Freedom Valley YMCA and Lower Providence officials are exploring how the West-Norriton based YMCA can move into the Club at Shannondell on Egypt Road while a 19-year-old Montgomery County open space grant controls the golf course land.
Jay Schaeffer, the president of the Freedom Valley YMCA, said in an Aug. 9 letter to Lower Providence officials that “Lower Providence township would need to purchase additional open space land to replace the land to be utilized to uphold their commitment to open space in the township. The township would need to identify a few parcels that ultimately are better suited to be designated as open space.”
The YMCA proposed at a July 25 Board of Supervisors’ meeting a “full-service YMCA” with three outdoor pools, two indoor basketball courts, three indoor pools, a second-floor running track, a 900-foot golf driving range, a miniature golf course and room for expanded indoor facilities. Nine holes of the current golf course would be preserved in the YMCA plan.
Lower Providence township acquired the 97-acre golf course in 1994 to preserve it as a golf course. This $3,000,000 acquisition was funded in part by a $1,184,644 open space grant from Montgomery County under the open space program initiated in 1993, said Mike Stokes, the assistant director of the Montgomery County Planning Commission (MCPC). The township also acquired an approximately 9-acre tract within the golf course property that contained a club house and skating facility. Those buildings were latter removed.
In 2005, the township made a request to remove 3.78 acres of the property from the county open space deed restriction (part of the 97-acre portion) to accommodate the construction of a swim club and restaurant facility, Stokes said. This was approved by the (Montgomery) County Commissioners on April 21, 2005 with the condition that the township acquire and deed restrict as open space, a 19-acre property along the Perkiomen Creek near Collegeville.