Delaware County Council Successfully Resolves Long-Standing Impasse with Broomall Lake Country Club

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Released: August 29, 2022

During the Aug. 17 public meeting, Delaware County Council voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Broomall Lake Country Club that successfully resolves a 42-year issue related to a dispute between the County, the Borough of Media, and the Broomall’s Lake County Club over the appropriate usage of several acres of land adjacent to the sensitive Glen Providence Park and the possible rebuilding of a long-condemned dam that had once served as a bridge for vehicular traffic along 3rd Street in Media.

The dam, built in 1883 to create a small lake for locals to harvest ice for produce and later becoming the centerpiece for The Media Swimming and Rowing Club (created in 1919 and re-named the Broomall’s Lake Country Club in 1967), was declared unsafe by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1980 and closed by the Borough to traffic in 1996.

Over the years that followed, a number of actions taken by Media Borough, the County, Broomall’s Lake County Club, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and several local civic organizations lawsuits resulted in an impasse that affected the viability of the club, the health of the County’s Glen Providence Park, and threatened to absorb millions of taxpayer dollars in litigation and contested actions.

“This has been a quagmire,” said Councilman Kevin Madden, referring to decades of litigation and disagreements. “So, I want to thank the Broomall Lake Country Club and I appreciate their willingness to work towards a resolution,” adding “And I want to thank the folks who have cared deeply about this issue, who have cared about Glenn Providence Park and its preservation, particularly Terry Rumsey and Robin Lasersohn Co-founders of Keep Media Green, and Stephanie Gaboriault, President of Friends of Glen Providence Park. You should be proud of your leadership on this issue, and I appreciate the education you gave all of us on this issue.”

According to the agreement championed by County Council and negotiated by County Solicitor’s Office under the direction of Bill Martin, a conservation agreement has been put in place on four acres adjacent to the location of the dam site and adjacent to Glen Providence Park that will end the dispute, end considerations for rebuilding the dam, and preserve the green space as a natural buffer for the park.

While Broomall’s Lake Country Club will remain the private owner of the four acres, they will be compensated $650,000, in part to address remediation costs related to the breached dam, and in part as an agreement to refrain from the development of the land. The funds are expected to ultimately come from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“I view this as a victory for everyone involved, and we’re improving the quality of life for everyone in this area with this investment,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Elaine Schafer, who along with Councilman Madden, has been cited as the driving force behind the agreement.

“Thank you, immensely, to this County Council, particularly Council members Schaefer and Madden, for your commitment, persistence, and resolve to address this 42-year-old issue,” said Stephanie Gaboriault, President of Friends of Glen Providence Park during the meeting, adding “You did it without rebuilding an unnecessary dam, which would have destroyed part of Glen Providence Park… and this [easement] protects the park’s trees, wetland and stream and all of the native plants and wildlife.”

Marc Manfre, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, was also cited for his efforts leading to the agreement, explaining that in 2019 the Borough of Media was under order to rebuild the dam but that Mr. Manfre refused to sign off on a letter that was required to move the construction forward. “He followed his conscience, and that action led to a pause in the project and the agreement made here today,” said Ms. Gaboriault.

In addition to preserving the land and ending the possible construction of the dam, the agreement also extends the County’s parking arrangement with the club for another 10 years, which provides overflow parking for jurors and county employees and that has been renewed on a yearly basis.

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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