Dickinson Farmstead Master Plan

Page 1

Dickinson Farmstead


November 2017

PREPARED BY: Stromberg/Garrigan & Associates, Inc. 102 E. Main Street Suite 200 Somerset, PA 15501

LANDMARKS SGA, LLC Architecture - Historic Preservation - Adaptive Reuse

102 E. Main Street Suite 200 Somerset, PA 15501 IN ASSOCIATION WITH:

6081 Honey Hollow Road Doylestown, PA 18902

Financial support for this plan was provided by Plymouth Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program funded by the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. It was also funded in part by a grant from the PECO Green Region Grant Program.

Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s 5 Dickinson Farmstead 8 Executive Summary 1 2 B a c kg r o u n d A s s e s s m e n t : General Site Features 3 3 Building Condition Assessment 5 6 Recreation and Heritage Opportunities 6 2 Master Plan and Proposed Improvements 8 0 Operations, Management, and Financing Plan 9 2 Funding Opportunities 1 0 6 Implementation Plan 1 1 0 Appendix A 1 1 6 Appendix B


D i c k i n s o n Fa r m s t e a d The Dickinson Farmstead (also known as the Hinterleiter House) is located in the Historic Plymouth Meeting Village area of Montgomery County, PA. The approximately 6.48 acre site contains two farmhouses (Dickinson and Albertson Houses) and supporting structures (English Ground Barn, Carriage House/Wagon Shed, Smokehouse/ Privy, and Icehouse Foundation) dating back to the 18th century. Subsequent improvements were made to both of the Farmstead houses over the years as they were modernized and expanded, but the outbuildings have remained mostly intact. The exception is the more recent reconstruction (+/- 30 years ago) of the entire roof (including framing) of the barn along with most of the door openings and some gable end infill. The site can be traced back to 1685, when it was granted by William Penn to Francis Rawle and eventually landing in the hands of the Dickinson family in 1716. The site passed through different ownership over the years from Dickinson to Rex in 1782, Rex to Stall in 1783, Stall to Potts in 1784, and finally Potts to Albertson in 1800. The property remained within the Albertson family for over a century until 1919. Moving ahead, The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) acquired the entire Dickinson Farmstead site, which at that time was actually two separate parcels owned by Crawford and Ann Allison (Albertson House) purchased 1969, and Irene Hinterleiter (Dickinson House and Outbuildings) purchased 1970. Shortly thereafter on February 18, 1971, The Plymouth Meeting Historic District, which contains the Dickinson Farmstead, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and both of the houses and supporting outbuildings were listed as a contributing resource to the historic district. In 1979, The Plymouth Meeting Historical Society was granted care of the property (eventually leasing it) until they finally purchased it in 1997. The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) currently holds a covenant on this property until September 2, 2033. Much of the history of this site and its buildings has been previously documented through the efforts of the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society (PMHS), and an overview of that history can be found in “A Brief History of the DickinsonAlbertson Farmstead� by Edward T. Addison, dated April 27, 1984. The Historical Society is also responsible for the many drawings that were created of the buildings, including their efforts toward restoration of the Farmstead.



Executive Summary


E xe c u t i v e S u m m a r y WHAT IS A PARK MASTER PLAN AND WHY IS WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF THE PARK IT IMPORTANT? MASTER PLAN? The master plan explores the options for the development of the park and considers existing and potential park users, site characteristics, regional and local context, municipal recreation and cultural needs and opportunities, and the overall potential desires of the Plymouth Township Community. The process for developing the vision for the park, physical plans, and supporting policy recommendations emphasized Township input to develop a path forward that targets existing and future community needs. This effort is especially important since Dickinson Farmstead is a very unique, precious property located in an otherwise fully built-out section of the Township.





ªª Establishes

a “vision” for the park that shapes management and capital improvements for the next 20+ years;

ªª Defines the role the park plays within the community’s

overall parks and recreation needs;

ªª Establishes


a framework for how the vision can be

ªª Determines

the major incremental actions needed to achieve the vision;

ªª Considers physical improvements and operational and

management requirements;

ªª Identifies

related social, cultural, and ecological programming opportunities that can be integrated into the park;

ªª Establishes

a general guidance and policy tool for decision making as implementation occurs and to address future unforeseen conditions; and

ªª Enables

Plymouth Township to be competitive for grant funding for park improvements.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

The recommendations in this master plan report are purely for guidance in decision-making; the plan is not the letter of the law. The master plan includes a clear vision for what can be achieved in Dickinson Farmstead Park and the key next steps. Multiple parties are involved in making decisions, and many partnerships are needed; therefore the plan can serve as a common reference for all parties, as step-by-step decisions are made. The physical master plan drawings illustrate an “idealized” set of build-out/improvement scenarios. The proposed physical layout depicted on the master site plan was developed based on an ultimate long-term desired future, considering and weighing all of the input received during the planning process. As each element of the master plan is designed in detail for implementation, much greater projectspecific information will be gathered to inform the final realization, including public engagement to consider the details of the design of each project. Each of these actions will further influence and likely change the master plan. The final configurations of the various project components will change as the level of design progresses. So, why is this effort important? Developing an overall picture of what is possible allows the Township to fully understand the real physical constraints and opportunities and a direction and priorities for moving ahead without impeding the possibility of future desired project components. In essence, the master plan provides a roadmap for the questions to ask at each improvement step to ensure that as improvements are made, everything works together to create a cohesive whole. In the end, what should be achieved after significant improvements are implemented is a park that is perceived by the community as being of greater community value than the sum of its individual parts. Projects cannot be directly constructed from this master plan. Plans of such magnitude will inevitably result in a series of recommendations that require further evaluation. In the vast majority of cases, the next steps require determining the details through a design and engineering process, all of which should be equally vetted through a community engagement process. These steps will determine how a project should be realized, its functional refinements, and the exact specifications needed to advance toward construction, and are not for further analysis as to whether a project should be pursued at all.




Dickinson Farmstead Park is: ªª A historic, public, recreational, environmental, and educational center;

ªª English Ground Barn Event Space and Courtyard - The

plan identifies adaptive reuse opportunities for each of the historic structures on the Farmstead, but the primary consideration is for the English Ground Barn, which has a great deal of potential to be developed into an event space.

ªª Its primary mission is the promotion of healthy living and an understanding of the relationships between cultural artifacts, ecology, people, and places; and ªª The park aims to accomplish this through land stewardship, conservation, historic preservation, and promotion of the arts.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS These recommended improvements form the key set of recommendations that the Township should consider to improve Dickinson Farmstead Park. These improvements would provide the basic set of minimal upgrades to consider for the park to make it visitor ready, more functional, and to support future, longer-term improvements suggested in the master plan. They will reinforce and perpetuate what the community values most in the park and address the items most referenced as needing improvement. ªª Focus

on Landscape Management Protocols, Invasive Species Removal, and Native Plant Restoration Altering the approach to landscape management will be an important action towards achieving the vision for Dickinson Farmsetad Park.

ªª Main Perimeter Circulation Loop Trail - Carefully crafted

circulation forms the framework upon which all of the later improvements are organized and located. The creation of a main circulation will increase access and provide a low demand element to begin to introduce public access to the site.

ªª Vehicular

and Pedestrian Circulation, Parking, and Infrastructure Improvements - In order for the site to support substantial public use, parking and other base infrastructure facilities are needed. These improvements will link to the Main Perimeter Circulation Loop Trail.



Background Assessment



B a c k g ro u n d Assessment: General Site Features SITE HISTORY AND BACKGROUND The Dickinson Farmstead has a long history as a site, and even more recently, in terms of interesting ownership and management. A portion of the existing Dickinson House, what is believed to be the oldest structure on the site, dates to c.1730, and the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 18, 1971. The property is most noted for its Quaker owners, Joshua Dickinson and Jacob Albertson. With the exception of a brief period from 1782 to 1800, the property was in the ownership of members of one of these two families from approximately 1716 to 1940. Before leaving home, James Fox and Francis Rawle together with a group of Friends from Plymouth, England, purchased 5,000 acres in 1685. Their intent was to engage in woolen manufacturing, but those plans never materialized, so they sold their lands to other Quakers who had emigrated from Wales. The Dickinson Farmstead is part of a much larger conveyance of 472 acres sold in 1701 to Isaac Shefer, who in turn sold a 244-acre portion to Lumley Williams. Williams married Sarah Dickinson in 1710. Sarah’s brothers, Benjamin and Joshua Dickinson, inherited the property after Lumley’s death in 1716. Various heirs of the Dickinson’s owned the property until 1782, when the property was sold outside of

the family. As a result of several subsequent owners selling off parcels of the land, the property consisted of 119 acres when it was purchased in 1800 by Jacob Albertson. He and his heirs owned the property until 1940. The site was acquired by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in 1970 for the construction of the proposed “Blue Route” I-476. Community leaders led an effort to nominate the site as a part of the Plymouth Meeting Historic District and to persuade PennDOT to align the route of the proposed highway away from the site. PennDOT shifted the route and, in 1979, agreed to rent the Dickinson Farmstead to the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society with a 50-year renewable lease approved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The lease stipulates that PHMC be granted review oversight for all work performed to the historic structures on the site and that PMHS is to restore and maintain the property as a historic site. In 1997 PennDOT sold the property to PMHS, which currently owns the property. PHMC has an agreement of sale with Plymouth Township, to be fully transferred sometime in late 2017.

Watering trough and pump in barnyard area represent small site elements that can aid in telling the overall story of the historical significance of the entire Farmstead.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

CHAIN OF TITLE March 12, 1685 William Penn Sold to James Fox and Francis Rawle 5000 Acres of Land March 4, 1701 Francis Rawle and Elizabeth Fox (Widow of James) Sold to Isaac Shefer 472 Acres of Land March 4, 1701 Isaac Shefer Sold to Lumley Williams 244 Acres of Land March 31, 1716 Lumley Williams (Deceased) Left to Benjamin and Joshua Dickinson (Step sons) 224 Acres of Land September 23, 1731 Benjamin Dickinson Sold to Joshua Dickinson 122 Acres of Land April 20, 1752 Joshua Dickinson (Deceased) Left to Joseph Dickinson (Son) 100 Acres of Land July 12, 1765/6 Joseph Dickinson (Deceased) Left to Israel Dickinson (Son) February 8, 1782 Israel Dickinson Sold to Jesse Rex (Brother-in-Law) December 5, 1783 Jesse Rex Sold to John Stall Three Parcels Containing 123 Acres of Land April 6, 1784 John Stall Sold to Joseph Potts 119.75 Acres of Land September 15, 1800 Joseph Potts Three Parcels Containing Sold to Jacob Albertson 454.75 Acres of Land (Farmstead Parcel 119 Acres) December 10, 1834 Jacob Albertson (Deceased) Left to Josiah Albertson (Son) February 6, 1847 Josiah Albertson (Deceased) Left to Alice Albertson (Wife) and Hannah, Samuel, William, Joseph, and Abigail Albertson (Children) January 4, 1877 William Albertson (Administrator and Son of Josiah Albertson) Sold to Joseph Albertson (Brother) January 1, 1887 Joseph Albertson Sold to William Albertson (Brother) June 14, 1891 William Albertson (Deceased) Left to Mary Albertson (Widow), Alice, Hannah, and Harvey Albertson (Children) October 21, 1891 Harvey Albertson (Deceased) Left to Mary Albertson (Mother) January 15, 1896 Alice and Hannah Albertson Sold to Mary Albertson (Mother) March 12, 1910 Mary Albertson (Deceased) Left to Hannah Albertson Cooper and Alice Albertson Price (Daughters) July 1, 1919 Hannah Albertson Cooper (Deceased) Left to Alice Albertson Price (Sister) and Frank Cooper (Husband) May 28, 1920 Frank Cooper Sold to Alice Albertson Price (Sister-in-Law) November 16, 1940 Alice Albertson Price (Deceased) Left to Thorton Price, Elizabeth Price Robinson, executrix, J. Morris Price (Step Children) October 1, 1941 Elizabeth Price Robinson, executrix Sold to Rae and Irene Hinterleiter June 24, 1970 Irene Hinterleiter Sold to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation June 1979 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Leased to Plymouth Meeting Historical Society 50 Year Lease 1997 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Sold to Plymouth Meeting Historical Society Two Parcels Containing 6.48 Acres of Land




The current site is 6.48 acres. The Farmstead is historically significant as an example of an elaborate and complete 18th-century residence with outbuildings, and because it is located within the Plymouth Meeting Historic District. A detailed discussion of the buildings is located in the Building Condition Assessment Section. In addition to major structures, there are several minor site elements worth noting.

historic significance is the recognized importance a site displays when it has been thoroughly evaluated, typically to a standard that meets the National Register Criteria. Due to the dynamic nature of landscapes, cultural landscape sites may have several areas of historical significance. Only through the understanding of the landscape as a continuum through history, and its cultural and environmental context, can the full cultural and historic value be determined. In order for a cultural landscape to have integrity, it must have character-defining features or qualities that contribute to its significance.

Through the analysis of the Farmstead site that was performed during the preparation of the DickinsonAlbertson House Historic Structures Report, 1993 prepared for The Plymouth Meeting Historical Society by John Milner Architects, Inc. and over time, through the overlaying of major period plans along with the current conditions plan, a fairly cohesive evolution of the ownership periods and basic functional use of the Farmstead can be accounted.

The cultural significance of the Dickinson Farmstead spans more than two centuries, and the buildings and the site reflect changes and improvements made during this extended period. Therefore “restoring� a particular building to its appearance at a specific time in its incremental development is not consistent with the broader interpretative context. One aspect that is important is how each structure relates to the others and the landscape in forming an assembly of a fairly intact Farmstead.

One outcome to consider as design moves ahead is the historic significance of the landscape components of the core of the Farmstead and the determination of their integrity, not just as individual resources, such as building or site features such as a wall, but also as an interrelated complex of elements that form a setting. In most cases,

The Dickinson Farmstead is not a historic site in the truest sense of the definition, in that the site’s historical importance is not associated with a specific historic event, activity, or person. Instead, the complex of buildings and the landscape combined are significant for broader cultural

Garden trellis and remnants of formal garden area behind Albertson House may not remain in the future but their existence may be acknowledged through more civic design approaches and speak to the historic use and character of the site.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

associations. As such, the complex of various site elements, structures, and artifacts together form a cultural landscape. The National Park Service (NPS) has developed extensive guidelines for how to approach defining, managing, and interpreting cultural landscapes. Cultural landscapes can range from thousands of acres of rural tracts of land to a small homestead with a front yard of less than one acre. Like historic buildings and districts, these special places reveal aspects of our country’s origins and development through their form and features and the ways they were used. Cultural landscapes also reveal much about our evolving relationship with the natural world. The NPS guidelines could be used as a guidance tool to establish guidelines for the site’s stewardship today, especially with the core Farmstead area, as well as to clarify which new actions can be taken on the site that maintain, reinforce, or enhance its historic integrity into the future. By their very nature as natural and dynamic places, no two cultural landscape sites are the same; therefore, careful consideration should be given to defining each site’s importance and stewardship goals. Defining the site by type of cultural landscape is the first step in establishing such goals. There are several accepted types of cultural landscapes, and of those defined by the NPS, the Dickinson Farmstead falls within the definition of both a Historic Vernacular Landscape and an Ethnographic Landscape. Again, the following definitions are provided for guidance purposes only and are not intended to be specific designations for the site. A Historic Vernacular Landscape is a landscape that evolved through use by the people whose activities or occupancy shaped that landscape. Through social or cultural attitudes of an individual, a family, or a community, the landscape

A family vault cover exists on the site. It is believed to have been moved and its original location is not known.

Farmstead stone walls in various states of repair. Note rubble stone wall ruins in the middle of view. The buildings, site structures, and landscape areas combined represent the entire assembly of what constitutes the Farmstead’s history core.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN reflects the physical, biological, and cultural character of those everyday lives. Function plays a significant role in vernacular landscapes. They can be a single property such as a farm, or a collection of properties, such as a district of historic farms along a river valley. Examples include rural villages, industrial complexes, and agricultural landscapes. An Ethnographic Landscape is a landscape containing a variety of natural and cultural resources that associated people define as heritage resources. Examples are contemporary settlements, religious sacred sites, and massive geological structures. Small plant communities, animals, subsistence, and ceremonial grounds are often components. The discussion of the Dickinson Farmstead as a cultural landscape site is important, especially when considering the definition of the site in its context. From the interviews, discussions, and site analysis, it is evident that although the focus is on the formal boundaries of the Farmstead, the site’s context has a direct and an indirect influence on the cultural integrity of the overall Plymouth Meeting Historic District. It is important to acknowledge that the ability to provide a quality interpretative visitor experience is influenced by the extent of an “immersion” experience into the cultural aspects of the site and to a lesser extent particular time periods. The dramatic juxtapositions of competing uses created by the property boundaries of the Farmstead, i.e., major modern residential and commercial development and infrastructure with 18th- and 19thcentury farming practices, cannot be overlooked. The extent of these impacts can be considered through the ultimate design of the site’s master plan along with possible goals for undertaking balanced mitigation strategies, understanding that the site must provide the ability for both uses to work together, as much as possible. Limited site archaeological investigations were performed in 1988. The recommendations at the time, based on evidence found, included performing additional archaeological work in the area of the barnyard, should any portion of this area be significantly disturbed in the future.

Key Findings ªª The

core of the Farmstead, the area encompassed between the buildings, is the most historically significant. The complete “assembly” of buildings and the enclosure within the landscape they create should be maintained as much as possible. The sense of enclosure within this area provides the greatest potential for a visitor to feel immersed in the historical aspects of the site.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

ªª Walls,

paths, and other small-scale site elements are important aspects to the overall qualities of the Farmstead and should be considered as the master plan for the site is developed.

ªª Further

archaeological investigations should be considered in the area of the barnyard if the master plan proposes significant new construction or subsurface disturbance of the soil. This work could be tied to a community educational program to add increased public programming, interest, and promotion of the site.

