New Park Master Plan Revealed for Delaware County’s Newest Park

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Released: July 7, 2023

Master plan for park at the site of the former Don Guanella School presented to residents on June 26

Delaware County Council, the Delaware County Planning Department, Delaware County Parks and Recreation, the Toole Recreation Planning Team (which includes JMT and Natural Lands), and the New Park Master Plan Advisory Committee formally presented its vision for the County’s newest and largest park on Monday, June 26 to a packed room at the Delaware County Government Center in Media, with hundreds of additional residents watching the proceedings via the County’s YouTube channel.

A slate of community-inspired concepts for the as-yet named park—a 213-acre parcel of largely forested land located at the former Don Guanella School complex in Marple Township—was presented during the public meeting as part of the evolving master plan.

The presentation provided residents with its first glimpse of the master plan that has resulted from ongoing community engagement efforts that began over six months ago. During this time, Delaware County residents have been asked to share their ideas and preferences for the new park through open houses, community discussions, pop-up events, focus groups, and an online survey that to-date has garnered over 3,000 responses from Delaware County residents.

“From the minute that we announced we were going to preserve this property we have had outstanding, extraordinary public input and participation,” announced Delaware County Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer at the start of the presentation, noting that 330 individuals sought to be on the park’s advisory committee and thousands of residents had contributed feedback. “It’s clear to Council that people are keenly aware of the value of open space, and that this is an exciting opportunity for us to preserve open space and create a park to attract residents and visitors from around the region.”

The New Park’s Theme: Community, in Nature

The June 26 presentation began with the introduction of “Community, In Nature”—an overarching theme for the park that communicates to residents that this park will foster a strong sense of community while being connected to and immersed in nature.

The park will feature accessible amenities that will provide a welcoming, enjoyable, inclusive, and sustainable space for all, but will carefully balance conservation, open space, and natural features.

The park will feature accessible amenities that will provide a welcoming, enjoyable, inclusive, and sustainable space for all, but will carefully balance conservation, open space, and natural features.

Proposed Park Features: The Big Reveal!

Here are some of the exciting features and facilities that will await visitors to the new park, to be phased in over time with funding and support from the County grants, gifts, donations, and partnerships:

1.  Scenic Trails: Embark on a journey of exploration traversing well-maintained and interesting trails. Whether you're a casual stroller or an avid hiker, there will be a route to suit your preferences and fitness level.

2.  Picnic Areas: Enjoy quality time with family and friends in our thoughtfully designed picnic areas. With ample seating, restrooms, picturesque surroundings, and well-placed grills, the new park will be the perfect setting for a joyful outdoor gathering.

3.  Playground: Our state-of-the-art, nature-based playground will offer a safe and fun environment for children of all ages. Equipped with modern play structures that evoke our history, culture, and environment specifically designed for this park, kids can let their imaginations soar while parents relax in uniquely comfortable seating areas.

4.  Programming: Programming, environmental education, and community engagement will advance the use of the park for those who may be new to visiting parks as well as this who already use the site.

5.  Dog Park: Bring your furry friends along to enjoy our dedicated off-leash dog park. With separate areas for large and small dogs, your pets can socialize and romp around freely in a secure space.

6.  Community Recreation Hub: To be located on the campus of the former residential school now housing buildings that will be razed, the recreation hub will offer a great lawn surrounded by a variety of recreation facilities including game courts, picnicking areas, restrooms, parking, and an iconic pavilion.

7.  Iconic Park Pavillion: A unique park pavilion, designed to become the crown jewel of Delaware County, will be a stunning architectural masterpiece with a design inspired by nature. Features such a roof with solar panels, which not only generate renewable energy but will also create a mesmerizing play of light and shadow throughout the day. The structure itself will be made predominantly of sustainable materials like reclaimed wood and eco-friendly concrete. The pavilion is designed to blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

What's Next?

The County is already starting with projects such as a creating parking area that is anticipated to be open by the end of July and improving trails so that park visitors can embark on an unforgettable outdoor adventure right in their own backyard.

The County is also excited to announce that a naming contest will be formally announced in the coming weeks – get your creative juices flowing! A second public opinion survey will be released in July to enable the residents to provide feedback on the new park master plan. Once the project is complete plater this summer, the County will move forward in the next phases of design and continue making improvements in the park. For the bigger projects, such as the pavilion, trails, playground, recreation facilities, and restrooms, the County will explore potential funding sources. The County will also be creating a Park Friends organization to help move the park forward.

Delaware County Council and all of the New Park Master Park Plan partners extend our heartfelt thanks to the Delaware County community for the ongoing support and collaboration that are making this park a reality.

To watch the June 26 New Park Public meeting, visit the County’s YouTube channel, accessible at

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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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