Bucks County Herald

Upper Makefield supervisors entertain third-graders’ original park design ideas

STUART LEE FRIEDMAN



Back row, from left, teacher Jennifer McFillin, with students Isabel Mayarovich, McKenna Nelson, Sydney Grabow, Jack Wattenmaker, Kaylee Kaucher, and Jack McGrath, and front row, from left, Phoebe Tetreault (2nd Place), Adalae Howe (1st place), Aimee Zhang (3rd place).

The Upper Makefield Board of Supervisors carefully considered park design projects at its June 6 meeting.

And while they have often disagreed and even bickered over many township issues, this annual event has consistently produced warm accord and smiles across the board. This year was no exception.

Two of the three finalists from Jennifer McFillin’s third-grade humanities class at Sol Feinstone Elementary presented their designs to the board. Phoebe Tetreault, a third finalist who placed second, was unable to be present at the event.

Third-place winner Aimee Zhang presented Nature Hill Park with six main sections that include nature trails, a place for pets, and food service amenities.

An animal center allows park-goers to feed monkeys and read to dogs and cats. The pet adoption center is not limited to dogs and cats, but includes snakes and butterflies as well. The trail horses “are very well trained not to beg for food.” A bird and butterfly house might even present visitors with chicks and caterpillars in the spring.

A special playground at Nature Hill Park accommodates those with disabilities, and nature trails include man-made rainforests and mountains. An “under the sea” habitat allows the park-goer to explore coral reefs or even travel to the deepest, darkest reaches of the ocean.

Zhang mentioned that in keeping with the theme, the bathrooms are “are very well-camouflaged.” So visitors should plan accordingly.

Adalae Howe, the first place winner of the contest, enthusiastically promoted Lend a Hand Sanctuary, a park she designed, which includes a two-acre swimming area and is accessible to those with disabilities.

She boasted an open-air theater that includes “the best shows in town” and even includes lessons in acting. “Hurry – tickets are selling out!” Howe exclaimed.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Lend a Hand Sanctuary is its 30-room hotel and restaurant run by the homeless who, in return, “get a beautiful place to live.”

An animal center helps sick and injured animals with a staff of veterinarians. “Many animals that come in don’t have homes,” Howe said, so the park matches homeless animals with the elderly.

The spell of the third grade students evaporated as the board addressed its business agenda, starting with concerns of a resident regarding PennDOT liquid fuel fund standards. The supervisors affirmed that meeting those standards has traditionally been required by the township for road dedications.

The Goodwin zoning hearing board application at 162 Brownsburg Road East was presented by planning and zoning director David Kuhns for a nonconforming front yard setback. Supervisor Mary Ryan recommended staying neutral. Supervisors Tom Cino and Diana Nolan voiced their agreement to allow the hearing to proceed under the direction of the zoning hearing board.

Kuhns stated that the township’s rating in the FEMA Flood Insurance Community Rating System will improve, resulting in a 5 percent reduction in homeowner premiums that will be seen in October. Kuhns estimated that 5 percent of homes in the township would be affected. He added that further improvement in the townships rating may result in further lowered premiums in the future.

A solar energy resolution was met with criticism by supervisor Mike Tierney who complained that properties that fail to meet the 5-acre minimum requirement would be required to assume the expense of applying for variances. The ordinance passed in a 4-1 vote over Tierney’s objection.

Interim Township Manager David Nyman recommended the acceptance of a bid by Gerard Immersi of Caldwell, N.J., for the purchase of a 2010 township-owned Tahoe for $5,344.00. The board approved it unanimously.
The board also unanimously authorized a $2,000 contribution to the Council Rock Senior Center.
Nyman also suggested township residents make a proposal to the township planning commission regarding a safe pedestrian access to the canal towpath for residents of Buckland Valley community. Nyman suggested approaching the Bucks County Planning Commission for further ideas on a proposed access path to the trails from the community’s north gate.

The Taylorsville Road PECO project also was discussed, addressing issues of safety concerns by property owners for logs left from tree cutting. Nyman announced that the township was formalizing an agreement with PECO to do that. Supervisor Dan Rattigan called Nyman’s efforts “outstanding.”

Township engineer Larry Young requested permission to advertise the public works building expansion project. The request was approved unanimously after some discussion.

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