SITE TOPOGRAPHY, GEOLOGY, AND SOILS A large portion of Montgomery County, including Plymouth Township and especially the Farmstead site, is underlain by Cambrian bedrock formations. Formations from the Cambrian Period of the Paleozoic Era (formed 542-488.3 million years ago) are often heavy in limestone and dolomite, hence the historical presence of the limestone kilns and slaked lime industry in the immediate area. These types of rock are prone to weathering rapidly, causing what are known as karst formations. Karst formations are systems of faults and caverns that can form in calcareous rock formations like limestone and dolomite from physical and chemical weathering. These formations present several different challenges, both structurally and hydrologically. From a structural standpoint, karst formations present the possible hazard of sink holes, which can form when excessive amounts of the rock have weathered away and the roof of a cavern collapses. The damage due to sink holes can be significant, so it is in the best interest of property owners to be aware of any possible hazards a certain karst formation can present. In order to avoid the hazards that come with sink holes, it is best to map out significant voids in the bedrock, then design new structures with the hazards in mind or try to avoid problem areas all together, if possible. Karst geologies raise many challenges when it comes to stormwater runoff and runoff pollution control. The large faults and voids in the rock lead to high underground flow rates. These hydrologic characteristics make it more difficult to have on-site infiltration-based stormwater management systems that emphasize on-site infiltration, as any concentration of water can percolate quickly into groundwater supplies. The prominence of calcareous rock can often lead to residual soils heavy in fines, as chemical degradation can lead to the production of more clay soils as opposed to

The northwestern portion of the site, behind the barn, is significantly elevated over Chemical Road and the modern development context. This condition represents an opportunity to increase site exposure but also needs to be carefully considered from an experiential standpoint within the site. For example, the elevated aspect of the site results in increase noise pollution within the Farmstead from surrounding roadways.

physical weathering. This is somewhat evident in the soils found in surrounding areas as they do contain fairly high amounts of fines. The fines do not appear to be abundant enough to cause too many problems.

ªª The

Given that most of the land on and surrounding the site has already been developed or heavily disturbed at some point, it is mostly classified as “urban land,” the USDA does not provide a lot of information about the soil characteristics in the area. The soils are classified as the Urban land – Udorthents Formation, with subclassifications based on greater than or less than 8% slopes. Because of the level of disturbance that has occurred, even on portions of the Farmstead itself, exposed areas have also likely been mixed with some non-native fill or top soil, so the conditions can be variable and hard to quantify. In general, the site soils support the proposed utilization as a public park, and with the exception of a potential stormwater management area, exceptional care will not likely be needed to accommodate proposed uses on the site.

ªª The

Key Findings ªª The

majority of the site has moderate slopes with portions of the northwestern boundary having steep slopes. The topography of the site creates visual interest and presents opportunities to create vistas and potentially control views.

topography of the site is divided up into a lower and upper area, with the major dividing grade change occurring along the eastern foundation lines of the Dickinson and Albertson Houses. eastern, lower area, is relatively flat and is most conducive to site elements such as parking.

ªª Karst

geology may make stormwater management facilities with concentration infiltration problematic. Special care in the design, including potentially hybrid approaches of retention and detention Best Management Practices (BMPs), should be considered.

HYDROLOGY AND STORMWATER The site is located within the Plymouth Creek watershed which flows south into the Schuylkill River in Conshohocken Borough. The creek is located on the opposite site of Chemical Road from the site and a small unnamed tributary runs through the site and continues south underneath Sierra Road. The unnamed stream runs parallel to Sierra Road, in the rear of adjacent residential lots, and continues south passed a landlocked, Township-owned open space parcel (Plymouth Meeting Park). The portion of the unnamed stream that travels through the site was placed into a conveyance pipe from the south side of Sierra Road to its outfall into Plymouth Creek on the north side of Chemical Road. The remainder of the day-lighted portion of the stream south of Sierra Road has been treated with



View of un-named stream channel south of Sierra Road.

a concrete lining, most likely to prevent erosion and to address potential subsurface dilution of the karst geology that could result in sinkholes.

Key Findings ªª As

stated in the geology section, karst geology may make stormwater management facilities with concentration infiltration problematic. Special care in the design, including potentially hybrid approaches of retention and detention Best Management Practices (BMPs) should be considered. Other techniques that disperse stormwater into multiple smaller facilities versus a large concentrated facility are desirable.

ªª Stormwater

facilities should include pre-treatment elements through BMPs such as raingardens and flowthrough plantings to remove surface pollutants prior to the stormwater entering surface or subsurface hydrology. These facilities should be treated as site amenities and integrated into the overall landscape design of the site and not treated at “tacked-on” elements.

There are two large stormwater inlets within the curb gutter, aligning with the unnamed stream on Sierra Road.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Underground stormwater sewer travels through the site, flowing towards Chemical Road and Plymouth Creek in this area.

The former limestone quarry, now located on the Citizens Bank development parcel, functions as a large stormwater detention facility. Note the significant grade change from the Farmstead elevation behind the barn to the adjacent property.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN CIRCULATION AND ACCESS Due to the nature of how the site use has evolved over time, much of the circulation is informally defined. There is a single lane paved access driveway from Sierra Road to the front of the Albertson House. The remainder of the site vehicular circulation is constructed of loose gravel and not well defined. Vehicular access to the site has changed over the years. Historically, the site had multiple access drives, including one from Sierra Road and two via Chemical Road.

Key Findings ªª Access

to the site can only occur from Sierra Road. Due to the horizontal alignment of Sierra Road (bends in the roadway), the current driveway access location is likely at the best location for site lines.

ªª The

community is concerned about additional traffic generation from the site, especially related to event traffic and the inability to make left turns onto Germantown Pike from Sierra Road.

ªª The site can serve as a major trailhead and connection

to Cross County Trail. However to make this connection, a connection will be required to cross Chemical Road. Of the two intersection options, Germantown Pike

or the one at the entrance to Metroplex, the latter seems more desirable. The Metroplex intersection is signalized and has major pedestrian signal heads and continental style cross walk striping. A 10 foot wide minimum multi-use trail will need to be added to the southern side of Chemical Road from Germantown Pike to the entrance to Metroplex and connect to parking on the Farmstead property. ªª Off-street

parking will be required on the Farmstead site to serve public use. The lower eastern area is likely to be the most conducive for a surface parking lot due to the topography and proximity to vehicular site access. The site will likely require a minimum of 40 and a maximum 65 parking spaces, including ADA accessible spaces. In order to serve larger events (200 to 250 persons) on the site, off-site parking with shuttle service may be required. The community has expressed concern over any significant reliance on onstreet parking along Sierra Road.

ªª The

site is conducive for a loop walking path. The material treatment of the path may vary based on specific level of use, ADA accessibility, site specific conditions, and grade.

View looking west on Sierra Road at current entrance to the Farmstead property. The elevated topography in relation to the street and the density of tree and shrub canopy create a park-like setting in the neighborhood.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

View of paved portion of access drive looking towards Sierra Road.

View looking south on Germantown Pike towards the intersection of Sierra Road. The ability of motorists to make left turns from Sierra Road onto northbound Germantown Pike can be very difficult due to traffic queuing from the signalized intersection with Chemical Road, especially during peak travel times.



Most of the vehicular circulation on the site is unpaved.

The clearing in this view from the lower area west towards the Albertson House shows the location of one of the historic drive approaches to the Farmstead.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Location of former driveway access point from Chemical Road into the Farmstead. Note curb cut in foreground and lack of sidewalks along the roadway edge.

View from the northern boundary of the Farmstead looking north, across Chemical Road. Note the Cross County Trail bridge and the Livezy Store, another major historic resource within the Plymouth Meeting Historical District.



View from the northern boundary of the Farmstead looking west along Chemical Road. Note the lack of sidewalks and signage along the curb line.

VEGETATION The Dickinson Farmstead is located within the Piedmont Upland Section of the Piedmont Physiographic Province. This region is characterized by its generally rolling hills and valleys, underlying limestone and shale geology, rich fertile soils, and a greatly diverse plant community known as Maple/Hemlock-Mixed Mesophytic Forest. The rolling topography combined with the rich fertile soils supports a rich and diverse plant community and generally also made it an ideal location for farming and agriculture. Over the past several centuries many of this region’s flat areas have experienced repeated forest clearing for agriculture crop production and livestock grazing. These major man-made landscape interventions have left the native plant communities within these agriculture areas fragmented and in a stage of natural succession. Landscape succession is a natural ecological process where highly adaptive plant species inhabit a disturbed site for period of time as site conditions evolve, typically from a more dynamic and disturbed state to a more stable and less disturbed condition. In some cases, plant species only inhabit a site for a brief period while a particular and specialized condition occurs. This condition is apparent to a trained eye on the


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Farmstead. Most of the site was likely open landscape or fields as recently as the mid-20th century. Although there are a few super-canopy trees with trunks 30� in caliber or greater, most of the trees are not nearly as large. The areas that appear as woodland on the western end of the site are relatively recent in terms of forest aging. Another significant by-product of the expanding agricultural activity was the introduction of European, African, and Asiatic exotic plant species that were directly planted or introduced through bags of crop seed originating from the above mentioned continents. Several of these exotic plant species, since their introduction, have escaped into the surrounding natural/native landscape, permanently altering the makeup of the preexisting Maple/HemlockMixed Mesophytic Forest and associated natural successional plant communities. Pennsylvania English and Germans, along with other immigrant cultures, played a role regionally in permanently changing the ecology of Pennsylvania through their cultural-specific agricultural and land management practices, some of which are still exhibited on the Farmstead today, in terms of plant species and location.

Despite the age of the site, there are only a few large canopy trees that are older than 40 years in age. Most appear to date from the 1970s based on the caliper. Many of the larger trees are in serious decline and should be removed.

A cursory plant inventory was conducted on the Dickinson Farmstead property and surrounding neighborhood. The inventory was not comprehensive, especially due to the late fall time period during which it was performed. A large percentage of the surrounding area is composed of manicured lawn areas and modern “landscaping.� On the Farmstead property, however, there are large areas of successional vegetative systems. In the vicinity of the houses, ornamental foundation plantings were also found and represent plants historically commonplace and modern.

The successional woodland is composed of pioneer and successional native plant species typically found within the Maple/Hemlock-Mixed Mesophytic Forests. Some of the key species identified include Red Maple (Acer rubrum) and Black Cherry (Prunus serotine). The inventory of these natural areas also identified seven exotic species that are classified on the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) invasive species list. These species include: Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia

The lower area on the east end of the site has a high concentration of fallen and declining trees that should be removed. There are a few signature American sycamore trees that appear to be in fair or better condition. These trees are indicative of Pennsylvania Farmsteads since they are noted for their broad canopy and ability to cast significant shade on Farmstead buildings providing a natural cooling effect. These trees should be evaluated by a certified arborist to determine their health and longevity potential.



The more disturbed portions of the site, especially along the northern and eastern boundaries of the site have a high concentration of invasive plant species including multiflora rose and various invasive vine species.

The main open lawn area with sun exposure located on the southern side of the barn, toward Sierra Road.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

japonica); Amur Honeysuckle (Loncicera maackii); Tatarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica); Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima); Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata); Beefsteak Plant (Perilla frutescens); several species of Thistle (Cirsium species); and multiple noxious and aggressive foreign vine species. A more complete inventorying of the herbaceous plant species should occur in the warm season, including invasive plants.

disturbance. Continued agriculture production, mowing maintenance regime, disposal of landscape material/debris, and other human influenced encroachment create a highly fragmented and disturbed naturalized environment, which has created a new type of site ecology/plant community to emerge that consists of native pioneer species, agriculture weeds, ornamental plantings, vegetable and herb garden plantings, garden invasive plants, and manicured lawn.

The vegetation inventory performed to date concluded that much of the Farmstead is a plant community that has limited plant species diversity and shows signs of

The woodland area west of the barn has the densest tree canopy on the site. The canopy trees in this area are generally not larger than 20� in diameter which illustrates that this woodland was likely mostly cleared prior to the 1970s. The understory vegetation is predominately invasive vines and shrubs.

The open lawn area includes a few large canopy trees in an informal hedgerow south of the barn. This area abruptly transitions into a gently rising woodland area that encompasses a large amount of the western portion of the site.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Key Findings ªª The

site has a significant amount of mature canopy tree cover. There are a significant number of large trees that are in decline or are dead and will need to be removed. One of the positive characteristics of the site is the interconnected tree canopy which creating a contrasting experience to the surrounding context and aids in create a sense of immersion into the Farmstead within the site’s core. The large sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) should be retained if possible, and new ones should be planted, since these are one of the most indicative Pennsylvania Farmstead trees. Pennsylvania English and Germans, especially, planted at least one sycamore near their farmhouses to provide abundant shade as a form of climate control during summer months.

ªª There

are significant areas that have a predominance of invasive plant species, especially in the shrub and herbaceous layers. As improvements are undertaken, methods that remove this material, combined with management strategies to ensure that the invasive plant materials are not reintroduced, will be important.

ªª The

historical aspect of the site may influence the approach to landscape design. The core of the site may have some cultural landscape elements that interpret historical elements, such as kitchen gardens. In addition the treatment of landscape planting should consider the historic agricultural nature of the site and not be too aesthetically driven, especially in terms of 21st-century plant cultivars, etc. The site should feel like it honors its Farmstead past yet still feel civic in nature.

ªª Overall,

the site’s plant diversity is relatively low. All layers of the landscape, from the canopy trees to the herbaceous layer, should be diversified to promote greater ecological health as well as to ensure greater site resiliency. New pests are constantly being discovered, and plant species that previously were thought to be resilient may become at risk. The best way to maintain the landscape characteristics that people cherish about the site is to diversify plant species.

ªª It

appears that deer grazing could be a factor in the health of the understory, shrub, and herbaceous plant layers on the site, especially in the woodland


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

areas. The ability to increase the ecological health and diversity of the site may depend on the ability to limit deer access to portions of the site. ªª Buffering

of adjacent uses should be pursued in some locations. This is especially important along the eastern boundary to address the rear of the adjacent gas station.

UTILITIES The site is served by wet and dry utilities. The buildings on the site are currently served by an overhead electrical utility line that enters the site from Chemical Road and travels through the site via several utility poles. There are two separate sanitary sewer service lines that serve the Farmstead. The Dickinson House is served via a line from Chemical Road. The Albertson House is served from a line from Sierra Road. Natural gas service is available via Chemical Road and the Albertson House uses gas for heating.

Key Findings ªª Electrical

Service – The buildings on the site are currently served by an overhead utility line that enters the site from Chemical Road and travels through the site via several utility poles. As a part of improvements on the site, electrical service should be relocated underground. This is also a condition of the Façade and Conservation Easement and Covenant.

ªª Sanitary

Sewer Service – Any improvements to the site, specifically related to adaptively reusing the barn and/or adding restroom facilities will likely require upgrade of the service into the site. A determination will need to be made with the Township’s engineer as to which line would be best to tap into for increased service capacity.

ªª Water

Supply – Water supply capacity to the site has not been determined.

ZONING A cursory review was made of the current zoning ordinances and how they may apply to the Dickinson Farmstead in terms of future park use. The site is currently zoned as part of a Limited Industrial (LI) District. The LI zoning district’s allowable uses are focused on low-intensity, light and medium industrial activities. Typical uses that fall under this

Utility Map (Lynch Martinez Architects, Dickinson/Albertson Farmstead Master Plan, November 1995.)

classification would be assembly and fabrication industries, warehousing, distribution centers, etc. The LI District is not an obvious zoning district classification for the Farmstead, even if the historic nature of the site is disregarded and only its context is taken into account. The current zoning will need to be changed or a use variance may be required if any significant new use is added to the site that is not permitted, specifically an events-oriented facility in the barn. For a more detailed review of the Limited Industrial District and general zoning ordinances refer to Appendix A: Zoning and Building Code Review.

Easement and Covenant The Plymouth Meeting Historical Society entered into a Façade and Conservation Easement and Covenant with Heritage Conservancy, Inc. (Holder). The easement and covenant continue to remain on the property, and pertain to the preservation and maintenance of the historically significant exterior architectural features of the structures

and determine basic guidelines regarding any new construction, renovations, etc. on the site. The primary points from the easement and covenant that may impact design decisions and should be considered are as follows: ªª The

Façade and Conservation Easement states that its purpose is to assure the preservation and maintenance, and forever prevent any use or change to any facades of the Class I Historic Structures which would impair or interfere with the structure and property’s architectural, historical, and scenic value. The Class I structures on the site are denoted as follows: Dickinson House, English Ground barn and associated stone walls, Carriage House and attached Carriage Sheds, and the Smokehouse/Privy.

ªª Subdivision

of the parcels (with the exception of merging them together) is prohibited.

ªª Any

additions or alterations to facades other than basic repairs are to be subject to review. The covenant


PA R K M ASTER PLAN does allow for an addition on the rear (west) elevation of the English Ground barn provided that Department of Interior (DOI) Standards for Rehabilitation are met. ªª No

Class I Historic Structure is to be demolished without the prior approval of the Holder. Written notice must be provided to the Holder prior to the demolition of any Class II Historic Structure (Class II Historic structures being any structure not previously categorized as Class I).

ªª Within

the Historic Area identified by the covenant new buildings shall only be constructed or relocated subject to review and approval of the Holder. Outside of this area no new or relocated buildings shall block the view from public roadways of any Historic Structure. These buildings are also to be of a style and design similar to the 18th century Historic Structure and use materials acceptable under the DOI Standards for Rehabilitations.

ªª Driveways, parking areas, access roads, passive public

recreation facilities, public restroom facilities, and nature trails are allowed to be constructed outside of the defined Historic Area.

ªª Any

new or improved utilities must be located underground. Aboveground utilities may be installed where an underground option is not feasible pending review and approval by the Holder.

ªª No

new construction shall be built or vegetation be allowed to grow on the property which would interfere from public roadways with the visibility of the 18th century historic structures. This does not apply to any healthy trees on site.

ªª Illuminated signs and signs incorporating moving parts

and/or video/sound are prohibited. Any individual sign visible from public roads shall not exceed 25 square feet and a height of 14 feet.

ªª Lands

outside of the defined Historic Area are restricted to passive public recreation.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan





















Site Planning Considerations Diagram 31


Building Condition Assessment DICKINSON HOUSE Historical Overview The Dickinson House, c. 1730/40 to 1790, is the main house of the Farmstead and has been noted as possibly being the oldest house in Plymouth Meeting. It is located at the rear of the Farmstead property and is also the oldest of the buildings on the site. It was originally accessed from a drive to Chemical Road. The original central structure of the house was styled in the “Penn Plan� or Quaker design. Subsequent additions to both the east and west sides were constructed by 1798.

The structure has been parged with exterior plaster (stucco) with joints struck to resemble ashlar cut stone. This has completely covered the original rubble stone walls, giving a completely different appearance to the house. (An area of rubble stone is still visible on the end where a porch roof has been removed.) The shed roof addition, on the southwest end of the house, has painted Dutchlap wood siding on the front face only; the remaining east, west, and north walls are smooth exterior plaster (stucco) finish. The roof covering is of wood shingles that were last replaced in 1986 along with gutters and downspouts. A portion of the second floor of the Dickinson House is currently occupied by

Above: Historic configuration showing original structure (denoted with orange) and additions to left and right (Southeast Elevation). Below: Current/existing configuration, note second story additions on the left side of the house (Southeast Elevation). Drawn by Steve Kuter, 1975.



Southeast facade, Dickinson House, November 2016.

Southeast facade, Dickinson House, circa 1969-1970.

residential tenants who are also using the main floor of the Carriage House/Wagon Shed for their garage and storage. The remainder of the building is mostly vacant, having been last used by the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society. Some displays and furnishings remain.

