Save Williamson Park, Inc. is a non-profit made up of individuals from the Morrisville, PA community and surrounding areas dedicated to helping protect and preserve Morrisville's very own Williamson Park for the use and enjoyment of all. Williamson Park has been used as a public park since 1939 and was given to the Borough by a gift from the estate of Henry S. Williamson. We seek to prevent any development of this park so that it may continue to be used as a safe and beautiful place for all to enjoy this slice of nature and the outdoors in our Borough.
The residents opposing the sale of Williamson Park have saved the park (for now)! They have respectfully requested that our case against the Borough be marked settled, discontinued, and ended without prejudice.The Borough, through their attorney, has indicated, in writing, that Morrisville Borough is committed to preserving Williamson Park and understands that they are not allowed to sell the park without first petitioning Orphans Court. While it is a win for the residents, it is not quite the settlement that was hoped for as the Borough may petition Orphans Court in a future effort to sell their portions of the park. It is important to note that this case was ended without prejudice, which means that it can be resumed from where it ended in the event that this issue should arise again in the future.
Save Williamson Park has from the beginning been focused on preserving this beautiful open space for all to enjoy and will continue to operate as a non-profit to do just that for future generations. SWP will continue to fundraise for the park, support events in the park, and do all we can to raise awareness of and support for this wonderful resource in our community. We also emphasize the importance of monitoring and sharing information regarding Borough activity in relation to the sale of park property and/or potential development in the park moving forward. The Borough’s motion declaring the park blighted still stands and could be forwarded to the Bucks County Commissioners for approval, which leaves the park property at risk. There are also concerns regarding a recent levee certification as attempts to view copies of the reports through open records requests were denied as the Borough states that the information in the report could be misused and could result in harm or injury to local residents.
We hope the residents of Morrisville and the surrounding areas will continue to follow along with SWP to learn of ways to support the park. Email email@example.com to learn how you can stay informed and get involved!
Save Williamson Park asked all candidates running for Borough Council the following questions regarding their support for Williamson Park:
1. If elected, do you commit to declaring Williamson Park as dedicated public parkland in perpetuity?
2. If elected, do you commit to removing Williamson Park parcels from the RDA Certified Redevelopment Area?
3. If elected, do you commit to working to find grants or other funding sources to revitalize and enhance Williamson Park?
See below for their answers:
Patricia Sims (2nd Ward):
"I am totally supportive of saving Williamson Park, removing the parcels from the redevelopment area, and in seeking any and all funding resources to support it."
Nancy Sherlock (2nd Ward):
"I am a hard yes on question 1 and 2.”
As to question 3 - “I support fiscally responsible investments to enhance Williamson Park.”
John Vitarelli (3rd Ward):
1. "Yes, I would vote to declare Williamson Park dedicated public parkland and in perpetuity is a great desire of mine. Another desire is to help coordinate and support more events at Williamson Park as well as to continue to help in the great work our current council members are doing in the park."
2. "I do commit to doing all within my means to remove Williamson Park from the RDA Certified Redevelopment Area. As a matter of fact, I'd like to help council to take action on any land that may be considered for reclamation. Possibly creating small community gardens."
3. "Yes I do! The best way to prevent open spaces from development is efficient, creative utilization. For a small borough like Morrisville, holding fun and engaging events in Williamson Park is a great way to build and maintain a healthy community."
Marie Kelso (4th Ward):
"Yes is the answer to all three questions."
We hand-delivered these questions to Scott Robinson and Melissa Johnson but did not receive any response.
The above candidates are all listed on Democrat primary ballots. There are no Republicans listed on Republican primary ballots. Registered Republicans have the option to write in any person of their choosing, including the above candidates.
The Municipal Primary will be held on Tuesday May 16. Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm. The last day to register to vote is May 1. The last day to request a mail-in ballot is May 9.
Save Williamson Park
April 24, 2023
YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
Save Williamson Park seeks to protect Williamson Park as public parkland as it was originally intended when given to the Borough by the estate of Henry S. Williamson and as it has been used since the park opened in 1939. The Donated and Dedicated Property Act (“DDPA”) protects all land “dedicated to the public use” as public land and requires that land be used for the purpose for which it was dedicated. It also requires a municipality to go to Orphan’s Court before it can take public land for private use and even then only if the use as a park “is no longer practicable or possible and has ceased to serve the public interest.” This law makes the public the beneficiary of land dedicated or donated to public use.
However, on December 21, 2020, Borough Council passed Motion 9J to “accept the conceptual proposal submitted by Select Morrisville for the Williamson Park Town Square Project and to authorize Borough staff and professionals to engage with Select Morrisville and the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority to aid Select’s completion and submission of a full subdivision and land development plan application for the Project in compliance with all Borough Ordinances and the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.” Select Morrisville seeks to build a shopping center and luxury apartments in the park. The motion passed 7-0.
Residents of Morrisville Borough brought suit in Pennsylvania Orphan’s Court in October 2021 against the Borough Council to enjoin the Council from taking any further action to support the sale, transfer, redevelopment, alienation, or condemnation of Williamson Park.
While Select Morrisville sought to obtain the park for private development, the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority (“RDA”) issued a report which designated Williamson Park as blighted. Once a park is deemed blighted under the Urban Redevelopment Law, the RDA can move forward to condemn this public land and take the park through eminent domain for purposes of redevelopment. Despite vocal opposition at two public meetings with thirty-four people speaking in favor of the park and seven in favor of the RDA plan, Borough Council on November 30, 2021 voted 4-3 to approve Motion 8F “to adopt a Resolution of the Borough of Morrisville, amending the boundary of the Morrisville Borough Certified Redevelopment Area” which designated the park as blighted and added it to the Certified Redevelopment Area.
Save Williamson Park wants to preserve the park and work with the Council to find ways to promote and improve the park where needed so that residents of Morrisville and the surrounding areas can continue to enjoy our wonderful community green space. To do so, we need the Council to repeal Motion 8F of November 2021 to remove the RDA from the park and prevent the RDA from taking any property in the future through eminent domain based on the false assertion that the park is blighted. We also need the Council to repeal Motion 9J of December 2020 to revoke the Council’s permission to Select Morrisville to pursue development of the park. Finally, we need the Council to state publicly that it supports Williamson Park remaining as a park.
Unfortunately, the Council has repeatedly failed to do so and has refused to take the simple actions to repeal what it has already passed and declare the park as public land. So far, all it has done is pass Motion 8G on February 15, 2022 which states that the Borough Council “does not support the Concept Plan of Select Morrisville, LLC as presented beginning in August of 2019 through December of 2020.” Motion 8G is meaningless. It does not prevent Select Morrisville from making a new proposed development project or prevent any future developers from taking this public land for private use. The Borough has repeatedly failed to bring any other motion to a vote since the February meeting. Meanwhile, a hearing in the legal action has been repeatedly continued. All that is required to settle the suit is that the Borough Council rescind Motion 8F adding the park to the Certified Redevelopment Area, rescind Motion 9J permitting Select Morrisville to develop plans for the park, and recognize that Williamson Park is a public park protected by the DDPA.
Save Williamson Park remains committed to preserving and promoting Williamson Park for the benefit of all. We hope the Borough will join us.
Copyright © 2022 Save Williamson Park, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.