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Anonymous Donors Save Boy Scout Tract from Development

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The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education announced on December 7 that it has secured $3 million in funding from anonymous donors to preserve the Boy Scout Tract, the 24-acre parcel of land whose potential sale to developers over the summer caused a firestorm of community opposition.

The center began exploring a sale after they received a $1.5 million offer from a prospective buyer. In response, the center’s leadership issued a request for proposals to consider additional offers. The center’s leadership argued that they needed to sell the land in order to raise funds to repair buildings and make other capital improvements.

The $3 million gift comes with the requirement that the center attach a conservation easement to the property’s deed, a move that would require the land to remain undeveloped even if, in the future, the center sells it. Natural Lands, a local conservation organization that both manages preserves and works through conservation easements to preserve other privately owned land, will own the easement, meaning that it is responsible for pursuing legal action should the owner of the Boy Scout Tract make plans for development.

“This is an important step for conservation in the city as development continues to replace green space,” Natural Lands president Oliver Bass was quoted saying in the Schuylkill Center’s press release. “We applaud the Schuylkill Center and the community for coming together to find this conservation solution.”

Jennie Love, owner of Love ’n Fresh Flowers. Photo by Troy Bynum.

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