Priority action items The exterior of the house looks to be in reasonably good condition with some immediately visible issues. The exterior plaster parging appears to have been replaced more recently, the wood shingle roof, gutters, and downspouts were replaced in 1986, parts of the cornice, eaves, and wood siding were also replaced/repaired at this time, and the windows, doors, and trim have been repainted as well. The following issues were noted. ªª There

is a crack in the exterior plaster above the only second story window on the gable end facing the barn (southwest). It extends from the upper right side of the window to the wood gable trim above. This crack should be sealed to prevent moisture from entering and causing more deterioration of the exterior plaster.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Damage to plaster in attic. ªª There

appears to be a wood shingle lying on the roof above where the window is located in the previous note. It is not known exactly where this came from, but it might be from the edge of the adjacent front dormer. This area of the roof, (and all the roof as well) should be inspected for any loose or missing wood shingles, and corrective action should be taken immediately.

ªª The

exterior plaster on the left section of the northwest facing side of the house has a crack extending up between the top of the lower window and the bottom of the upper window above it. In addition, it appears that the exterior plaster parging has been repaired again in a number of areas and is showing some moisture damage along the repair to the right of the lower window noted previously. This area should be inspected to find the source of the issue and to determine repairs required to prevent further damage.

Northwest facade (Rear) of Dickinson House, November 2016. ªª The

downspout on the right corner of the left northwest section of the house is disconnected and lying on the ground. The downspout should be reconnected or replaced as necessary. Make sure the downspout turns out and extends well into the yard a sufficient distance to keep water away from the foundation. Clean debris from gutter at downspout connection.

ªª Remove

any climbing plant material from exterior wall surfaces as well as any live plants around the perimeter.

ªª The exterior plaster is cracked above the second floor

tenant entrance door to the soffit above. This crack should be sealed to prevent moisture from entering and causing more deterioration of the exterior plaster.

ªª The

exterior plaster is cracked from the upper right corner of the second floor window to the roof above on the right rear section of the house. This crack should be sealed to prevent moisture from entering and causing more deterioration of the exterior plaster.

ªª The

porch roof was removed at the northeast end of the house at some point. This has exposed the underlying stone wall and the edges of the parging to moisture and possible deterioration. At a minimum, this area should be inspected further and flashing installed to protect the top edge of plaster from moisture infiltration until such time that the porch roof is replaced.

Northeast end of Dickinson House, November 2016. Showing area of removed porch roof.



Crack in the plaster on the southwest gable.

Shingles should be examined, and any loose or damaged shingles should be repaired/replaced.

Multiple maintenance issues can be seen on the front of the house, including: loose shingles, basement doors, loose shutters, and downspouts.

Fa l l e n D o w n s p o u t

On the rear of the house there is a noticeable crack between the 1st and 2nd floor windows and a disconnected downspout.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Areas where parged walls have been previously repaired should be examined, and the fallen/disconnected downspout should be reconnected.

ªª The

basement door assembly is suspect in watertightness and should be checked to make sure that water is not getting into the basement. Paint has worn off the doors and associated framing and should be reapplied to protect the wood. The downspout located to the right of these doors does not extend out away from the house far enough to keep water away from the foundation. This should be modified.

ªª The

shutter to the left of the main entrance door in the front appears to have a broken or disconnected shutter hinge on the bottom. Repair hinge as required.

Repaint screen door on rear (Northwest Facade) of house.

Dickinson House addition on southwest end, which houses an updated kitchen on the first floor and residential apartment on second floor, November 2016.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN CARRIAGE HOUSE/WAGON SHED Historical Overview The stone Carriage House/Wagon Shed c. 1798 is located to the west side of, but in line with, the Dickinson House. It is separated from the house by a past entrance to a circular driveway accessed from Chemical Road. It was built in three sections with the center 1-1/2 story portion being the Carriage House. Stone enclosures to either side were originally roofed, but only the eastern one remains and it, as well as the Carriage House, has a wood shingle roof. As was previously indicated, the main level is occupied as a garage and storage for the Dickinson House residential tenant. The Carriage House portion of the structure has an upper floor accessible by a small, steep stair but is currently inaccessible. Small exterior window openings are placed on both the east and west sides as well as the north (rear) on the main level. There are also openings on the upper level south (front) and north (rear) gables. At grade level, there is a large stone arched opening on the north (rear) wall of the central portion of the structure that provided a storage area underneath. The floor above this opening is supported by exposed round log “joists” and a central wood beam with a round log column that has been supplemented with additional wood posts and framing. This was most likely done to remedy a sagging floor and increase the load capacity. An earlier drawing of the Carriage House also shows wood doors located at this opening where none exist now.

Priority action items ªª The

roof is covered with wood shingles (last replaced in 1986) that are nearing the end of their life and will need to be replaced in the near future. The underlying wood spaced sheathing members should also be inspected for rot that may have occurred from any roof leaks. Since it was not possible to access the upper floor of the Carriage House portion of the structure, particular attention should be paid to checking the condition of the entire roof there.

Northwest Elevation

Northeast Elevation

Southeast Elevation

Southwest Elevation

Carriage House/Wagon Shed Elevations, drawn by Steve Kuter, 1975.


Carriage House/Wagon Shed, circa 1970.

Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Southeast facade, Carriage House/Wagon Shed, December 2016. ªª Ivy

and other climbing plant material has established itself in the mortar joints of the stone. This is more evident in the front of the Carriage House. This growth will accelerate the deterioration of the mortar joints in the stone through root/tendril damage and trapping of moisture. It is recommended that the plant material be removed from the perimeter of the structures.

ªª Exposed

wood trim needs to be repainted. Surfaces should be scraped of loose paint and properly prepared for new coatings. This occurs particularly at the eaves but also at doors and windows as well.

Plant material should be removed from the Carriage House to prevent further degrading of the structure, October 2016.

Framing members should be examined for any signs of damage.



Rear of Carriage House/Wagon Shed plant material should be removed to prevent further deterioration of stone wall.

Arched opening at the rear of the Carriage House.

Shingles on Carriage House/Wagon Shed have reached the end of their usable life; missing/damaged shingles should be replaced/repaired until the entire roof can be replaced.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Original framing and newer additional supports beneath main floor of the Carriage House.

ENGLISH GROUND BARN Historical Overview The English Ground Barn c. 1798 (original larger section) is situated at an angle to the Carriage House. These two buildings appear to have been connected by a stone wall, which has deteriorated, to create a contained barnyard area that extends from the eastern side of the barn to the Carriage House. The barn is composed of two stone structures that were built at different times and are attached but slightly offset and not internally connected to each other. It is believed that the smaller (later) section was lower in height and eventually the roof was raised to make it match the height of the original section. Indications are that at least the larger section was a tri-level barn with full-height doors on both sides of a central drive-through. This divided the barn into two different areas most likely separating livestock from feed storage. The multiple “loft” levels no longer remain, but remnants of this framing can be seen as rotted portions of wood members set into the stone walls. The smaller barn section has separate openings in the exterior to access the upper floor area. Some limited loft framing members still exist but are in poor condition. The exterior stone walls support the roof framing, which has been entirely replaced (c. 1982) with modern preengineered wood roof trusses, plywood sheathing, and asphalt shingles. Portions of some gable ends have been infilled with modern wood framing and T-111 plywood siding where stone was missing or never located (c. 1982). Most doors have been replaced with new wood framing and T-111 plywood as well. As indicated previously, most of the interior loft framing has been lost to rot, likely due to the loss or poor condition of the previous roof. Remnants of this framing, which was set into the exterior stone walls, is still visible, and some members still remain.

Front (East) Elevation of barn, drawn by Steve Kuter, 1975.

There are three (3) tapered round sandstone piers at the south end of the larger barn that previously supported a lean-to style shed roof. Evidence of the connection of this roof to the stone wall of the barn is still visible. This roofed area may have been used for the covered storage of farm equipment. The west side (rear area) has stone walls constructed to form an enclosure behind both barn sections. Whether portions or all of this area were previously roofed is not known at this time.

Priority action items ªª Damage,

most likely caused by a falling tree or limb, has left a large opening with broken truss members framing the roof of the larger barn section where it abuts the smaller one on the rear. It has not yet been repaired and is exposed to weather. This damage should be repaired immediately. The non-historic engineered wood roof trusses that are damaged should have the wood replaced or sistered with new members and connectors as required. New plywood sheathing and asphalt shingles can be installed in the repaired area only. Failure to make the roof weathertight will lead to further deterioration. (See photos)

ªª The

gable end (facing the North of the property) of the smaller barn section has missing siding/trim at the edge of the roofing. There is also a hole in the siding that exposes the wood framing and the interior to the weather. This siding/trim should be replaced with matching T-111 plywood panels and painted to match.

ªª Ivy

and other climbing plant material has established itself in the mortar joints of the stone. This is evident in the rear of the structure where it is more heavily wooded and at the front corner closest to the Carriage



English Ground Barn, circa 1969.

Hole in roof of English Ground Barn as seen from Interior.

English Ground Barn, December 2016

Location of hole in roof of English Ground Barn as seen from rear of barn.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

English Ground Barn, October 2016

South Facade, English Ground Barn, December 2016

Stone piers at the South Facade of the English Ground Barn, the piers formerly supported a lean-to roof.

New roof trusses which replaced former structure, the roof was replaced since 1970.

Remains of framing for loft floors embedded in stone walls, seen from interior of larger portion of barn.

Remains of loft framing in smaller portion of barn.



View of northernmost barnyard to rear of English Ground Barn. barnyards are overgrown and will need to be cleared.

North end of barn showing missing sections of T-111 siding.

House. This growth will accelerate the deterioration of the mortar joints in the stone through root damage and trapping of moisture. It is recommended that the plant material be removed. ÂŞÂŞ The

bottoms of the doors are deteriorating from moisture wicking up from the ground/grass or splashing from rain. In most cases, the wood is newer material and not historic. Remove mold and patch/ repaint as required. Door hardware such as hinges may be older or historic and should be preserved.

Example of extent to which plant material has penetrated stone walls of barn.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

SMOKEHOUSE (SUMMER KITCHEN)/PRIVY Historical Overview The stone Smokehouse/Privy structure c. 1798 is located adjacent, but perpendicular to, the Dickinson House. It is parged in smooth exterior plaster (stucco) and has a roof covering of wood shingles (last replaced in 1986). The interior of the Smokehouse has smooth parged (stucco) walls, plastered ceiling and a wood plank floor (installed in 1987). There is a fireplace, “set kettle” for hot water, and wood cabinetry. It has relatively modern electrical power and lighting. The interior of the Privy walls are covered in tongue and groove wood paneling, and the floor has been removed, most likely due to reconstructive and stabilization work that has been completed below the floor level.

ªª The

wooden ramp leading from the brick patio to the Smokehouse entrance must be regularly inspected and maintained to keep an accessible route from the first floor of the Dickinson House clear and passable.

ªª On

the interior walls, there are areas of flaking paint/limewash with some effervescence indicating moisture infiltration. This occurs on most wall surfaces and may be accelerated by the lack of any ventilation on this structure. The interior and exterior should be thoroughly investigated for cracks and other defects that may lead to the moisture problems.

Priority action items ªª There

are cracks in the smooth exterior plaster parging (stucco) on both sides of the corner facing the Dickinson House. The nature of the cracking may indicate that a section of the plaster may be coming loose and should be sealed immediately to prevent moisture from entering and causing more deterioration of the exterior plaster. Northeast facade, Smokehouse/Privy, circa 1969.

Southeast Elevation

Northwest Elevation Smokehouse/Privy Elevations, drawn by Steve Kuter, 1975.

Northeast Elevation

Southwest Elevation



Shelves still hold a collection of tonic bottles and liniments.

Fireplace and adjacent set kettle.

Southwest Facade, Smokehouse/Privy, November 2016.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Wooden ramp from brick patio leading to Smokehouse entrance.

ªª The

Set Kettle brick structure needs to be repointed, particularly if it is to be made functional and used for demonstrations. It is not known if the top portion is constructed out of the proper brick, as evidenced by the different color and deterioration.

ªª The

Privy portion of the building does not have a floor. It may have been removed to repair the masonry foundation/supports. The floor should be reconstructed along with the rest of the privy seat in the future.

Examples of the extent to which the parged walls are damaged.

Examples of the extent to which the parged walls are damaged.

Cracks on the exterior of the Smokehouse/Privy.

Downspouts should be extended to make certain they direct any water well away from the base of the Smokehouse/Privy walls.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN ICEHOUSE Historical Overview The Icehouse is located in the rear of the property and constructed into the steep slope by Chemical Road. It is heavily wooded around the perimeter of the structure and only what appears to be the stone foundation walls remain.

Priority action items ÂŞÂŞ It

is not known if any further documentation of the icehouse exists. In the absence of this information, the interior of the foundation area should be investigated for any remaining construction material that could provide clues to the original structure. Plant material should be removed in and around the structure and an emphasis put on preserving the remains.

The icehouse ruins built into the slope along the northwestern edge of the site.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

ALBERTSON HOUSE Historical Overview The Jacob Albertson family acquired the Dickinson Farmstead in 1800. The Albertson House c. 1810 is located at the front portion of the property and is the first structure visible from the entrance drive off Sierra Road. Originally a tenant house on the Farmstead, the center section of the structure was the first part constructed dating to approximately 1810. Subsequent additions on both the east and west sides were added in the 1840s and early 1900s. The last addition to the east, which included the large wraparound porch, was of late Victorian style. The house is in the “T-Plan� configuration.

In 1941, the property was sold, most likely to Crawford and Ann Allison. The property was then purchased in 1969 by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). They also purchased the Dickinson House and its outbuildings the next year (1970). The Plymouth Meeting Historical Society was granted care of the properties in 1979 and then entered into a 50 year lease with PennDOT shortly thereafter. The Society eventually purchased both the Dickinson and Albertson properties from PennDOT in 1997 and the Albertson House was last used as the headquarters of the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society. The entire structure has been parged with smooth exterior plaster (stucco), which ties the different aged additions together and makes the house look more uniform. A

Southeast (above) and Northwest (below) elevations, drawn by Steve Kuter, 1975.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN wraparound porch was added in the last addition and has been repaired with newer bead board ceiling/roof sheathing and with new wood railings and balusters. There is a substantial quantity of vintage wood doors, shutters, and windows sashes stored under the porch where the lower level is exposed to grade. This portion of the house (the last addition) is essentially four (4) stories high. The side porch that faces the driveway and barn was constructed with a roof that wraps around the corner. It has a large multipane window wall in line with the remaining portion of wall that is constructed with wood Dutchlap siding. All roofs are asphalt shingles the last recorded replacement was in 1977 and all appear to be in good/fair condition. Records also show that gutters were replaced in 1985 and some portions of the cornice were also rebuilt in 1987.

Priority action items ªª Exterior

paint of windows, doors, and trim is checked and peeling. Scrape, sand, and repaint as required to maintain finish. Scrape, sand, and repaint metal shutter hardware latches/pulls/hinges/dogs to prevent rust.

ªª Exterior

coating (paint or limewash) of the parged exterior plaster (stucco) is cracked and peeling on the wall surfaces. This could be from poor surface preparation or moisture infiltration into the plaster. This occurs on most wall surfaces around the exterior. The exterior plaster may be cracked in these areas as

Southeast facade, Albertson House, November 2016.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

The wraparound porch looks toward the northeast end of the site and protects an at grade entrance to the basement.

well and should be investigated further. Any cracks should be sealed to prevent moisture from entering and causing further deterioration of the exterior plaster (stucco). ªª The

front dormer shows signs of moisture damage on the siding, trim, and paint is heavily weathered. Replace wood siding and trim, as required and repaint to maintain finish.

ªª Gutters

have debris and should be cleaned immediately. The gutter at the corner of the side porch should be repaired where damaged. There are no gutters located on the short roof sections between the dormers on the rear above that porch.

Damaged plaster in attic of Albertson House.

Water damage to ceiling on first floor of Albertson House.

Interior view of room on first floor of the Albertson House (Original Section of House).

Interior view of room on first floor of the Albertson House (Northeast Addition).



Albertson House, November 2016. Note gutter in need of replacement on porch roof.

Example of the checking and peeling of exterior paint on windows and doors.

At-grade entrance to basement protected by wraparound porch. Note damage to base of support; framing should be examined.

Porch on Northwest Facade, Albertson House, November 2016.

Albertson House, November 2016.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

General Maintenance A yearly maintenance and inspection plan should be established to promote annual inspections of all major building and site components. This program will help to prevent further deterioration of the structures and Farmstead. Such a program affords the opportunity to monitor defects for signs of worsening and determine when issues reach a point where they must be addressed. Many of the general maintenance items listed below originate from environmental conditions that could easily be managed inexpensively before problems compound to create larger, more costly repairs. ªª Debris and plant material should be cleaned from all gutters and downspouts to prevent blockages and allow water to drain off the roof and be directed away from the building. ªª Downspout connections should be checked, and downspouts should be directed away from building and extended as needed to ensure water is sent well away from the base of building. ªª Remove any climbing plant material from building facades, and remove any live plants that are growing around the perimeter of the building. ªª Check that all windows are closed and latched; check for broken glass and weathertightness. ªª Check roofs for missing and/or damaged shingles and signs of water penetration; replace/patch shingles as required. ªª Check doors for weathertightness, and clean plant/leaf debris from thresholds (particularly entrances to basements and barn doors). ªª Clean debris from building interior, verify extent of any water damage, and verify whether any leaks remain. ªª Trim and/or limb-up any trees that hang over or rest on building roofs to prevent deterioration or damage to shingles.




Recreation and Heritage Opportunities



Recreation and Heritage Opportunities The Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan sets the stage for planning the opportunities to be available at Dickinson Farmstead. Dickinson Farmstead represents an exciting opportunity for Plymouth Township: a blend of history, heritage, architecture, nature, and recreation combined in a new park. The opportunities here will align with changing recreation needs and experiences that people desire: a connection to their heritage and nature through recreational experiences close to home. Experiencing a blend of history, architecture, and nature going back three centuries is typically possible in national parks and major historic destinations, but rarely at the local level. Dickinson Farmstead Park offers opportunities to celebrate Plymouth Township’s heritage through interpretation, recreation programs, use of facilities for socializing and special occasions, environmental education, safe walking and cycling, and play in the great outdoors. With a trail head on the CrossCounty Trail, Plymouth Township will establish itself as a tourism destination, one of the region’s major industries and an economic generator. This will be an important way to showcase Plymouth Township as the special community with a premier park and recreation system.

ªª Students participating in environmental, heritage, and

lifelong learning programs;

ªª School

groups who will come to the Park to learn about history by experiencing a historical site first hand – and enjoy it sparking their interest in civics and heritage; and

ªª Audiences

of a size appropriate to the site, seeking activities such as performances, lectures, and displays of interpretive exhibits.

These users will require a different level of service requiring varied assistance, knowledge, skills, and expertise by Parks and Recreation Department staff. In addition to enjoying the park, these visitors are also a source of good-will, revenue, potential partnerships, and future stewards vital to sustaining the park long-term.

