Search continues for township manager in New Garden

NEW GARDEN — Candidates are submitting their resumes for consideration to become the next township manager.

“We are in the application process at this time that should close in another week,” said Stephen Allaband. “Then we will start going through all of the applications.”

And many talented people, including those willing to relocate to New Garden, have been applying, the chairman said.

As of press time, no candidate has been selected to fill the New Garden leadership role.

Allaband said on Tuesday that he hopes the new township manager will begin working for New Garden by Christmas and before the New Year.

On August 22, Ramsey Reiner resigned from her role as New Garden Township manager. She was hired in April 2020 to fill that position during the height of the pandemic shutdown. There was no reason issued to the public on why she resigned, as previously reported.

On September 30, Chris Adamek left his role as the New Garden zoning officer, which oversees property zoning matters, reviews, and acts on code violations and issues or denies building permits for the township.

A family attends a community event in New Garden this past spring. (JEN SAMUEL – MEDIANEWS Group)

With one-third of Chester County permanently preserved, one-third developed, a remaining one-third of land — including pastures, forests, and wetlands — is up for grabs to become either forever preserved or one-day developed, as previously reported.

Conservationists expect a major influx of development to occur within the next 30 years in Chester County, with many folks wanting to move to Southern Chester County, ironically, to be closer to nature. Yet by building more new homes here, that nature is ever-more fragile and in many places in jeopardy of disappearing forever. That is true especially in New Garden.

Allaband said that New Garden is a wonderful community with much to offer and is in a unique position due to its location. The municipality borders Kennett Township, the State of Delaware, and in the unincorporated low-key and sparsely developed hub of Landenberg, Franklin and London Britain. Landenberg is home to two state parks, the White Clay Creek Preserve, and the newly established Big Elk Creek State Park, which includes Elk Township.

The White Clay Creek runs into the Christina River and out to the Delaware River and is part of the Delaware Bay Watershed. Just a few miles away from the White Clay Creek Preserve in Landenberg, and near the Maryland and Delaware state lines, the Big Elk Creek flows to the Chesapeake Bay and is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The region was once home to the Lenni-Lenape Native Americans.

In London Britain, at the tip-end of Southeastern Pennsylvania, stands the Mason-Dixon historic marker, separating the Keystone State from Maryland and Delaware; the South. Settled by Quakers prior to the Revolutionary War, the people here, for generations, played a key role in the Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad.

Elsewhere in Landenberg, this Sunday, Community Day returns from noon to 4 p.m. at the township park on Starr Road for New Garden residents, friends, business owners, volunteers, and supporters. There will be lots of activities for all to enjoy including artisan food, emergency first responder educational displays, pumpkin painting, bird shows, obstacle courses and live music. The event is free.

Elected officials are also slated to attend to meet with constituents as will those vying for their seats next month. Election Day is November 8.

Community Day in New Garden is an opportunity for residents to meet some of the small businesses and with township staff to learn updates on road repairs and open space gains including the future plans for Saint Anthony’s on the Hills and Loch Nairn, as previously reported.

St. Anthony’s on the Hills, near the border of Delaware, is composed of nearly 140 acres in Southern Chester County. There is an amphitheater and pool — and historic castle — on site. Several structures will be razed prior to the land being opened to the public soon.

The township is home to New Garden Flying Field. (JEN SAMUEL - MEDIANEWS GROUP)The township is home to New Garden Flying Field. (JEN SAMUEL – MEDIANEWS GROUP)

Thanks to local stakeholders, New Garden was awarded state funds to transform St. Anthony’s on the Hills into a public park, ensuring the land will never be developed. There is an existing castle on the historic site. Back in December 2018, New Garden supervisors approved funding for the purchase of the St. Anthony in the Hills 137-acre property at a price of $1.5 million.

Elsewhere in New Garden, the 105-acre Loch Nairn is set to close its golf course for good at the end of season. The land is now on the pathway to becoming forever preserved for public use.

New Garden purchased property from the Smedley Family in 2021 for $1.425 million.

A Chester County grant was secured for $863,000 to help fund the purchase. Five additional grants were applied for through Natural Lands Trust, as previously reported. The Mars Foundation also contributed to ensure the rural property could be saved from development forever.

New Garden is also home to the mushroom industry. In the spring, a woman works at To-Jo Mushrooms in New Garden Township. (JEN SAMUEL - MEDIANEWS GROUP)New Garden is also home to the mushroom industry. In the spring, a woman works at To-Jo Mushrooms in New Garden Township. (JEN SAMUEL – MEDIANEWS GROUP)
The Landenberg Store is in New Garden. In April 2020, Annmarie Stigale and her son, Kyle Stigale, took a moment to enjoy lunch at the historic artisan market where the White Clay Creek runs. (JEN SAMUEL - DAILY LOCAL NEWS)The Landenberg Store is in New Garden. In April 2020, Annmarie Stigale and her son, Kyle Stigale, took a moment to enjoy lunch at the historic artisan market where the White Clay Creek runs. (JEN SAMUEL – DAILY LOCAL NEWS)
In New Garden, nearly 200 acres may be developed in the future, although some locals have spoken up at township meetings to advocate that part of the property be preserved. This is the view of the land off Sunny Dell Road over the summer. The developer, based in Los Angeles, is expected to resubmit project plans for the land near December. (JEN SAMUEL - DAILY LOCAL NEWS)In New Garden, nearly 200 acres may be developed in the future, although some locals have spoken up at township meetings to advocate that part of the property be preserved. This is the view of the land off Sunny Dell Road over the summer. The developer, based in Los Angeles, is expected to resubmit project plans for the land near December. (JEN SAMUEL – DAILY LOCAL NEWS)

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