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Shenandoah Woods earns raves from Warminster supervisors


Gilmore & Associates’ Judy Stern Goldstein this month unveiled the long-awaited concept plans for a passive recreation park in Shenandoah Woods to glowing reviews from the Warminster Township Board of Supervisors.

Vice chair Kenneth Hayes said, “Keep up the great work” and suggested the park would be a “showcase for the rest of the state” showing how previously owned land with houses that are no longer in use can be converted into passive recreation.

Chairwoman Katherine Frescatore thanked the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee for the “energy and hard work” its members put in under the leadership of Parks & Recreation Department Director Jessica Fox.

“I love all the education for the children and the walking trails,” she added.

Committee member Janice Charlton said she appreciated that accessibility is part of the concept plan.

The 55-acre property was acquired in 2017 from the U.S. Navy, which had used it as barracks for the enlisted service personnel stationed at the Naval Air Warfare Center, which was shuttered in 1996.

It has been more than 25 years since the last servicemen moved out, according to Township Engineer Craig Kennard. The 199 homes have been demolished and the Department of Environmental Protection is said to be on board with the passive recreation use.

The site was declared a federal Superfund site in 1989, Environmental Protection Agency records show. In the decades since, the U.S. Navy has funded cleanup efforts including the removal of contaminated soil, the connection of local homes affected by the contamination to public water, and the installation of groundwater treatment systems to cleanse contaminated groundwater.

The concept plan showed a small portion of the park would be “off limits” to residents. Stern Goldstein and Fox reported that this area is isolated, identified in the plan, and won’t be part of the educational trail system.

According to 2017 reports in the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer, the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority worked with a previous board of supervisors to buy the last parcel of the NAWC property on behalf of Warminster for $1 million. The plans were to rehabilitate the 55-acre site on West Bristol Road and keep it as open space.

Th 2017 article put the project cost at as much as $3 million. Thomas Scott, current township manager, indicated that while the sale was for $1 million, the township received $600,000. Although, he added, “we have not received any of the money, but as we submit the bills to the state, [the money] will go towards those expenses.” Ten percent of the funds can be used for engineering costs, he added.

Mark McKee, of Warminster’s board of supervisors said at the time, “I’m thrilled to finally have some resolution for this property that has been an eyesore in the township for years, and we’re contributing 56 acres of open space.”

The bulk of the rest of the 840-acre site was developed into Warminster Community Park.

Passive recreation options presented at the meeting include: children’s education, stormwater management and the environment, passive education and recreation. These could include pollinator gardens, woodland restoration, rain gardens, a bird blind, a small pavilion with a “space theme,” according to Fox, to mirror the theme of the residents who used the barracks. It might also include a Storybook Walk with educational themes about the site posted around the park trail system in conjunction with Warminster Library.

Next steps include tapping local, state and federal grant opportunities, including those offered by State Rep. Brian Munroe, a project supporter, and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, said Hayes. The township will also seek private grants and donations.

Scott said that this park is a “responsible asset” to the community and the fact that the property complies with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) is also very helpful. The MS4 program requires the MS4 owner/operator to implement a series of programs to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the storm sewer system to the maximum extent practicable in a manner that protects water quality.

One resident asked if there will be access from private homes adjacent to the park and Fox indicated that there might be public access within the neighborhood, but “we are not there yet.” She said that there will not be access from private properties.

Another resident asked about Strong Towns opportunities for the site ( and mentioned that adjacent land to the park could be used for businesses that would bring people to the park like “buying an ice cream cone at a local business” and then “walking through the park.”

Hayes indicated he would review the materials, but that Warminster did not include that type of land use in its comprehensive plan, so it would be “difficult to do.”

Fox will post the presentation online. Residents will have an opportunity to provide comments in the form of a survey and public meetings.

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