OPPORTUNITIES The collective set of recreational, informational, interpretive, and educational materials, programs, media, and facilities that will serve to enhance the experience of the park will be the foundation for the development of the program management plan for the park. This includes: ªª Kiosks or bulletin boards with information, education,

or safety messages upon arrival into the park;

ªª Publications

WHO WILL USE DICKINSON FARMSTEAD? Dickinson Farmstead will serve many types of users including: ªª Recreationists

using the park for play, fun, fitness, relaxation, and community building through participation in special events;

ªª Customers

who will rent or lease facilities for their own, one-time activities or events as well as the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society, which will call the Park home;

ªª Guests who will be invited to park facilities being used

for private events;


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

such as educational brochures, booklets, checklists, or flyers;

ªª The Plymouth Meeting Historical Society exhibits; ªª Signage, including park and facility names, orientation

and wayfinding information, rules and regulations, and interpretation;

ªª Organized,

scheduled programs for recreation, historical and heritage education, and environmental education for families, school groups, or other visitors;

ªª Guided

walks, talks, tours, or demonstrations, and programs; and

ªª Safety information.


CONSIDERATIONS TO SUPPORT PROGRAM MOVING FORWARD PLANNING, IMPLEMENTATION, AND The Program Management Plan should be flexible and easily EVALUATION The program management plan is not a static document. It should be viewed as a dynamic and useful tool for guiding the development and implementation of expanded opportunities in the Plymouth Township parks and recreation system, complementing opportunities in naturebased Harriet Wetherill Park, active recreation areas, and future trails and riverfront connections. As such, a program management plan can serve the following purposes: ªª A planning tool to determine staffing, expertise, skills,

maintenance, and customer service resources needed for optimal public service.

ªª A communication tool to engage elected and appointed

officials, partners, community based organizations, staff and stakeholders in discussion of priorities and, how they are set, and about the disciplined decisionmaking necessary to achieve the vision the Township has for Dickinson Farmstead.

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marketing tool to showcase rich visitor experiences and to stimulate interest in the community’s heritage, the parks and recreation system, and Plymouth Township as a great place to live, work, operate a business, raise a family, and retire.

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monitoring tool to track progress over time about recreation, education, and interpretive initiatives and to provide benchmarks against which future initiatives might be compared and evaluated.

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funding tool to demonstrate to potential donors or funders that the Parks and Recreation Department has clear and strategic efforts underway in Dickinson Farmstead and that there are numerous, wellconceived, and focused opportunities for providing and enhancing visitor experiences here.

adaptable as circumstances change or new information and opportunities become available. The multifaceted roles of the Parks and Recreation Department as a direct provider of programs and services; as a facilitator of programs to be offered by others or undertaken as facility renters; and as a resource for information about opportunities here will be explored. The plan will focus on opportunities for the various users described above; resources needed including expertise, staffing, maintenance, and funding; and the development of resources to offset costs through a mix of public and private resources, fees, charges, grants, gifts, bequests, partnerships, and sponsorships. The final portion of the plan will be a specific action plan for the first year of operation and the steps leading up to that.

SITE PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS Based on the key findings identified through the existing conditions assessment, key physical site factors were identified. The following Site Planning Considerations Diagram illustrates the key site factors that may influence the master planning process in terms of layout and configuration, and how they relate to each other. Using this information, combined with the programmatic opportunities identified through the planning process, a Schematic Site Programming Diagram was prepared. This diagram illustrates a conceptual organizational strategy for programming on the site. In addition to background factors and programming opportunities, the diagram also takes into account the interrelationships among the various elements. Obviously, the existing structures are a major driver of where new facilities can be placed on the site, with the key understanding that the integrity of the historic core of the farmstead must be maintained. The diagram also illustrates that the site affords many opportunities to serve the community’s day-to-day recreational needs as well as function as a truly unique and special events venue.

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decision tool to organize and guide decisions about meaningful visitor experiences, conservation and use of the facilities, and the park’s environmental and financial sustainability.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN BUILDING UTILIZATION & ADAPTIVE REUSE CONSIDERATIONS The suite of historical structures at the Dickinson Farmstead Park can provide the township with an excellent source of rental revenue as well as educational resources. The structures on the site have a great deal of potential for adaptive reuse and can be developed either as a whole or by themselves as necessary. The buildings with the most potential for adaptive reuse are the English Ground Barn and the Dickinson House. Both of these structures can be developed into wonderful resources for the park that can provide amenities and services both to the park and the community at large. The Dickinson Farmstead’s historical buildings can provide the park and Township with a wealth of opportunities if carefully developed in a manner that preserves and respects the historical fabric of the structures and site.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan


















S c h e m a t i c S i t e P ro g r a m m i n g D i a g r a m 59



Master Plan and Proposed Improvements



Master Plan and Proposed Improvements The master plan for Dickinson Farmstead Park builds upon and enhances the fundamental characteristics of the site that makes it attractive to the Township to acquire for public use. The site has numerous attributes that lends it to a desirable park users’ experience, including historic structures, varied landscapes, and its accessible location. The master plan recommends a design that highlights the historic farmstead core and provides several much needed amenities that the surrounding neighborhood desires. The master plan examines potential options for the adaptive reuse of the farmstead’s historic structures and recommendations that will benefit the Township by providing educational and revenue generating opportunities. The overall design approach focuses on increasing the utilization of the site by the public through increased opportunities for both dayto-day recreational utilization and for special events. This is achieved by sensitively adding passive recreational facilities that are complimentary to the historic aspects of the site and enhancing the conservation and visitor readiness of the site and the historic structures. The master plan achieves this by balancing recommendations that focus on aspects such as: the quality of the historic landscape plantings; emphasizing, enriching, and interpreting the historic value of the site; and sensitively inserting circulation infrastructure and supporting facilities to “tie everything together” into a highly functional and visually pleasing experience for a park user. The master plan considers a long-term timeline for implementation and management horizon; it is a 20-year plan. The master plan establishes a framework for decisionmaking and determines the best opportunities to conserve and maintain what is best about the Dickinson Farmstead, while also capitalizing on the resources available and ways to make it an enticing public park facility. It also recommends sustainable capital improvements, including fiscal, maintenance, ecological, and social sustainability, by identifying management practices that support the master plan vision in the near, mid, and long-term. To that end, it ensures that as each action is undertaken they build upon the overall vision of the master plan and compliment the overall quality of the site, especially for park users. Although a fixed site plan showing proposed locations for numerous proposed park improvements and facilities is provided, the master plan should not be construed as an “absolute” design. It sets overall potential programmatic


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

opportunities and parameters of how improvements might be organized and their potential relationships with each other, as well as with special sensitivity to ecological and design/aesthetic aspects. None of the recommendations in this master plan could yield direct “constructible” projects and only provides a potential framework for more detailed design. The master plan was prepared with the understanding that it should be flexible to adapt to changing conditions and decision-making over time. The following is an overall description of each of the key park master plan elements. The emphasis in this section is the description of what is proposed, why it is proposed and where it is proposed, and not necessarily how it would be designed, but instead provides guidance, when appropriate to aesthetics and other design considerations.

OVERALL ORGANIZATION FRAMEWORK – THREE KEY ZONES Fundamentally, there are a few distinct experiential areas within the site that form the organization framework for the master plan. These areas have different themes, and as result, establish a set of design and management criteria that guides each aspect within the area, whether it is type of activity, approach to design, material selection, etc. The following are the key areas that form the overall organization framework for the site. Farmstead Core – This area is defined roughly by the proposed historic covenant to be placed on the property to legally define the limits of primary preservation and conservation of historically significant resources. This sensitivity to treatment within this area supports the concepts of visitor experience and sense of immersion. Civic Landscape – These are areas outside of the farmstead core yet within the site that provide opportunities for more regular forms of recreation, such as a youth play area, and lawn areas. Other infrastructure elements necessary to fully support the utilization of the site as defined in the master plan vision, such as parking lots, stormwater management, and trails and walking paths, all contribute civic value to the site. Woodland/Naturalized Context and Buffer – Creating a transitional zone between the modern context of the neighborhood and the site, especially the farmstead core, is important to create the sense of visitor immersion that

supports the historic experience of the site, as described above. Fortunately, this buffer landscape exists today, but it can be greatly enhanced through landscape plantings that respond to site specific conditions along each boundary. The larger woodland area in the western and northern portions of the site provide an extremely valuable buffer and are a desirable setting themselves for passive recreational and ecological education. The areas along Sierra Road and the adjacent service station to the east, can be enhanced to further buffer the site and in the case of the Sierra Road frontage create a stronger sense of arrival to the site for both visitors on foot or via automobile.




The three areas that form the framework are most defined by the treatment of landscape, and the relation of buildings to landscape. A major aspect of the master plan focuses on the idea of carefully crafting design and management of the vegetation and landscape for the overall basis of the Dickinson Farmstead. Too often site master plans focus on the construction intensive “built” elements and gives short shrift to the landscape. This master plan does propose significant build elements; however, for these elements to feel site appropriate and nestled into the site, most have well designed landscape treatments that include plantings and supporting elements such as walls, fences, walking surfaces, lighting, signing, etc. The Dickinson Farmstead Park’s master plan’s design consists of categorizing areas within the site into a series of specific landscape zones. These zones are defined by the overall landscape planting and management approach most suited to specific areas, either as a result of existing vegetation, the historic and cultural context, or the realignment or reprogramming of areas within the site as part of the site vision and the overall site organizational framework.

Special emphasis is given to the promotion of: ªª Ecosystem Diversity: This promotes a variety of broad

landscape types in the form of ecosystems and habitats that are considered regionally or site appropriate, and therefore provide greater site diversity because of the overall factors that impact what species will thrive in particular conditions.

ªª Species

Diversity: Species diversity is supported by ecosystem diversity which enhances the opportunity for greater variety and abundance of species and organisms that inhabit a specific ecosystem or habitat.

ªª Historic

and Cultural Significance: Plantings should follow cultural precedence for the period of significance of the farmstead core. The group of buildings as a unit establishes a historical spatial experience within the site. This experience must be reinforced with a landscape appropriate to the farmstead condition; it cannot not be a modern “landscaper” treatment of a c. 2017 suburban landscape. Since the site is a public site, it can be orderly, but should not be manicured in a manner that is consistent with the historical use of the site. Plant material within this zone should likely be what is referred to as “straight species” and special modern cultivars even if the species of the cultivar is correct for the period.

These landscape zones are indicative of regional habitats and are promoted within the master plan as the contextual and fundamental landscape treatments. It is important to note that the management of these landscape zones is equally important, or more important, than the initial location and selection of landscape elements and plantings.

Farmstead Core The farmhouses, English Ground Barn, and outbuildings will serve as the centerpiece of the Farmstead Core aesthetic being created in this area of the site. As part of the implementation of the master plan, this area should rely on deliberate planting and/or management to be created or maintained and informed, at least aesthetically, on the site’s historic use as a farmstead. Key elements of the planting approach to this area are the avoidance of typical foundational plantings, but instead plantings focused more on what would have been utilitarian in value. For example, what might have been a cutting or vegetable garden behind the Albertson House could be replicated with a mix of period appropriate plants that were used for domestic purposes, such as for dying, medicinal, herbs, food preservation, etc. This would create an aesthetic treatment that is appropriate for this zone of the site and provide an educational opportunity. Obviously, the design of such landscape elements must take into account the level maintenance required. A good example


PA R K M ASTER PLAN of this approach can be seen at the Peter Wentz Farmstead, a historic site owned by Montgomery County. (http://www. montcopa.org/929/Peter-Wentz-Farmstead) An emphasis should be placed on canopy and understory trees within this zone. These plantings can aid in establishing a visual organization for the area, are supported by historical precedence, and will provide valuable shade to the historic buildings. Early Pennsylvania farmsteads were noted for the planting of large sycamores around their farmhouses to provide abundant summer shade to the homes. The Dickinson Farmstead site has several large sycamores that are likely 100+ years old, although several are in decline. Key Design/Management Recommendations: Additional research on the historical aspects of the site’s landscape is required beyond the scope of what can be covered in the preparation of this master plan. As discussed in the Chapter 1 – Background Assessment, NPS guideline documents for cultural landscape should be utilized to established a detail landscape plan and management strategy for the landscape with the Farmstead Core zone. Although it is not intended that the Township should adhere to strict historical practices to determine what and how the landscape within the Farmstead Core is planted and maintained, the result of effect should evoke a character appropriate to the period of significance of the complex of structures to reinforce the historical context and value of the buildings and landscape combined, as a complete cultural resource unit.

Civic Landscape The Civic Landscape is the most park-like in the traditional sense, of the three zones that forms the overall landscape of the Dickinson Farmstead Park. It is the setting that provides the greatest flexibility in terms of the ability to introduce modern facilities to the site and provide the supporting infrastructure and services needed to make the entire site fully functional and visitor ready. Common Lawn: Turf grass is considered a landscape treatment to be used only in areas where it supports a specific purpose or desired effect. It is not utilized as a “default” treatment just to cover land. In most cases it should be a limited landscape treatment that is utilized for areas where there is a medium level of public traffic or places where informal play activities can occur. In the case of Dickinson Farmstead Park, turf is primarily utilized in the locations between Sierra Road and the Albertson House, where it will be most effective as a facility to support informal and formal activities and complements the overall landscape planting approach, especially from the standpoint of creating a viewshed into the site.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Key Design/Management Recommendations: Limiting the amount of lawn as much as possible should be a practice throughout Dickinson Farmstead Park to reduce the disturbance and impact to the site’s naturalized landscape and to allow for better management and maintenance of the programmed and high use areas. Areas where turf is to occur should be graded and drained to potential support its intense use for special events, including large tents. As a result, this turf will likely require much more intensive mowing and organic fertilization than other areas. In all cases, chemical fertilizers and pesticides should not be used as a general practice of turf management.

Woodland/Natural Context and Buffer Plymouth Township is located within the Piedmont section of the oak-chestnut forest region of the eastern deciduous forest. Common canopy trees included red oak, white oak, beech, chestnut, hickory, red maple, white ash, and tuliptree. On the dry upper slopes such as those in the Dickinson Farmstead, chestnut oak, black oak, sourgum, sassafras, and chestnut, are typically the dominant species. The diversity of the woodland in the park seems to be diminished and the number of new saplings needed to regenerate the forest is also greatly lacking. Most of the understory vegetation is non-native and invasive. For example, in the primary woodland area located in the western portions of the site, behind the English Ground Barn, invasive vines and burning bush (Euonymus alatus) dominate and are likely crowding out the ability for the native trees to regenerate. It is important to enhance the quality and character of the woodlands on the site, both to create a natural context to support the experience of immersion into the interior of the site, but also to buffer the Farmstead Core from the modern surrounding uses. Hedgerow buffers, which are forms of woodlands with denser understory and shrub plantings, will be especially important. Hedgerow buffers typically differ from the natural forests in several ways. They typically do not include all of the plant layers of a true stratified forest and have some level of man-influenced disturbance. They will also likely include a mixture of native and non-native plant species to create a more idealized “garden-like” yet very much naturalized and informal aesthetic and provide greater density to block undesirable view. These planting areas, which typically require a higher level of maintenance and management, are used strategically for visual effect, yet in a cost-conscious manner. These planting are typically located at key places, such as around parking areas and property boundaries with private properties, depending on the specific site conditions. In Dickinson Farmstead,

layered landscape buffers are proposed around three primary locations: around the Farmstead on the north and northeastern sides to buffer traffic from Chemical Road and from the proposed parking lot and along the fence line with the adjacent Lukoil gas station property, and at the edge of the Farmstead Core, near the play area.

composition should be prepared. Understanding the overall composition, especially in terms of diversity of each layer of the vegetation ecosystem can aid in determining both their health and their potential risk for long-term survival and resiliency to future threats.

Key Design/Management Recommendations: The management of the park’s landscape, which includes all aspects of vegetation, is extremely important in maintaining the current character of the site. The master plan proposes several key management or design principles that would shape a cohesive and a viable long-term strategy for vegetation within the park. This discussion emphasizes aspects for each layer of a typical forest ecosystem from top to bottom: Super Tree Canopy/Canopy; Understory Trees; Shrub; and Herbaceous (ground layer). The management strategy for all areas of the park should focus on the removal of invasive plant species, especially vines such as various species of honeysuckle, and other invasive exotics such as Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica); Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima); Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata); Beefsteak Plant (Perilla frutescens); and several species of Thistle (Cirsium species). Removal at a minimum should follow the Pennsylvania DCNR Invasive Plants list recommended procedures. Edge areas are particularly vulnerable to invasive species so special attention should be given to their removal in these areas and the planting of native successional edge species. This includes the border line of Chemical Road, Sierra Road, and the property line adjacent to the Lukoil Gas station which are high disturbance areas that allow invasive species to flourish. Edge conditions are also critical habitat areas that support animal species that do not occur in other areas due to their unique locational attributes of plant cover near open areas for feeding. Steeper sloped areas should be monitored for signs of erosion damage, especially in the future caused by visitors venturing off designated trails or creating rogue trails that follow vertical slopes. Target areas within the overall woodland should be identified for long-term monitoring for species health and diversification. New native species could be propagated in the site and introduced to ensure that greater diversification is achieved along with preservation of future canopy cover. Canopy Tree Management and Diversification - The monitoring of the existing trees should be performed to classify each canopy tree by its overall health. An inventory of tree species in terms of percentage of overall species

The woodland area suffers from extensive invasive exotics proliferation and the lack of canopy tree regeneration.

For example, during the first decade of the twentieth Century, the chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica) was introduced to the eastern USA and Canada. Prior to the introduction, American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was a dominant tree species in North American temperate deciduous forests ecosystems especially in southeastern Pennsylvania and Plymouth Township. However, over the course of a few decades, virtually all of the stands with mature chestnuts were killed. The blight largely affects older trees, so chestnut is still present across much of its former range but was reduced to an understory tree (i.e., shrub/sapling). Even as the chestnut was being removed as a major ecosystem component, oaks (Quercus sp.), maples (Acer sp.), ashes (Fraxinus sp.), and other species were filling the gaps left by the chestnuts. Fraxinus sp., Quercus sp., Carya sp., and Acer sp. all have wide natural ranges and each is highly adaptable to individual site conditions. These forests have regenerated following the disturbance, and over time, tree species replacement within the stand filled the functional role of lost species, suggesting high resilience1. Currently, Fraxinus species (ash) are subject to largescale decimation as a result of the emerald ash borer, and Northeastern deciduous forests are subject to large-scale adjustment in composition. The application of these facts to Dickinson Farmstead Park, however, is not directly applicable because there is nearly no natural regeneration

Forest Resilience, Biodiversity, and Climate, Change; A Synthesis of the Biodiversity/Resilience/Stability Relationship in Forest Ecosystems, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2009.



