Lower Merion school plan may close newly opened Stoneleigh

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Stoneleigh garden threatened by school plan. Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News Mornings on May 14, 2018. (WPVI)

The owner of a new public garden that just opened this past weekend in Villanova is already in a fight to keep it that way.

The company Natural Lands held a grand opening of Stoneleigh on Sunday, but a plan by the Lower Merion School District may see it closed in the near future.

The Haas family donated their estate to Natural Lands with the intent for preservation, free public use, and education.

The gardens are open six days a week and free of charge.

A walking path, over a mile long, helps guide the way through 10,000 plants, 350 trees, and plenty of architecture.

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Stoneleigh opens in Villanova. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at Noon on May 13, 2018.



The staff is encouraging guests to take their time when going through.

"We'd like people to experience this place on their own terms and find their own personal satisfaction of beauty," staff member Ethan Kauffman said.

However, the Lower Merion School District recently notified Natural Lands that it wants to seize the 42-acre property through eminent domain to build a new school and ball fields.

A school board meeting is scheduled to take place next Monday.

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