producing two fun and educational events for our community. In addition, we are asking the county, every local civic and environmental organization, bank, businesses, and grant makers to support our effort to “keep the woods in Edgewood.”
If everyone were to give something, we would be able to purchase this environmentally sensitive parcel of open space along the Rose Valley Creek, and ensure that its storm water, air cleaning and erosion- preventing features, as well as its aesthetic qualities, are preserved as a green legacy for the future.
The Borough of Ambler will purchase the lot from the developer using $20k of its own funds and the monies we raise. Tax-deductible receipts will be issued to all donors for whom we have contact information. The Borough will hold the deed, and permanently restrict it to remain passive open space. The Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, our local watershed organization, will provide a restoration plan.
We are planning a community-wide Open Space TreeFEST on April 16. This will provide opportunities for the whole family to learn about the value of trees, open space, and stream health. Families will be encouraged to buy a native tree to plant on their own property. Volunteers will begin to implement the restoration plan that will be overseen by the Ambler Environmental Advisory Council.
why we’re doing it
The aesthetic views and wildlife habitat are its primary values. Secondary significant values include the protection from soil erosion provided by the tree canopies and roots system and the natural infiltration of stormwater in these wooded topsoils which is important for water quality protection. In addition, the woodland area helps shade the Rose Valley Creek, enhancing habitat for aquatic life by retaining lower water temperatures.
The lot sits in the heart of the Borough of Ambler, an old industrial town. Ambler is densely developed with a population of about 6,400 within less than a square mile. Parcels of undeveloped land are rare.
Providing open space and preserving the Rose Valley Creek have been environmental priorities since 1994, when the first Open Space and Environmental Resource Protection Plan was written. They were emphasized again in the Montgomery County Comprehensive Plan for Open Space in 2006: “By making additional purchases of land or easements along the Rose Valley Creek the Borough would help ensure additional parts of this attractive natural corridor remain undeveloped, limiting flooding and providing potential areas for passive recreation” and “A large portion of the Rose Valley Creek has been preserved as public open space in Borough Park. A further preservation opportunity appears to exist a short distance upstream from Borough Park, where an undeveloped parcel lies on Edgewood Drive. This should be considered in the Borough’s open space preservation planning.”
The Borough has accepted these recommendations, but has not had sufficient financial resources to purchase property to address them. In addition, the Borough has not had ordinances in place that would prevent development on steep slopes. Fortunately, this is now being addressed through our effort to purchase and protect the Edgewood lot.
Restoration of the property will include native plantings to further improve the woodland and its habitat value. The planting will be part of the subsequent work following acquisition with other funds.