PA R K M ASTER PLAN of the tree canopy, since the park since the majority of the understory is either mowed, or is highly disturbed and impacted by dense invasive species. The woodlands on the site are at best surviving as forest remnant than as a true forest, therefore it is important to expand the management protocols to introduce an aspect of natural forest regeneration, albeit man-made, to replicate in some form, natural regeneration. Through this process care should be given to promote diversity now, not after an unforeseen threat to oaks and maples may arise, therefore protecting the future tree canopy and increasing the resiliency of the park’s vegetation as time passes. Increasing Understory, Shrub and Herbaceous Vegetation – Although there are not large areas of turf its coverage in the site should not be expanded. The master plan proposes to maintain turf in areas where it would be best support park user activities and be easiest to maintain (see Turf/ Lawn). The introduction of areas of layered vegetation as a replacement for turf is proposed along the boundaries of the parks, in areas of steep slopes, along pathway edges and at pedestrian gateway areas into the park. Several variations of the layered planting “zones” are proposed depending on specific conditions. They include a fully layered vegetation condition; a modified layered condition, without a shrub layer; and a managed view-shed condition without understory trees and the strategic placement of shrubs. In all cases the plantings in these areas should be native and indigenous species as much as possible, with the possible minimal inclusion of disease or pest resistant cultivars that closely match the straight species. Forest/Woodland Gardens – The master plan identifies opportunities for the strategic creation of accent plantings that will reinforce a sense of arrival and accent specific focal points within the “civic landscape” zone. These areas generally will be relatively small in comparison to the overall park area, should be highly naturalized in character, yet place an emphasis on visual and aesthetic interest and potentially consist of more “showy” variations and cultivars of native plant species or complementary non-invasive exotic species. The intent of these gardens is to limit the more maintenance intensive plantings in locations where they will have the greatest impact. Partnerships with local volunteer groups should be explored to support the implementation and regular maintenance and care of these areas. Turf/Lawn – The master plan proposes one main lawn area in the front of the Albertson House. It is designed to provide a broad swath of un-programmed lawn area for a variety of uses and activities. It is important to note that turf comes at a cost, both in terms of maintenance and from the


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

perspective of overall ecological health and its impact on the health of the canopy trees, limiting it to areas where it is most valuable is prudent. Turf is also proposed in a limited basis in the area in front and around the Dickinson House. This application would provide some additional flexible lawn space in the Farmstead Core and would also replace foundation plantings which are not historically appropriate.

STORMWATER MANAGEMENT As part of the site development plan, resolving potential stormwater issues is important and should be incorporated with the design of the park, as new impervious coverage is added through new facilities. In address permitting requirements and to help alleviate stormwater issues, stormwater management facilities are proposed as part of the parking lot design and construction. To control the amount of water runoff from the new perimeter trail and the complex of buildings above, a bioretention and infiltration area is proposed on the southwestern edge of the trail and proposed parking lot. This will collect existing runoff and additional runoff from the new circulation and the parking area. To combat the potential for the pooling of water on the adjacent properties, the new parking lot will include stepped micro-pool management facilities on the lower northeastern corner of the property to collect, infiltrate, direct, and help alleviate runoff during intense rain events. The overflow runoff from this system will be directed and drained to flow into the existing underground storm sewer system crossing the eastern portion of the site. These stormwater management areas can also serve as opportunities for interpretive and educational features to teach about the process of stormwater management and green infrastructure. Limestone outcroppings and karst geology are highly prevalent throughout Plymouth Township. The presence of the nearby Limestone kilns is a visual reminder of this geologic condition. Karst geology can result in sinkholes, especially when stormwater is concentrated. There are several large depressions at the sloping area between the Albertson House and the location of the proposed parking lot that could be a result of limestone erosion. As a result, it may be warranted to line all of concentrated stromwater facilities with a geotextile membrane, creating a detention condition versus a retention and infiltration process that could result in sinkholes and/or geologic structural undermining on the site.

CIRCULATION AND ACCESS Vehicular Circulation and Parking Vehicular access and sufficient off-street parking are important aspects of making Dickinson Farmstead ready to function as a true public facility. The master plan proposes improvements to the vehicular, as well bicycle and pedestrian, access to the site that aim to not only support the new park facility, but also alleviate some of the current issues observed in the area as a result of the current vehicular circulation configuration. The first set of improvements focuses on the configuration, character, and functionality of Sierra Road and how it meets the entrance driveway to the site. The improvements include reconfiguration of the entrance by realigning the driveway as it enters the site to create a 90 degree alignment with Sierra Road. The existing curb cut would be maintained. The driveway would also be widened to 20’ to allow for twoway travel to the new parking area while creating as little impact to the site as possible. This will create a safer way of travel and access to the property. The primary driveway route will direct vehicles to the parking area. These spaces will provide parking opportunities for park visitors for events as well as informal visits to the park. This parking will be directly adjacent to the park’s main circulation trails, giving easy access into the Farmstead Core as well as to the Cross County Trail. The parking lot is configured as split in two by angling the lot to reduce the sense of scale within the landscape. The plan shows how a lot with 42 parking spaces (including 2 ADA accessible spaces) is accommodated. It is recommended that the lot be curbed with the ability to provide direct drainage into a collection swale and/or conveyance system on its eastern edge. Permeable paving should be evaluated to reduce stormwater runoff, although with the intended level of tree coverage, it may be difficult to maintain its porosity over time. The parking is buffered with both landscape plantings and farm-like stone walls along the entry drive. A smaller service parking area consisting of four parking spaces (including 2 ADA accessible spaces) is provided adjacent to the play area and English Ground Barn. This parking could also serve the daily users of the historic buildings and staff. Additional occupant parking is available in and adjacent to the Carriage House and Wagon Shed. The service drive to the Farmstead Core should be designed to evoke a residential scale driveway to avoid creating an

institutional or commercial character near and within the interior of the site. This drive is intended only to be used by service vehicles, for ADA accessibility, and by occupants of the buildings. The drive should be widened to accommodate larger vehicles. This is proposed to be achieved by adding granite cobble aprons to keep the aesthetic of a traditional drive while providing sufficient additional width to the English Ground Barn and adjacent service parking. The remaining vehicular access within the Farmstead Core should be constructed with fine crushed/decomposed granite in order to minimize disturbance of the cultural landscape zone around the existing historic buildings.

Pedestrian Circulation The master plan strives to take advantage of the site’s existing character, while improving and transforming it into an accessible and viable public amenity. Pedestrian circulation is critical for the park to function well and to provide park goers proper access. The proposed trail circulation system within the park creates a series of formalized pedestrian routes and also provides a circulation spine that highlights the various landscape elements and varied experiences within the site. The proposed pedestrian circulation will allow access to all areas of the park without the need for patrons to walk through landscape planting areas or through turf areas during seasonal wet periods. A main circulation trail is proposed within the Farmstead Core, and access is also provided through the park’s natural wooded areas. The primary pedestrian circulation loop is proposed as a 6’ to 8’ wide trail of varying surface treatments, depending on the location. The width will allow two park users to comfortably walk side-by-side. It would wrap around the Farmstead portions of the park in a meandering pattern and would circulate to all significant park features, including the proposed play area, parking lot, the icehouse overlook, and park facilities. This trail should be built to allow utility and/ or emergency vehicle access to these main park features. Circulation will likely require retaining structures in some areas, particularly near the stormwater management and parking area. Trails would also be created through the natural woodland area of the park. Trails can vary in width from 5’ to 10’ and consist of either decomposed granite (a very finely crushed stone) with an epoxy binder to maintain stability of the surface or rolled asphalt. This secondary trail would lead to the icehouse lookout and through the woodland management areas. The other remaining trail would connect to the park through the adjacent neighborhood on Kings


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Road creating a second important entrance to the park. The addition of this trail would help with the connection of the neighborhoods and reduce unsanctioned activities by opening up access to the “rear” of the park. The creation of the neighborhood linkage would require the acquisition of a right-of-way or easement from the adjacent property owner.

to the English Ground Barn will include new restroom facilities that will be open when the event space is in use and their construction will require the installation of new underground utilities which can easily be extended to the adjacent new park restroom as well.

The various trails through the park are proposed to be treated in different materials, based on their level of service, context, and their role in reinforcing the overall aesthetic desires in special locations. Durability, ADA accessibility, and maintenance intensity are considerations that influence the proposed selection of materials.

The facility would consist of individual unisex toilet rooms that would be fully accessible and contain baby changing stations. Consideration for security issues are important since the park may not be open after dark except of special events. Locks on doors to prevent after hour use must also keep individuals from getting locked inside. Sufficient perimeter lighting and security cameras should also be employed.

Cross-County Trail


A new Cross-County trailhead is proposed to connect trail users from the parking area to Chemical Road. Providing this trailhead will open up park access to other surrounding neighborhoods and provide a regional destination both as a starting and ending point for the trail. Pedestrian crossing upgrades are already provided at the intersection of Chemical Road and the Metroplex entrance. Bicycle and pedestrian improvements may be necessary on the north side of Chemical Road to complete the trailhead connection. Creating a pedestrian entry to the park on the Chemical Road side will enhance the visibility of the site to the public.


Adjacent to the English Ground Barn and courtyard, a play area is proposed that would feature natural and site inspired landform elements, as well as elements that might draw inspiration from the historic nature of the site, instead of conventional play equipment. This play area is the main element of the Civic Landscape zone and will be located at the top of the main lawn with pedestrian circulation conveniently connecting it to the parking area and Sierra Road. This location will allow the play area to be easily accessed for vehicular ADA purposes and by foot. The play equipment would be designed to compliment the historic character of the site and its architecture. Such equipment would strive to promote creative play and environmental education. It would focus on interactive and creative play.

The to-be-created Dickinson Farmstead Park currently does not contain any public restroom facilities for visitors. There are restrooms located within both the Dickinson and Albertson Houses, however these are residential in nature and would be required to be renovated for code compliance and accessibility. They would also need to be located on an accessible route. Separate facilities also require additional security and maintenance, and would impact the use of the buildings in which they are located. There is a possibility of renovating a portion of the first floor of the Albertson House into restrooms that could be accessed directly from the exterior, but it may be simpler and more efficient for the Township to consider building a completely new facility located at a more ideal location to serve the entire site. The master plan proposes a new restroom facility constructed adjacent to the play area which would also be in close proximity to the courtyard, and the English Ground Barn. This location is better suited for both visitor and utility access. Also, the proposed addition


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

The types of construction materials can influence the play behavior as well as how enticing equipment is for play. Natural materials and construction material must be durable and high-quality and can be sculptural, especially when compared with “out of a catalog” standard, bright green, plastic options.

types of social events and festivals by providing a unique atmosphere nestled in the Farmstead Core and easily accessible to the amenities in the barn.


Consideration of form and color can allow modern play equipment to feel site appropriate and supportive of creative play.

Children can sense what is unique and special; design aspects such as the special arrangement of objects and the integration of traditional with siteinspired can create repeatedly engaging activities for all age groups.

EVENTS COURTYARD Located at the heart of the Farmstead Core is a proposed hardscaped courtyard that would be located directly in front of the historic English Ground Barn and be bounded by several historic stone walls. The courtyard would provide an extension of the interior events space within the English Ground Barn and increase the amount of area available to any event held at the park. By creating an area that could be used either as an outdoor gathering space or for the placement of a large event tent, the courtyard would significantly increase the functionality of the park as an event venue . The courtyard could cater to numerous

The earliest portions of the Dickinson House date back to the mid-1700s and the structure is notable as both the oldest structure on the Farmstead as well as possibly being the oldest existing house in Plymouth Meeting. The house currently serves as a meeting place for the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society and a small portion of the second floor is occupied by residential tenants. As part of the tentative sales agreement between the Township and the Historical Society, a portion of the building is to remain available for use by the Historical Society. The remainder of the building offers the Township a multitude of different opportunities for reuse. The current residential tenants have kept the upstairs apartment in impeccable condition, and the rest of the second floor could be portioned into other apartments as well. Having residential tenants on site is an excellent way to keep an eye on the status of the park and their presence could serve as a deterrent to vandalism. The ground floor of the Dickinson House affords the opportunity to create further rental income for the Township if it were to be used for small professional offices. Tenants (such as lawyers, accountants, etc.) with a smaller clientele base and who do not need expansive office space might find the historic nature of the structure and site as an ideal incentive to invest in the location. On the other hand, the rooms on the first floor might be rented out on an as-needed basis for meetings of smaller groups, or be used for historic exhibits. The Dickinson House could easily become one of the most profitable resources within the park and come to be considered one of the Township’s crowning achievements in adaptive reuse.

Carriage House/Wagon Shed Directly adjacent to the Dickinson House, the Carriage House/Wagon Shed is currently used as both a storage and parking area for the current tenants in the Dickinson House, and it is proposed that this arrangement be maintained. The Wagon Shed is the most logical location for parking for tenants, and with some minor restrictions concerning the amount/nature of storage within the Carriage House, the current arrangement is the most reasonable use for the structure.



Rendering of the proposed courtyard and improvements to the English Ground Barn.

English Ground Barn Originally built in 1798, the English Ground Barn is the most flexible and easily adaptable structure of the Dickinson Farmstead. It is proposed that the English Ground Barn be repurposed as the main event space for the park. The barn currently has two large interior rooms that could be used as separate event spaces that might house roughly 169 and 129 occupants respectively (see Appendix A for a preliminary review of Building Code considerations). An additional outdoor seating area is proposed on the side of the barn. To the rear, an addition is proposed which would house service and support spaces for the event space, as well as new restroom facilities. The new addition would incorporate the remaining portions of the historic stone walls behind the barn and these would form the bases of the walls of the new Restroom Facilities as well as a new Lobby/Gallery space that would serve as a buffer between the main event spaces and the new service spaces. The new event space would maintain the barn’s main doors as an element of a new main entrance which would become a means of both access and natural light into the building. The space will create an indoor/outdoor experience by allowing these doors to be opened to the proposed courtyard so that guests might be drawn out into the heart of the historic Farmstead. To help support any events, a suite of amenities have been proposed for the addition to the rear of the barn. As guests move from the main event spaces to the rear they will encounter a new Gallery that will sensitively incorporate the historic walls of the original barn and blend these into the new modern structure of the


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

addition. Restrooms, Storage/Service Room, Mechanical Room, and a Catering Kitchen will all be housed within the new addition. The Catering Kitchen will not be a fully outfitted kitchen but will provide the necessary means to perform simple prep and clean-up for events. On the south facing elevation of the English Ground Barn there is a proposed outdoor seating area. There is clear evidence on the exterior wall of the barn of a former leanto style shed roof, and this is further supported by the stone columns offset from the wall. A pergola style roof is proposed to be installed at this location to create a seating area that could serve both event goers as well as a resting or picnic spot for families visiting the play area. Capable of catering to many differing types of events, from weddings to business retreats, the Farmstead Park would afford a distinctive, culturally, and historically rich environment. This event space would also provide the Township with a unique venue opportunity to attract and house events that they may not be able to accommodate or attract otherwise.

English Ground Barn Roof Repair The English Ground Barn roof is currently damaged from what was most likely a past fallen tree or limb. This left a large opening with broken wood roof truss members at the connection between the larger barn section and the smaller one. In order to prevent any further deterioration to the roof framing, temporary repairs need to be completed as soon as possible. The current roof consists of non-historic engineered wood trusses, plywood sheathing, and asphalt





S c h e m a t i c Fa r m s t e a d C o r e B a r n P r o g r a m m i n g D i a g ra m 71









Schematic Barn Programming Diagram 73


shingle roofing that is nearing the end of its service life. Since this roof is no longer constructed of original/historic materials, the repairs can be made simply and expeditiously. New wood framing can be installed or sistered alongside of the damaged truss members; new exterior plywood sheathing can replace that which is damaged and missing, and almost any available asphalt shingle can be used to cover the area that has been repaired. It is not the intention to replace the entire roof at this time, but just to make it weathertight and structurally sound. The cost for the work should be small and could be performed by almost any contractor or roofer. The roof repair should be a relatively inexpensive and temporary measure only. Replacement and/or modification of the entire roof will be factored into plans for the English Ground Barn’s future reuse. Different roof covering materials may be considered along with the need to add insulation above or below the framing depending on the circumstances. Along with the roof damage there is a portion of the gable end of the larger section of the barn that contains an opening that needs to be repaired. There is also some missing siding/trim at the edge of the roof that should be replaced. These repairs, like that of the damage to the roof, can be considered temporary until work is completed on the future reuse of the English Ground Barn.

Smokehouse (Summer Kitchen)/Privy Situated between the Dickinson and Albertson Houses, the Smokehouse/Privy is a small but relatively well-kept structure that could be very useful as an educational station for any visitors to the site. The structure could easily be turned into a permanent exhibit and the possibility could also be explored for use as an interactive exhibit during any manner of historical/educational event or festival held at the park.

Icehouse Located at the rear of the property away from the other historic structures on the site rests the ruins of the Farmstead’s Icehouse. While the structure itself is not salvageable for use, it does sit in a prime location for an overlook point that could be integrated into the system of trails proposed for the park. The ruins could be sensitively treated to be incorporated into a new structure for the proposed overlook, which might provide an educational opportunity in the way of informative signage.

Albertson House As the first structure that visitors see when entering the site, the Albertson House is currently a point of contention among the Township. Some wish to see the house removed in order to gain more open space for the park, while others would like the house to remain to maintain the “farm complex” feel along with the “enclosure feeling” that currently exists within the Farmstead. It is important to note that while the Albertson House is not as old as the Dickinson House, the original section of the house is over 200 years old, and the structure is historic in its own right. Removal of this structure should not be considered lightly and will require approval by PHMC prior to occurring.

HISTORIC/ECOLOGICAL SITE INTERPRETATION AND SIGNING The ability to provide self-guided interpretation throughout the Dickinson Farmstead Park would increase its educational impact on visitors. A comprehensive directional signing system that defines a logical walking tour through the site along with interpretative signing at key locations would benefit visitors. The interpretation could focus on multiple themes including historic, cultural, architectural, and environmental aspects of the site. Providing visitors with an interpretative signing system would allow park guests to enjoy the full breadth of the Dickinson Farmstead’s 250year history. Such a system might encourage the park’s value as a historical and educational site within the community. The Dickinson Farmstead provides opportunities that most parks cannot furnish. It is a site that not only has a rich history, but also boasts an outstanding set of “artifacts” in the shape of the suite of historical buildings. Providing opportunities to engage visitors through the various environmental interpretation and educational means will provide a greater understanding of the richness of this area and the value it provides to the community. By using the natural atmosphere of this Farmstead and wooded area, the master plan provides diversification in its landscape types that will appeal to a wide selection of the community and allow for a variety of different programming element opportunities. Interpretative elements, beyond signing, can be integral to various new elements on the site, and be more engaging to repeat visitors than purely static signs. For example historical timelines can be integrated into walkways and walls. Small sculptures or site inspired environmental elements can serve as wayfinding and educational elements, such as abstracting plant leaves into site elements, etc. Information signing plays a role in


PA R K M ASTER PLAN quality interpretation, but it should be extended beyond signing to more engaging forms of conveying information and engaging visitors.

