Erdenheim Farm saved

June 1, 2009 4:04:57 PM PDT
The sprawling 426 acre farm in Montgomery County's Whitemarsh and Springfield townships could have been turned into hundreds of mc-mansions. But an historic deal made Monday will preserve the Erdenheim Farm forever. Kim Sheppard is the Executive Director of the Whitemarsh Foundation established to preserve the farm after the death of longtime owner F. Eugene Dixon."It's important for the quality of life for the area. I also think less development we have helps to preserve the quality of the water in the Wissahickon Creek which is on this property as well as going into Fairmount Park and downstream."

The Whitemarsh foundation already owns 98 acres. In Monday's 10 way real estate deal they're purchasing an additional 91 acres with $12.5 million in county and local funding. The rest of the property will be purchased privately by Radnor executive, Peter McCausland and his wife Bonnie for an undisclosed amount. Another non-profit, the Natural Lands Trust, contributed to the deal ensuring the land will be kept forever as open space.

The land was very appealing to developers which are why conversationalists say the deal was so important.

The Erdenheim Farm has been virtually unchanged since the days of William Penn. It's adjacent to the Morris Arboretum. Director Paul Meyer fought hard to protect the ribbon of green which runs from Center City to Fort Washington.

"I think it's just as important as protecting the lower reaches of the Wissahickon which they did in the 19th century. 100 years from now people will look back on this day and say wow what foresight these folks had."

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