Quarry blasting, the degradation of a historic barn, and the overall future of their village are concerns for residents of Rushand, an unincorporated community in Wrightstown Township with roots that stretch back to pre-Revolutionary War days.
That’s according to Gail Atkinson Acosta, a fourth-generation Rushland resident and member of the nonpartisan community group SaveRushland, which is dedicated to preserving and improving the quality of life in the village.
Acosta spoke at the March 6 meeting of the Wrightstown Board of Supervisors.
She told the three-person board that locally governs the municipality that Rushland residents are interested in partnering with the township (as well as possibly nonprofits and others) on initiatives that could include beautification projects, historical restoration and overall village improvement efforts, including potential restoration of the old train station.
One key area of concern for residents of late has been the resumption of blasting activity at the JDM Rush Valley Quarry, Acosta said. She said blasting shakes her house and has caused items to fall from cabinets. It also affects water quality, she said, leading to sediment infiltrating her water, which has her worried about the effect on her well. The concerns are not just her home, she said.
“This affects everyone in our community,” Acosta said.
She said it would be helpful if the quarry could notify residents in advance of blasting events. Public postings, say in the post office, as well as digital communication through email would be good, she said. Township officials were looking into helping coordinate that communication.
Per the terms under which the quarry operates, there may be obligations for remedying wells affected by operations, but it was unclear if such relief might apply in this case, according to officials.
Materials being used to fill in the quarry are another worry. Township officials said requirements make it so that it would have to be “clean fill.” Still, residents would have to get specifics from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, officials noted.
Meanwhile, Acosta said residents are also concerned about what they described as the increasing dilapidation of a historic barn on a property that’s across from the Eureka Stone Quarry on Swamp Road in Rushland. It’s the responsibility of quarry owner JD Morrissey Company to handle the maintenance of the barn, which is part of what was once referred to as the Wilkinson Farm, officials said.
Township Solicitor Terry Clemons explained that the company is required to maintain the barn’s historic character and make repairs when something threatens that character. He said he has been in contact with quarry representatives about the issue. Further steps toward actual repair work/restoration may be forthcoming – something, Acosta said, for which Rushland residents are keen.
On the train station: Supervisor Chairman Chester Pogonowski said it’s unlikely there will be sufficient township funds to power such an improvement project. However, he noted that residents could work together to pursue grant opportunities that might be available for funding. A similar grassroots effort occurred in nearby Wycombe, he said.