Ground Barn and Restroom. Municipal natural gas is D M P V E H F I T I B O B T T P D J B U FT currently servicing both the Dickinson and Albertson houses. More than likely a new tap from Chemical Road would be Signage and Environmental Graphics used to service the English Ground Barn. Municipal water The master plan proposes the need for distinct arrival falls under the same situation and would likely require a www.cloudgehshan.com and site wayfinding signing that is complimentary to the new tap at Chemical Road in order ���to ���service ���� the English Township’s parking signing system branding, with a site Ground Barn renovation and restroom facilities. Until design specific twist to better suit the historic character of the becomes more refined and nears a construction phase, the Farmstead. Audubon Center, Montgomery County Parks utility routes and capacities will remain in question. Mill Grove Estate


Site lighting can be a very important element in enhancing

John James Audubon’s first home in America is a national historic landmark Trail Master Plan the utilization and character of theCampbell site, Thomas even and if Company the site is owned by Montgomery County and operated by the National Audubon Society. not regularly used after dusk. Site lighting should accent municipal utilities sanitary The Audubon Trail include is a 7-milewater, loop which runs through this historic landmark.

Current on-site sewer, and gas. Additionally, overhead electric services both the distinct architectural aspects of the historic buildings, not besystem intrusive distracting. One level of site lighting the Dickinson and Albertson Houses Chemical It yetsignage Cloud Gehshan wasfrom retained to createRoad. an interpretive whichor tells cangives exist for safety story of utilities this country’s artist and background to theand security and a second layer of is anticipated that alltheexisting willforemost also bewildlife required site’sofcopper and ore mining history. The sign system includes a location map of more intense or dramatic lighting could be deployed for for future development the site, which could include the trail with its interpretive stations,facility. and willAbecome the standard special events.forInfuture most cases site lighting fixture should English Ground Barn the renovation and the Restroom signage development in the county. sanitary line extendstrail from the Dickinson House to Chemical be extremely discrete and almost disappear if possible, Road, while a separate line connects the Albertson House especially within the Farmstead Core. to the conveyance within Sierra Road. Both lines enter a combined system paralleling Germantown Pike. Depending on the proposed use of the English Ground Barn, sanitary services could feasibly enter the system servicing the Dickinson House or parallel that service until connecting to the main line at Chemical Road. Overhead electric service lines extend from Chemical Road up to the Dickinson and Albertson Houses. Likely, underground electrical service would be routed from the Dickinson House to the English


%88)28-32 &-6( ;%8',)67


Signing Images: Cloud Gehshan Associates

A comprehensive directional and interpretative signing system for the Farmstead will greatly enhance the visitor experience.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan










H.P. H.P.














Native/Woodland Plantings Landscape Plantings ALBERTSON HOUSE

Mowed Lawn Nature-based Play Area



Barnyard Court Stormwater Management Area Cobble Paving Gravel Paving





Historic Structures Existing Buildings 1ft Contours 2ft Contours Retaining/Seating Walls

D i c k i n s o n Fa r m s t e a d Pa r k M a s t e r P l a n




Operation and Management



O p e ra t i o n s , Management, and Financing Plan Dickinson Farmstead rounds out the parks and recreation system of Plymouth Township. As an historic site dating back to the 1700’s, the Farmstead is a monument to the Quaker heritage of the area. Plymouth Township’s system now includes traditional community parks and recreation facilities, a nature based park, a model community recreation center complete with an indoor aquatics facility and fitness area. Dickinson Farmstead brings a unique set of challenges in terms of the restoration, maintenance and programming of the site. The purpose of this master plan is to establish a course of action to conserve Dickinson Farmstead at an appropriate level, provide public recreation opportunities, establish a trail head location for the Cross County Trail and the future township trail system, and establish a regular program of maintenance to ensure the protection and safety of the property and park visitors. A relatively small site just shy of six acres, it features historic buildings, varied topography of steep slopes, woodlands, and a circulation system. The vision for the park is to serve as an historic site with a cultural heritage landscape where the public can learn about our heritage and history, experience nature, enjoy outdoor activities for relaxation and health, and participate in special programs. To that end, Plymouth Township identified the importance of planning for the future operations, management, and support of Dickinson Farmstead as part of the park master planning process.

Maintenance: An Investment not a Cost About 75 percent of the cost of a park over its lifetime goes to operations and maintenance. A park repair done on an emergency basis costs seven times as much as if it were done as part of a regularly scheduled park maintenance plan. By addressing operations and maintenance while creating the park master plan, the Township will be able to make informed decisions about developing the park, allocating resources, budgeting, staffing, and partnerships.

PARK MAINTENANCE PEER STUDY AND CURRENT CONDITIONS In 2007, the Township completed a Park Maintenance Peer Study in implementing a major recommendation of Plymouth Naturally: The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan of 2006. Chris Lessig, CPRP, a respected professional with expertise in park maintenance management conducted the study in collaboration with the township’s parks and recreation management team and staff. Mr. Lessig found that the maintenance staff and management team are a dedicated and motivated group willing to go the extra mile to make the parks and the Greater Plymouth Community Center all that they can be. That finding prevails to this day. The parks are safe, beautiful, and a delight to be in because they are consistently clean and attractive. The Greater Plymouth Community Center is a model of effective operations. It is consistently top-rated by patrons. In a recent community festival where citizen rated township services, parks and recreation ranked second only to the schools among 12 different public services and the favorite public services they receive. Research shows that safe, clean facilities and friendly service are what matters to facility users. These high ratings are testimony to the excellent management of township parks and recreation facilities.

In establishing this Operations, Management, and Financing Plan, the consulting team conducted interviews with key stakeholders in the community, the Township Manager, Board of Commissioners, Parks and Recreation Director, Park Maintenance Superintendent; and the professional programming The major recommendations of the Peer Study as they staff. The team also researched previous planning relate to a park such as Dickinson Farmstead included: documents to build upon the work the that the ªª Developing standard operating procedures for Parks and Recreation Department has done on park maintenance master plans and maintenance work. ªª Establishing quality standards for parks


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

ªª Tracking


workload and costs including materials and

ªª Evolving

from written entry of information to electronic and using the TRIMS software

ªª Provide a training program for park maintenance staff

The Challenges The Parks and Recreation Management team high level of performance has a flip side. The Parks and Recreation Director and Park Maintenance Superintendent have generated a level of confidence in their work and commitment that has a deceptive appearance that they can continue doing this high quality and quantity of work as facilities and demands for their services increase. Due to their commitment and pride in their work, they are highly responsive and rarely if ever say “no” when requested to undertake a task or project. They have been highly creative and innovative in finding ways of doing more with the same level of resources available. This has led to the park maintenance management and crews as being the “go to” department for help with municipal tasks beyond the realm of parks and recreation.

Maintenance Staff The Township operates with a Park Superintendent and 10 maintenance workers. This is virtually the same number of staff as in 2006 before the addition of new parks and recreation facilities and the expansion of the Greater Plymouth Community Center. The Township will soon be undertaking the planning and development of a township bicycle plan that will add miles of trails that will have to be maintained. Planning for the additional staff needed for additional responsibilities is warranted.

Program and Special Event and Venue Staff With respect to programming, the Parks and Recreation Department programming staff already had a full workload even before Harriet Wetherill Park was established. Now with Harriet Wetherill Park and Dickinson Farmstead underway, there is no capacity among the existing programming staff to undertake the specialized programming required for a nature-based park and an historic park designed to be largely program and special event/rental driven. Public recreational interests have evolved from mainly youth, summer, and sports to programs for people of all ages principally in the area of nature based recreation and opportunities for

learning and enjoyment by families and in settings such as Dickinson Farmstead where people can relate to their heritage, the great outdoors, and many special events that help to build a sense of community. While both programs for nature and environmental education and special events and heritage-based educational programs each warrant an additional professional programmer, the Township could phase into this level of staffing by starting out with the addition of a recreation programmer and adding a second one as programs in these areas grow and generate more revenue. Dickinson Farmstead will no doubt be an important venue for special events and private rentals. Securing the market for its revenue potential is vital. That will require dedicated personnel to undertake marketing, promotion and customer service. Creating partnerships with the private sector in food service, equipment rental, and advertising takes time and expertise that results in customers and rentals.

Maintenance The maintenance of Dickinson Farmstead will differ from that of any other park in the Township. Maintenance falls into three main areas: ªª The Cultural Historic Landscape ªª Public Use Areas and Event Spaces ªª Historic Buildings

One of the most important aspects of the Dickinson Farmstead Master Plan is the recommendation for the restoration of the cultural heritage landscape. This means more than a forestry management or a planting plan but rather it means the true restoration of the landscape to reflect conditions at an identified point in time. The proposed budget will reflect investment in the landscape more on the scale of a capital investment than a maintenance budget for the first ten years to attain the desired goal of establishing a true cultural historic landscape. Part of that development should include the establishment of a maintenance plan to ensure that it is cared for successfully over time.

Importance of Assigning Maintenance Standards Defining the level of resource protection for areas of the Farmstead will be the foundation for maintenance planning. As a compact site, quality standards will be limited to the natural areas featuring the cultural historic landscape, public use areas such as the trails and any formal play area,


PA R K M ASTER PLAN buildings open for limited public use, buildings used for premier rentals and programming, and tenant occupied buildings. Assigning maintenance standards will enable Plymouth Township to maintain Dickinson Farmstead with respect to public needs, historic site management, and resources. Targeting the appropriate level of care will enable the Township to direct resources to balance public use with conservation of the site. The maintenance standards provide a common frame of reference for the community including elected and appointed officials, township employees, maintenance staff, administration, contractors, partners, sponsors, park visitors, the neighborhood, and the citizens. The common agreement on standards will facilitate discussions and communications about the Farmstead. This will enable elected and appointed officials and the parks and recreation management team to establish and implement policies on use, fees and charges, volunteer requirements, staffing levels, contractual service requirements, and other issues that may emerge. It will also enable township officials to communicate with the public about the capacity of the Township to undertake actions in response to citizen demands, park maintenance tasks, cultural heritage landscape protection actions, and requests for additional facilities and/or services.

National Recreation & Park Association Standards: An Approach The National Recreation and Park Association advocates a system of maintenance modes for parks. Modes refer to the “way of maintenance” ranging from most intensive to least intensive. The modes range as follows: ªª Mode I - State of the Art Maintenance ªª Mode II - High Level Maintenance ªª Mode

III - Moderate Level Maintenance due to moderate levels of development

Inspections - Mode I - Park inspection of Dickinson Farmstead should be done daily during peak season. Mode V should be done every other week in the natural areas. Any formal play area that could be established should follow CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) guidelines. Recommendations for playground inspections are daily or weekly, depending upon usage. Turf Care - Turf care for the Park would include general park areas. ªª Mode

II turf care would include all grass areas and continue to be mowed weekly.

Disease and Insect Control - Mode III - Disease and insect control is done only to insure public safety or when a serious problem impacts programs and discourages public use. It is crucial for Plymouth Township to develop a natural resources management plan for the Park. This could be used as a model or prototype for other parks such as Harriet Wetherill Park. Forestry - A forestry management program in keeping with the cultural heritage landscape should be developed to provide short, medium, and long-range management for this defining feature of Dickinson Farmstead. Floral Planting - Mode V - Floral planting should only be introduced where there is a community group to maintain them in accordance with a written agreement. Consider working with a master gardeners group as this is such a unique site Tree and Shrub Care - The goal should be Mode IV which requires no pruning and care only to remove safety hazards. Litter Control - Mode II - which is once per day seven days a week during peak season, weekly during non-peak, and monthly in cold weather months. Litter is always picked up after a special event. Surfaces and Paths - Mode III - so that surfaces are cleaned and repaired when appearance has notably been affected.

ªª Mode IV - Moderately Low Level Maintenance

Repairs - Mode II - when safety, appearance, or function is in question, repairs are made.

ªª Mode V - High Visitation Natural Areas

Restrooms - Mode I - Should be done at least once per day. Special events or times of high use warrant more than one service per day. High end events with significant fees should have an on-site monitor to ensure that the restrooms are pristine throughout the rental hours.

ªª Mode VI - Minimum Level Maintenance

To protect Plymouth Township’s investment in Dickinson Farmstead; conserve the historic nature, beauty and resources of the site; facilitate safe and enjoyable use by park visitors; provide efficient and effective public service; and ensure park security, the following standards are proposed:


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Buildings - Mode I - for the barn when fully restored and functional. Custodial services should be provided in accordance with use and rentals with servicing prior to, during, and after use. Buildings that are rented to tenants must be at a Mode 1 care level to ensure that

they are functional, safe, and in accordance with the rental agreement. Buildings that are mothballed would be at a Mode IV level as they would require a very low level of maintenance just to ensure that they are in a stable condition to avoid deterioration.

Develop Plans For Regular And Emergency Maintenance In addition to the special requirements of the cultural historic landscape, maintenance practices for this historic park should include the following steps. These steps are a blend of Plymouth Township’s Peer Study for Park Maintenance and current maintenance management of parks, the park master plan recommendations, and best practices used in national parks. Since Dickinson Farmstead is of major importance as a Federal Register eligible site, national caliber maintenance practices are in order. ªª Develop

written schedules with creative and flexible approaches for recurring, periodic, and seasonal maintenance activities.

ªª Develop

a written system to address typical emergencies and complaints.

ªª Develop

and maintain a system that documents complaints and the actions that were taken to respond to them in a timely manner.Develop a system to monitor and track Dickinson Farmstead park conditions.

ªª Use

sustainable maintenance practices following the methods advocated by PA DCNR.

• Begin to move toward organic practices and implement as possible.

• Limit the use of commercial fertilizers, pesticides, and

herbicides, and use chemicals responsibly when necessary.

ªª Ensure

goals, standards, and design intent are understood by key stakeholders, staff, and the public.

• Ensure that maintenance staff, contractors, and volunteers understand quality expectations.

• Monitor maintenance performance against landscape quality standards.

• Promote respect through a zero-tolerance approach

toward trash on the ground or overflowing from trash receptacles, graffiti, and other forms of vandalism.

ªª Designate maintenance zones in Dickinson Farmstead

by specialty area. This should include public general use areas, cultural heritage landscape zones, and buildings. This will enable the Parks and Recreation Department to develop expertise as recommended in the Peer Study for Maintenance and to cultivate pride in one’s work and a caring attitude toward Dickinson Farmstead as the nationally historically significant site that it is.

• Set forth quality standards for sections of the park using the National Recreation and Park Association Maintenance Modes

• Manage zones to specific landscape standards. • Develop a training program to teach specialty skills

and knowledge for the historic nature of this site as well as natural resource management that can be transferred to other parks and maintenance practices in the Township.

SECURITY The security of the participants, employees, volunteers, facilities, parks, and equipment is of the highest priority to the Plymouth Township Parks and Recreation Department. To enable the participants to fully enjoy the quality of the programs and facilities, care must be administered at Dickinson Farmstead just as in the operations of parks and recreation facilities and programs. Plymouth Township should develop a general security plan that would include all the department’s procedural manuals for functions such as playgrounds and camps, aquatics, risk management, building security and maintenance. To provide for the security of people and facilities, emphasis will be placed by the Department upon planning the layout and design of Dickinson Farmstead and other facilities including Traffic Control, Crowd Control, Emergency Access, Supervisory Management, Equipment Storage, VandalResistant Design, and Maintenance Safety Coordination - The Parks and Recreation Department should coordinate with DVIT and the township police department regarding all applicable safety standards, risk management standards and accepted operating standards in the design and construction of facilities and parks. Consult with the Police Department on park design to address CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles. The Department will involve the services of parks and recreation staff and the police in providing the most safety-oriented, secure facilities possible within budgetary limitations. Facility Operations - Dickinson Farmstead will be operated


PA R K M ASTER PLAN to secure day-to-day operations and to insure proper evacuations, maintenance operations and storage of equipment. Employees will follow the maintenance schedule which includes preventive maintenance in providing properly maintained and operating conditions, locks, entry and exit areas, lighting, and signage. Inspection of facilities by employees and supervisors will be done in accordance with the applicable forms of the Department as approved by the Township Solicitor. Unsafe, broken, or non-operable equipment must be reported immediately by work order for schedule of repair or replacements. The Storage of hazardous materials, cleaning supplies, solvents or other chemical materials must be done in accordance with accepted standards and in conjunction with the supervision of the Park Superintendent. Programs - Programs at Dickinson Farmstead will be designed with the safety and security of the participant as the top priority. Instructors, leaders and any employees or independent contractors in a programming capacity shall make themselves aware of and further instruct their participants as to the following: any risk involved in the program, exits, emergency phone numbers, procedures of fire drills, evacuation drills, and hours of operation. Care must be taken to schedule classes in accordance with the historic nature of Dickinson Farmstead, age and abilities of participants, and evacuation plan for the facility. The program or activity instructor or leader is responsible for insuring that Participation Forms, Waivers, or related forms are filled out to ascertain any potential emergency or evacuation needs, physical or medical limitations, and emergency contacts. Inspections - Inspection of Dickinson Farmstead by the Department shall be done in accordance with the Maintenance Schedule and all policy and procedure manuals of the Plymouth Township Parks and Recreation Department as reviewed and approved by the Township Solicitor. Work orders will be issued upon receipt of forms, checklists, or requests calling for repairs with priority decided by situation and use. Repairs affecting the safety of users of Dickinson Farmstead shall be repaired immediately. Repairs affecting the security or operations of security systems will be repaired immediately. Vandalism shall be repaired as soon as possible and by any means, within 24 hours. Security will be visually inspected by staff upon closing. Care should be taken to assure doors and windows are closed, locked and secured and alarm systems are activated. Anything strange or out of routine should be further inspected. The Park Superintendent or Police should be contacted if security of a facility or park cannot be accomplished at closing.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Training - The security requirements of Dickinson Farmstead will be an integral part of the new employee and in-house training program of the Department. All training shall be accessible to all staff members and volunteers and documented with dates, topics discussed and attendance. Training with personnel from Plymouth Township Police, emergency medical management, and fire department will be conducted on a regular basis.

Immediate Actions for Dickinson Farmstead Security ªª Continue to retain the apartment as a tenant rental to

have an established presence on site.

ªª Change

the locks and ensure that key access is controlled.

ªª Alarm the buildings and contract for monitoring of the


ªª Coordinate

regular patrols with the Plymouth Township Police.

ªª Have

an onsite presence during special events for custodial services. Charge them with observing the event underway especially if there is an alcohol permit to make calls to the authorities when the situation warrants.

ªª Have

the Township Solicitor review and approve policies, procedures, contracts, and rental agreements to ensure that they are consistent with reducing the Township’s exposure to liability.

