The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education has announced that it is “indefinitely suspending its request for proposals to develop the Boy Scout Tract,” a 24-acre wooded parcel across Port Royal Avenue from the center’s core grounds in Upper Roxborough, according to an email sent on Tuesday, September 6, by the center’s executive director Mike Weilbacher.
As Grid has reported, the center has been exploring the sale of the tract, citing the need for funds to pay for capital improvements. According to the center, the organization lacks the resources to use the tract for programming.
The center’s exploration of the possibility of selling the land to developers sparked a firestorm of opposition from neighbors as well as current and former staff of the organization, with protests planned for Thursday, September 8.
According to Weilbacher’s email, “several potential opportunities for preservation have recently been presented to the organization” and “[t]he Center hopes to announce further news about the preservation of the site in the weeks ahead.”
In an email sent on Tuesday, September 6, Jamie Wyper, president of the Residents of the Shawmont Valley Association, wrote that although he considers the news from the Schuylkill Center to be promising, the protest, as well as the broader advocacy effort, is not pausing. “This is a step in the right direction, but does not commit the Center to zero development on the property. They could still develop a lot of acreage and achieve a lesser preservation goal,” Wyper wrote.