ªª Encourage

use of the site for walking, dog walking, fitness, and other recreational pursuits that provide an on-site presence.

ORGANIZATION AND STAFFING Optimize the Parks and Recreation Department Organization for Dickinson Farmstead. Dickinson Farmstead must be taken into consideration with the township’s parks and recreation system as a whole. The addition of this park is major as the site has federal-level historic significance and requires management oversight, staff time for maintenance, restoration and programming, and a budget. It also offers the potential to generate revenues to offset costs through facility rentals and program fees, charges, partnerships, and sponsorships. Dickinson Farmstead along with Harriet Wetherill Park are two special use facilities in the Township’s family of parks and recreation facilities.

Together they offer new and much desired opportunities for recreational experiences desired by the residents: nature, heritage, and special events. While the parks and recreation staff is highly professional, dedicated, and passionate about their work, their expertise lies in recreational specialties that do not include nature, environmental education, and heritage conservation with related facility management and programming requirements. Existing staff is already working at capacity and beyond with the current level of programs, parks, and the GPCC. Organizationally, the Parks and Recreation Department needs a division that manages Harriet Wetherill Park and Dickinson Farmstead to promote, program, manage facilities, and engage in a revenue generation program to recover costs. Another staff person is needed with knowledge, skills, and experience in these areas. The impact of Dickinson Farmstead on the Parks and Recreation Department’s organization and management includes a new functional area, that of landlord to tenants who pay rent. This is a demanding function in which emergencies arise and immediate action is needed that disrupts the Township’s planned maintenance management system. Since having tenants onsite is good for security as well as revenue generation, a solution that helps the organization is needed. Consideration of contracting the property management out for tenant rentals should be considered to offload this task to a commercial specialist that would be paid for through a percentage of the rent. Plan for proper staffing. Since Dickinson Farmstead programming is geared toward historic preservation and special community events, and rentals for private gatherings, staffing considerations are needed that are different from other parks. Alternative staffing structures such as special work schedules to accommodate events during nontraditional work hours, scheduling considerations, and practical maintenance approaches to deal with achieving a balance between conservation of the site and public use which may be high. ªª Use

a staffing model that works for the Parks and Recreation department that is growing, diversifying and seeking to generate revenues to offset costs.

• Incorporate a staffing model that works for the Parks

and Recreation Department with respect to Dickinson Farmstead and Harriet Wetherill Park, including in-house staff, contract services, and private/public partnerships. For in-house staff, secure a professional staff position to manage the Township’s two special use facilities: Dickinson Farmstead and Harriet Wetherill Park. Secure an adequate level of expertise in specialty skills on the parks and recreation staff largely vested in this new position. These should include natural resource management and environ-

mental education, site management, programming and special events, customer service, and promotion and outreach.

• Use volunteers, especially with special knowledge

and skills in heritage, historic preservation, and other expertise to enhance staff and contractor efforts.

• When planning for the property manager to manage the building tenants, negotiate an agreement that details the roles and responsibilities of the Township and the property manager for the rental properties. Use a percentage of the rents to cover the property management costs. This will free township maintenance staff from this responsibility enabling them to work on parks and recreation tasks without the distraction of tenant requests, issues, and demands.

• Provide for the addition of 700 seasonal part-time

hours for park maintenance. This is based upon benchmarks of the maintenance standards of premier parks with a ratio of one worker per 18 acres translating into about 20 hours per week for 35 weeks when the park would be used the most. These hours would be scheduled around actual park use in including weekends and evenings to ensure proper service to potential renters and a consistently high level appearance.

ªª Hire and develop staff.

• Hire staff based on expertise, experience, and attitude. A passion for this work will make a difference in generating ideas, programs, and establishment of the Farmstead as a premier destination.

• Seek staff with experience in special events production if possible.

• Support the professional development of employees to boost morale and satisfaction levels.

Co-locate maintenance and event staffs to foster collaboration, coordination, and communication. Consider classifying events and maintenance staffs within one division. Staff sufficiently to cover permitting, monitoring, and reporting needs.

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS MANAGEMENT As described in the Recreation and Heritage Opportunities chapter, programs are the single most important way to increase park usage and visitation. This section relates to the management or recreation programs and events.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Events management addresses the challenges of hosting different scale and types of events on Dickinson Farmstead’s vulnerable landscape and historic buildings all within a very compact space. The staff must be proactive, with comprehensive event guidelines, limitations on use (e.g., maximum duration and number of events), and regulation enforcement (e.g., weather delays). Fees should recover the cost of the events program as well as event damages. A team of professional events staff that can include existing staff along with a new position for Dickinson Farmstead and Harriet Wetherill Park will boost the performance of both parks’ event programs. Summary of best practices for events management include the following: ªª Develop

a program management plan for both Dickinson Farmstead and Harriet Wetherill Park as special use facilities.

• Seek partnerships and collaborative relationships

with community based organizations and other types of event sponsors so that more programs and events can be facilitated in addition to being directly provided by township staff.

• Work with the Colonial School District in creating a curriculum or parts of a curriculum in local history using Dickinson Farmstead.

• Establish am alcohol permit fee for special events at these designated sites.

ªª Manage

events proactively in a planned, directed, controlled manner with evaluations.

• Develop policies for facility use, rentals, fee and

charges structure. Use existing township parks and recreation policies as the foundation to ensure that all are aligned within the department.

• Manage use, including limiting the number, type, lo-

cation, and duration of events. Consider determining exactly how many special community events would be held here such as one per season, six times a year or some other number based upon a sound rationale of the site and the neighborhood. Consider the ramifications of having an event when the public is also using the park and controlling the park use when an event is underway. The Township would need to set forth a policy on events and public use and under what, if any, circumstances the park would be closed to accommodate a private event.

• Consider weekday events such as corporate training.

Such events could be revenue generators and provide for a sound park use during off-peak times.

• Use mitigation checklists. 86

Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

• Define requirements for public safety and security. • Enforce event regulations uniformly and consistently. • Address parking. Explore the potential for shuttle

services for the limited larger scale events. Consider reaching out to adjoining businesses to determine if shared parking is possible and under what condition such as specific days and times.

ªª Facilitate the permitting process.

• Create comprehensive and accessible events guidelines.

• Communicate park goals to event organizers to en-

sure a clear understanding of Dickinson Farmstead’s purpose and significance. The same would apply to Harriet Wetherill Park.

• Develop strong working relationships with community based organizations and private sector businesses who may participate or use the Farmstead as event organizers.

• Provide the means for the renter to secure insurance for the event.

ªª Charge

fees to recover costs and provide for care of the park and improvements for use of areas and facilities that will be available for rent for social events and gatherings.

• Establish a permit fee schedule based on the type and

location of event in the Farmstead, based upon weekday and weekend use, peak season and non-peak season, type of event, place of residence, nature of the group as a resident, commercial or non-profit.

• Charge direct costs for staff, utilities, trash collection, removing or relocating park furniture, and repairing damage. Include a percentage of administrative and advertising costs in fees.

• Add a rental surcharge for an alcohol permit. • Require insurance according to the guidelines of the Delaware Valley Insurance Trust (DVIT) and the Township Solicitor.

• Provide for event monitoring.

BUDGET Since Dickinson Farmstead is not yet owned by Plymouth Township and has been in the process of negotiation for its sale, provisions for the temporary support, maintenance, and financing of the site were put into place. This included rudimentary maintenance and support by the Township as it

was still owned by the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society. Plymouth Township assumed the financial responsibility for the Society’s mortgage payments, utilities, heat, grounds keeping, repairs, building stabilization, landlord services for the apartment renters, snow plowing, leaf removal, removal of dangerous trees and limbs, emergency repairs, and security. The Township also paid for the attorney fees of the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society. The budget during this period of the negotiation for the property and intermediary steps necessary to protect the property during this time are not reflective of future operating and maintenance costs once the property is owned and restored. In 2017, the budget fell into the following major categories that covered both township and Plymouth Meeting Historical Society expenses during this interim phase of property ownership: ªª Consulting


services for planning and engineering -

ªª Building repair - $21,790 ªª Grounds repair - $39,500 ªª Miscellaneous services such as trash, fencing, signage,

mowing, security, lighting, attorneys for both the Township and the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society, locks - $25,800

ªª Materials supplies, utilities - $9,330 ªª Mortgage – $3,725 through July 2017

The total 2017 Dickinson Farmstead budget was $151,120 plus the mortgage payments. Revenues were generated from the rental of the apartment totaling about $12,000 which went to the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society, not to the Township.

Projected Budget Estimates The park operating budget must reflect the desired level of programs and condition of park facilities in accordance with the financial resources available. The operating budget to a large extent determines the quality of the park in terms of its safety, beauty, usability, and desirability as a place to rent for special occasion, as a community meeting place, or simply in which to spend one’s time. Estimating what a park will cost to maintain as it is revitalized or expanded helps in decision-making, staffing, the setting of fees, policy formulation, the allocation of resources, and securing nontraditional methods of support such as sponsorships and partnerships.

As a new type of park in the Plymouth Township Parks and Recreation System, Dickinson Farmstead’s budget projections fall into three main areas: ªª Grounds ªª Cultural Heritage Landscape ªª Facilities, including the buildings

The grounds budget has been estimated based upon the property size and type, level of development projected, the vision for programs and services, as well as, revenue generating potential, benchmarks derived from premier parks elsewhere, and township records for expenses in 2017. The budget for the cultural heritage landscape is based upon the vision developed in the master plan, estimates from similar work elsewhere and the professional opinion of registered landscape architects on the team. More than just a tree, shrub, and turf program found in generic park types, Dickinson Farmstead merits specialized restoration of the cultural heritage landscape that will result in visitors experiencing the site as it once was. The first ten years will be critical in establishing this. The operating budget for the buildings is complex. The purpose of the scope of work for the buildings for this park master plan work was a building assessment with projections for possible uses in the future. A building assessment does not project operating costs which are provided during the planning and design phase of building restoration. Additionally, historic records of past building operating costs were not available. This master plan project did not include the planning and design of building improvements. The only information available on building operating costs were the limited budgets and costs tracked for part of 2017 by the Township. For current operating cost projections, township budget and Farmstead expenditures were used to estimate what it would cost to “mothball” the buildings until such time as the Township were to undertake the planning and design for building improvements. Projecting operating costs for the buildings as improved in the future must depend upon the design and specifications for the buildings as improved. Since the design of the future building improvements will explore a range of options for building systems such as HVAC, materials, technology, and revitalization features, making a projection during this phase of the park master plan is not possible as it is not likely to be credible. Table 1 presents the estimate of future grounds and buildings operating costs. Table 2 presents estimates of revenue.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Mortgage During this year of negotiation for the acquisition of Dickinson Farmstead, Plymouth Township paid the mortgage on the property for the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society. Once the Township acquires this site, the Township should pay off the mortgage and remove that as an operating expense.

Table 1 - Dickinson Farmstead Projected Operating Budget This budget presents the projected operating costs for the grounds. The maintenance budget for the buildings in their current condition is based upon township records.

Grounds, Existing Building, and Rental Property Maintenance Labor wages and payroll taxes – 700 hours Contracted mowing Contracted snow removal Contracted cultural historic landscape restoration work** General maintenance of Albertson, Dickinson, and the Barn buildings* Contracted property manager (10% of rental fee approximately) Trash removal Materials and Supplies Utilities Porta Potties Security and Alarm equipment and monitoring Insurance


$16,282 $3,500 $3,500 $18,000 $23,000 $2,000 $10,000 $7,000 $4,500 $12,000 $5,000 $10,000


Property Stabilization for 2018 Hazardous Tree Removal Temporary Roof Repairs Fencing HVAC assessment and recommendations Locksmith fees Security lighting installation Signage Potential solicitor fees Miscellaneous unanticipated needs


$30,000 $5,000 $6,500 $6,500 $750 $8,500 $3,500 $15,000 $15,000


CIP Reserve Budget – 2% of development costs annually in fund dedicated to cyclic repairs and park improvements with phasing.

To be determined

*To decrease to $2,500 annually after initial stabilization and repair. **To be reduced to maintenance after the ten-year landscape restoration period.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Table 2 presents the revenues for Dickinson Farmstead when the barn is restored and Dickinson House is suitable to use for community meetings. Potential revenues for parks and recreation could be derived from pavilion rentals, programs, a friend’s organizations and user fees.

Table 2 - Dickinson Farmstead Potential Revenue Sources (Note: Conservative projections as Dickinson Farmstead is improved, managed, and promoted. Revenues should increase as the facility becomes widely known as a premier destination and convenient location)

Item Wedding rentals (12 per year) Corporate events – weekday business meetings and training (5) Parties (12) Community meetings Tenant Apartment - $1600/month plus utilities based upon Montgomery County rental average+ Township programs, events and camps

Total Projections

Projection $18,000 $6,000 $4,800 $1,200 $19,200 $12,000




Funding Opportunities



Funding Opportunities RESOURCE ROADMAP FOR CONSTRUCTION This section of the master plan report provides recommendations on how Plymouth Township can organize itself to be effective and competitive in your efforts to identify, pursue, and secure grant funding and other resources for your parks projects. Success in funding is a process that takes a well-honed strategy and effective implementation. We provide recommendations below on how you can create and implement such a strategy. This section provides a matrix that outlines specific, potential funding and resource opportunities which match Plymouth Township’s vision for Dickinson Farmstead, including the most promising opportunities for federal, state, philanthropic, and private resources. The matrix also suggests key issues and next steps for pursuing and obtaining the identified resources. This matrix does not provide exhaustive information on the potential sources of funding identified below. Instead, this matrix is meant to be the overall, initial blueprint for ideas and opportunities for the Township. Unfortunately, many traditional sources for parks and recreational funding have been eliminated or greatly reduced over the past decade, and there are few sources available that could provide significant funding amounts for the large capital-intensive projects. Typically, a community will need to use bonding or other local capital resource strategies for the build-out and development of these types of projects. Also, some projects can incorporate components that produce revenues over time to repay capital costs, such as event center components that can earn rental or event fees. These kinds of parks and recreation projects can also be supplemented and enhanced with seed funding, planning funding, technical assistance resources, or funding that gives a project the bona-fides that can be used to leverage further support and funding. This section of the report recommends some of the best potential for these catalytic resources.

A Strategy for Obtaining Resources for Plymouth Township’s Park Projects The Township should consider the following key steps for organizing the community to be effective and competitive for securing park project funding:


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Step 1: Confirm Priority Projects, Identify Key Components & Estimate Project Costs: It is critical that Plymouth Township and its key stakeholders reach agreement on the priority projects to be pursued at the park. Which ones would make the most important contributions to the overall master plan? Which ones can leverage funding, and gain the support of local, state, and federal officials? Once priorities are clearly identified and confirmed, it is critical to establish preliminary cost estimates for each project which is provided in the report. Likewise, it is important to break each project down into individual phases. For example, a project typically has phases including community engagement, design, engineering, permitting, construction documentation, construction, and operation and management – and each of these phases may have different grants that can be used for the particular stage of project development. In short, Plymouth Township will not be effective in pursuing funding sources if it does not have well-estimated costs for each significant component and phase of each project that has been confirmed as a priority by the Plymouth Township community. Step 2: Match Community Priorities to the Best Resources: Once the highest priorities have been confirmed and the right team has been established to pursue resources, the Township can match the best sources of grants, bonds, lowcost loans, technical assistance, and other resources for those projects. The Township should consider the resources immediately below as top opportunities, as well as the other potential resources identified in the more detailed matrix later in this master plan report. Each one of these funding programs involves its own sets of requirements, competitive factors, and processes, which go beyond the scope of this plan. These are the top funding opportunities to consider for high priority funding for the project recommendations listed in this master plan report. ªª PA

DCNR Parks & Recreational Resources – The most central and important funding pipeline for the Dickinson Farmstead Park initiative is the source that has already funded this parks master plan – the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. DCNR regional manager Jean Lynch. These individuals can provide support and advice on the Township’s ability to garner additional funds for implementation and should be invited for a site visit and discussion on funds that could include:

• Construction Grants: The Township could fund a

variety of park construction projects through the Keystone Community Recreation and Conservation Grants (up to $200,000 or more for parks, recreation, and trails projects); the PA Land and Water Conservation Fund (grants up to $200,000 for a variety of park and recreational projects; and/or the Recreational Trails Program (grants up to $250,000 for recreational trails). These grants are typically announced in December or January of each year, important funding workshops are held throughout the Commonwealth in February, and applications will be due to DCNR in mid-April. The match is typically 50% local/50% DCNR funding.

• Capacity-Building Grants: The DCNR Partnership

Program and the DCNR Peer-to-Peer program could provide valuable technical assistance and resources in the effort to build capacity for a volunteer coordinator and your local capacity to improve and administer this park.

ªª PA

DCED Funding – Pennsylvania Act 13 established a Shale Impact Fee that, among other programs, funds the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s “Greenways, Trails, & Recreation Program” fund, which provides grants for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation, improvements, and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, public parks, and beautification projects. These grants can be for up to $250,000. The match is typically 15% local/85% DCED funding although a slightly higher match is recommended to increase the likelihood of receiving this competitive funding.

ªª PA

DEP Pennsylvania Growing Greener (PLUS) – Commonwealth leaders are optimistic that the state legislature will re-authorize funding for the Growing Greener program, which can be used for: preserving open space; watershed planning; recreational trails and parks; and other uses. Although the next round of this program is not yet released, average grants under past rounds have been $350,000. The match is typically 15%local /50% DEP.


Funding – Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, funding under the Keystone Historic Preservation Project Grant program is available to nonprofit organizations and local

governments for the planning and development for publicly accessible historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The purpose of the grant is to support projects that identify, preserve, promote and protect historic and archaeological resources of Pennsylvania for both the benefit of the public and the revitalization of communities. These grants can be from $5,000 to $25,000. The match requirement is 50% local/50% PHMC funding. The local match must be cash and cannot include in-kind services. Funding is available in the categories of: Cultural Resource Surveys; National Register Nominations; Planning and Development Assistance; and Archaeology. Step 3: Prepare a Detailed Resource Strategy: With priority projects and targeted resources to pursue, the Township’s funding team should prepare a detailed, written resources strategy to guide your ongoing funding efforts and identify key actions. A resources strategy is essentially a detailed memo with all target resources identified and a step-bystep game plan for how to pursue each fund. This strategy should slice each project into its fund-able components and key phases, establish timelines and deadlines for funding applications, and lay out action strategies for pursuing the funds. Plymouth Township should also produce a 1- or 2-page summary of all the resources that are being sought, which is a useful sheet that can be shared with local, Commonwealth and federal officials who are interested in supporting your initiative. Step 4: Prepare Briefing Materials: Short, effective briefing sheets of 1-2 pages can be a critical tool for describing your projects to potential funders whom you are trying to recruit for support. This includes agency officials, stakeholder organizations, and elected representatives. Each sheet should generally provide a concise description of the project and its chief components, the need for the project, the benefits that will result, the stage of development of the project, a list of key stakeholder supporters, a nice graphic or picture or two, and – importantly – a listing of the specific types of funds and other assistance that Plymouth Township is seeking to move the project forward. Step 5: Organize Stakeholder Support: Funders will always want to see support for your project from a variety of stakeholder organizations. Don’t wait until the grant applications are due to cultivate them. The Township should use its public outreach efforts already conducted


PA R K M ASTER PLAN in this planning effort to build a list of people from key stakeholder organizations including governmental entities (especially at the County level), businesses and business organizations, community groups, community institutions, the press, and other organizations. Maintain a stakeholder contact database that is easy to access and use on a quick turnaround. Use these supporters for letters of support to funding agencies, letters to the editor, community meetings, calls to agencies and political representatives, visits to governmental officials, and other support for funding applications. These organizations should also be developed as potential sources of matching fund commitments. Step 6: Budget and Seek Matches Early: It is a simple truth that a locality will not be competitive for grants without being ready to meet grant matching requirements – or exceed the minimum matches – and to leverage other cash and in-kind support for funding applications. Federal and Commonwealth grants typically require matches of between 15-50%, depending on the program. That requires budgeting in the capital and general fund process, and typically requires the willingness to bond funding to meet big capital project matches. Obviously, these kinds of matches will not materialize easily in the few short days between the announcement of a grant opportunity and the submission deadline, so the Plymouth Township community needs to plan its matching strategies early. The need for matching also confirms the need to develop relationships and support from key stakeholder organizations, particularly the Commonwealth and the private development sector, because these allies may be necessary to meet matching requirements. Step 7: Coordinate with Federal Agency Leaders & Program Managers: We cannot emphasize enough how important and valuable it is for Plymouth Township to build relationships with state and federal agency officials who run these funding programs or who can otherwise support your projects. This should be done by reaching out to them, requesting phone calls, visiting them in their regional and Washington D.C. offices, inviting them to site tours and local meetings, asking them for guidance on their grant programs, sending them progress reports and tales of success, and otherwise cultivating them as champions. Your federal elected officials can assist you with this process too. Over time, these agency officials may help to refer funding opportunities your way, recommend your programs to other funding agencies, and mark the success of their own programs by success in your locality.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

One way to cultivate agency officials is to convene multiple federal (and Commonwealth) officials together in a wellorganized “Resource Roundtable” that is meant to problemsolve and create cooperative strategies for resources. In the case of Plymouth Township, this could be done in conjunction with effort of Montgomery County to promote parks, trail and open space preservation. Step 8: Collaborate with Key Commonwealth Leaders and Program Managers: Likewise, Commonwealth agency officials are critically important to your funding success, not only when it comes to state-lead grants, but also for their very important endorsements for federal grant applications. Indeed, some federal agencies rank the endorsement of the state in which the project is located as a top factor in where to direct funds. Also very importantly, state officials can be critical in providing pledges of matching funds for your federal applications. All of the means of outreach and collaboration listed above with respect to federal officials should be used with Commonwealth officials. Step 9: Write Strong Grant Applications: Obviously the Plymouth Township community needs to submit wellwritten grant applications in order to obtain funds. A primer on grant-writing is beyond the scope of this plan, but a few key principles should be kept in mind. First, make sure that a person (or persons) are selected early to handle grantwriting. The person should be a good writer, a person that can follow instructions carefully, and a person who has the ability and backing to communicate across departments/ boards and jurisdictions to develop grant applications. The person should also be given the opportunity to receive grant-writing training, and given sufficient and resources to write grants when the deadlines are approaching. This grant-writer can also be a contracted firm that specializes in grants. Second, an effective grant should always focus on developing a compelling narrative, a theme, for why your community and your project is unique, innovative, most needed, most able to bring big benefits, or otherwise distinguishable from the hundreds of other grants that will be submitted. You need to “brand” your project and its unique qualities, and make sure that branding flavors every page of your grant application, every stakeholder support letter, and every call to the agency about the project. Finally, you must follow directions and answer every question correctly. Seems like an obvious point, but the vast majority of grant applications that we have seen skip questions or required submissions, violate rules for the grant application or, most often, do not answer the question that are actually asked. These problems can be avoided with up-front preparation,

using a skilled grant-writer, and paying meticulous heed to the directions. Step 10: Advocate: Even with strong projects, solid relationships with funding agencies, stakeholder support, and well-written grants, you need to advocate to political officials for your applications for funds. Members of Congress, Senators, and Commonwealth elected officials truly matter when it comes to highly competitive funding contests, even for park improvement projects. Do not wait until a grant is due to ask for their support and involvement in your project, but instead build an ongoing cooperative relationship with them. Your Commonwealth and U.S. congressional elected officials (and their staffs!) should be briefed on your projects early and often, given opportunities to support your funding requests, and given credit for their advocacy. Visit with each of your state and federal elected representatives at least once a year, invite them to your community regularly, and keep in touch with newsletters, email reports, and calls as appropriate. Step 11: Celebrate success: It has been said that “nothing succeeds like success”, and that is certainly true when it comes to obtaining funding. Success comes in two ways – when significant project milestones are accomplished, and when you obtain the next grant. This means that Plymouth Township should always be looking for opportunities to celebrate success, thank your agency and political supporters, hold groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings, cultivate media coverage, send newsletters, and spread the word in other ways. Progress on projects and success in obtaining grants can also lead to more success by sending signals to other agencies that Plymouth Township’s projects are worthy of further grants. Public agencies like to give grants to localities that are leveraging different sources of funding together, and that have used grants effectively and are seeking more to complete a project. A final thought about resources is that, as your success builds toward completion of your visions and plans, the community may be able to accelerate your ability to gain more resources. This is why a systematic, dedicated strategy to obtain resources, using steps such as the ones outlined above, is a worth investment of time and effort.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Parks and Recreation – Funding for parks and recreation, although critical for communities, has taken severe cuts during the economic downtown. Plymouth Township must have strong, well-conceived projects, and work closely with funding agencies, to be able to compete.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – Department of Interior funding administered by DCNR to provide 50% matching grants for general public outdoor park, recreation and conservation projects. Additionally, projects funded through this program must be identified in or further the specific goal of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. An eligible project such as a large scale recreation complex may include: swimming pools, tot lots, playfields and paved courts, as well as the installation of utilities, park roads, landscaping, comfort stations and other support facilities related to the outdoor use of the project site.


▪▪Contact Jean Lynch in the DCNR Southeast Regional Office at (215) 560-1182 or jealynch@pa.gov

▪▪Review PA’s guidance on this program at

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/ public/documents/document/d_001243.pdf

▪▪Determine whether the Dickinson

FarmsteadPark initiatives are in the State Outdoor Recreation Plan and, if not, get them in that Plan

▪▪Required 50% cash match ▪▪Grant range in size, with up to $200,000 or more per project possible

▪▪Project funds are reimbursed

Keystone Community Recreation and Conservation Program – The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) provides grant funds for public parks, recreation, and trails projects. This is funded by a combination of state resources and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund program. One key source, the “Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund” was funded again this year by the state legislature.

▪▪Contact Jean Lynch in the DCNR Southeast Regional Office at (215) 560-1182 or jealynch@pa.gov

▪▪Grant should be opened at beginning of 2014, with applications due early spring 2014

▪▪Planning grants are typically <$50,000 ▪▪Construction grants are typically between $150,000 and $200,000

▪▪Match requirement is 50%, except for

communities with a population <5,000 and a project of <$60,000, which can receive a lower match requirement to as low as 0% match.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Parks and Recreation – Funding for parks and recreation, although critical for communities, has taken severe cuts during the economic downtown. Plymouth Township must have strong, well-conceived projects, and work closely with funding agencies, to be able to compete.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES Greenways, Trails & Recreation Program – The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) provides grants for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation, improvements and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, public parks and beautification projects.


▪▪Grants up to $250,000 ▪▪50% match ▪▪Next round deadline expected in late summer 2014

▪▪See www.newpa.com/sites/default/files/ uploads/GreenwaysTrailsRecreation_ Guidelines-2013.pdf

▪▪Contact DCED’s Center for Business

Financing, Site Development Division at 717.787.6245 or radcedcbf@state.pa.us for more info

DCNR Recreational Trails Program - This program funds projects that help develop and maintain recreational trails, as well as, the creation of new trails and the purchase of equipment and related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail use and provides for the purchase of trail related equipment. Additionally, projects funded through this program must be identified in or further the specific goal of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

▪▪Contact Jean Lynch in the DCNR Southeast

DCNR Partnerships Program - This program funds projects that help build professional capacity and provide education to the public on the benefit and value of recreation, conservation and heritage in Pennsylvania, assisting to better develop and manage recreation and park facilities, as well as, to promote the conservation of natural and heritage resources through plan implementation, education and training. This program would serve as a way to generate best practices for park managers and community groups.

▪▪Contact Jean Lynch in the DCNR Southeast

Regional Office at (215) 560-1182 or jealynch@pa.gov

▪▪Grant period will be opened at the

beginning of the year with a close date set in early Spring

▪▪Must match at least 20% ▪▪Determine whether the State College

park initiatives are in the State Outdoor Recreation Plan and, if not, get them in that Plan

Regional Office at (215) 560-1182 or jealynch@pa.gov


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Parks and Recreation – Funding for parks and recreation, although critical for communities, has taken severe cuts during the economic downtown. Plymouth Township must have strong, well-conceived projects, and work closely with funding agencies, to be able to compete.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES DCNR Peer-to-Peer Program - This program funds projects that help municipalities improve their park, recreation and conservation services through a collaborative process. Projects are accomplished through contracts with experienced park, recreation and conservation professionals from nearby communities who will work closely with local leaders. Specifically, funds can be used to create a Recreation and Park Agency.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan


▪▪Contact Jean Lynch in the DCNR Southeast Regional Office at (215) 560-1182 or jealynch@pa.gov

▪▪Maximum award $10,000 ▪▪Minimum match 10%

Parks and Recreation – Funding for parks and recreation, although critical for communities, has taken severe cuts during the economic downtown. Plymouth Township must have strong, well-conceived projects, and work closely with funding agencies, to be able to compete.



National Park Service GroundWork Trust – the Groundwork Trust model involves strong partnerships between government, business, foundations, community groups, and residents to build safer and stronger communities, support local economies and promote environmental sustainability. Groundwork USA is a network of independent, not-for-profit, environmental businesses called Groundwork Trusts linked together by the Groundwork USA national office. Locally organized and controlled, Groundwork Trusts provide cost effective project development services focused on improving their communities; environment, economy and quality of life. Services include community planning, project management, design and construction, fundraising, and support for maintenance.

▪▪Enter into discussions with local businesses

National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) – Technical assistance for community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives. RTCA staff provides guidance to communities so they can conserve waterways, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways. This can opportunity can also be used as an entry point for gather information and resources for further project development.

▪▪Deadline August 1st. ▪▪Contact the National Park Service RTCA

and constituents to generate “buy in” for the creation of a community trust. Establishing a new Groundwork Trust is a multi-step competitive process. An interested community establishes a steering committee of diverse stakeholders and applies to the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program for consideration. If selected, they work with NPS to evaluate Groundwork for their community and to submit a full proposal for Groundwork USA Pilot Funding and Technical Assistance. If their proposal is selected they then work with NPS on indepth feasibility study. Upon completion, if the final decision is to establish the new GW Trust, NPS provides seed funding and technical assistance. For more information, please contact Douglas Evans at NPS, douglas_evans@nps.gov.

office for an initial project discussion.

▪▪Dave Lange, Program Manager, david_a_ lange@nps.gov, (215) 597-6477


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Sustainability / Smart Growth – The Dickinson Farmstead Park master plan has a strong connection to the principals of smart growth and sustainable development. Plymouth Township can seek additional resources that support these specific areas.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES Pennsylvania Growing Greener - Growing Greener, the largest single investment of state funds in Pennsylvania’s history, is set to expire. Growing Greener directed nearly $625 million over six years to the new Environmental Stewardship Fund. Growing Greener funds can be used for preserving open space; watershed planning; recreational trails and parks; stormwater management, and other uses. Eligible applicants include non-profit groups, counties, and municipalities. A local match is encouraged, but not required. A Growing Greener III program may replace the existing program, but there is no certainty of a replacement at this time.


▪▪Pennsylvania DEP Officials are optimistic that the State Legislature will fund this program, but there has yet to be an announcement.

▪▪Contact Cheryl Snyder, chesnyder@state. pa.us, (717)772-5640

▪▪Sign up to be notified when/if funding is

made available http://www.ahs2.dep.state. pa.us/CentralListManager/Default.aspx?id=2

▪▪Funding levels could be highly variable, depending on the legislature’s decision

▪▪On average, in the past 6 years, projects ranged from $10,000 to $1 million

▪▪Average of 100 grants per year at an average of $350,000

National Endowment for the Humanities, America’s Historical & Cultural Organizations, Planning grants and Implementation Grants – for historic site interpretation, exhibitions, cultural programming. The program offers both early stage planning and implementation. Specifically, NEH’s “implementation” is for the production of more thorough and scholarly research, design development, production, and installation of a project for presentation to the public.

▪▪While the site is certainly historic in nature,

National Endowment for the Humanities, Challenge Grant – capacity building grant for humanities programs that support a non-profit effort to raise funding for building a humanities program, that can include facility rehab, expenses for collections, and fundraising.

▪▪Deadline will likely be in early May with a

there will need to be a concerted effort made to align it with the advancement of the humanities.

▪▪Deadline is January 8th and again in August ▪▪Average 9 awards per year ▪▪Scholarly consultation is essential ▪▪Award amounts vary draft proposal submitted 4 to 6 weeks in advance for review

▪▪Grants range from $30,000 to $1 million, with any grant over $500,000 being significantly difficult to obtain

▪▪Required match is 2:1 with competitive

applications typically being 3:1. Match and expenditure may be spread over 6 years.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Sustainability / Smart Growth – The Dickinson Farmstead Park master plan has a strong connection to the principals of smart growth and sustainable development. Plymouth Township can seek additional resources that support these specific areas.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES Wells Fargo / National Fish & Wildlife Foundation “Environmental Solutions for Communities” grants – will provide grants of up to $250,000 to localities for, among other focus areas, community-based conservation projects that protect and restore local habitats and natural areas, enhance water quality, promote urban forestry, educate and train community leaders on sustainable practices, promote related job creation and training, and engage diverse partners and volunteers; and demonstration projects that showcase innovative, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly approaches to improve environmental conditions within urban communities by “greening” traditional infrastructure and public projects such as storm water management and flood control, public park enhancements, and renovations to public facilities.

Must have a 1:1 match with the Wells Fargo grants.

EPA Green Infrastructure Program (“GIP”) grants – EPA provides technical assistance to design community green infrastructure programs and projects. There is likely to be a solicitation for applications in the first half of each year.


▪▪Wells Fargo/NFWF target specific localities and regions in each round. The region of Pennsylvania in which Plymouth is located is not in the targeted regions at this time, and thus we recommend that the borough consider this in future potential rounds.

▪▪The NFWF had a dedicated program

focused on the improving the The Delaware River Watershed. The Delaware River Restoration Fund (DRRF) is dedicated to improving the water quality and accelerating restoration of habitats of the Delaware River and its tributaries. The fund was launched in late 2013 to help community-based nonprofits and government agencies efficiently work together to clean up and restore polluted waters and improve habitat in strategic geographies within the Delaware Watershed. The fund is supported by the William Penn Foundation. http:// www.nfwf.org/delaware/Documents/ NFWFdelawareFS20151203.pdf

▪▪There released in the first half of the year. ▪▪Coordinate with EPA Region 3 officials

working in green infrastructure in both the Water and Brownfields offices, and coordinate with the Green Infrastructure Program leads in EPA HQ’s Office of Water.

▪▪Funding ranges from $30,000 to $75,000


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Sustainability / Smart Growth – The Dickinson Farmstead Park master plan has a strong connection to the principals of smart growth and sustainable development. Plymouth Township can seek additional resources that support these specific areas.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES Urban and Community Forestry Grants – This funding is used to encourage the planting of trees in Pennsylvania communities. Municipal challenge grants provide 50 percent of the cost of the purchase and delivery of trees. In Pennsylvania, grants for tree planting of up to $15,000 per municipality can be given under the “TreeVitalize” program. See www.treevitalize. net/SubGrant.aspx


▪▪Contact the PA DCNR “Service Forester”

for your county, at www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ forestry/yourwoods/ serviceforesters/index. htm.

▪▪Contact the Pennsylvania Community Forestry Council in Harrisburg at www.pacommunityforests.com/ contactinformation/index.htm

The Pennsylvania Community Forest Council also provides “Municipal Challenge” grants to cover the cost of planting up to 50 trees, “Municipal Tree Restoration Program” grants in partnership with utilities to help ensure tree planting that does not interfere with overhead wires, and “Tree Improvement Grants” to support better care of existing trees. See www.pacommunityforests. com/ grants/index.htm. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Tree Tenders® Program This program is at the forefront of the urban tree movement across the country, and is one of the oldest, most respected volunteer urban tree planting and stewardship programs in the world. The program offers hands-on tree care training, covering biology, identification, planting and proper care.

▪▪Call the PHS at 215.988.1698

See http://phsonline.org/programs/tree-tenders for more information. PHS Plant One Million is the largest multi-state tree campaign in the nation, with a goal to restore the tree canopy cover—the area of land shaded by trees—in the Greater Philadelphia Region to 30 percent. PHS is pleased to partner with the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s TreePhilly program, the New Jersey Tree Foundation, The Delaware Center for Horticulture, and the DCNR TreeVitalize program to plant trees to help achieve our collective vision of a greener and healthier region. See http://phsonline.org/programs/plantone-million for more information.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

▪▪Call the PHS at 215.988.1698

Transportation Infrastructure – The Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan includes walking paths as well as recommends complete street improvements to Westerly Parkway that could be funded with state and federal transportation infrastructure grants.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES PA DOT “Transportation Alternatives” Funding – The MAP-21 legislation mandates that each State must use 1% of its funding allocation and may use up to 2% of its funding allocation on these “Transportation Alternatives” projects which include non-motorized trails, sidewalks, transit stations, and other walkability/sustainability projects. In PA, that means $16-$32 million a year, for two years, for these projects. This “Alternatives” fund replaces the Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails, and Safe Routes to Schools programs that have been traditionally funded by U.S. DOT through the states.


▪▪The key to obtaining State transportation

funding is to have your projects listed in the “Transportation Improvement Plan” established by the Delaware Valley Region Commission (DVRPC), and the corresponding “State Transportation Improvement Plan” established by PA DOT. In general, the more outreach and collaboration to the County and PA DOT, the better. Plymouth should work with Penndel Borough on revisiting the Borough’s TNDI project funded by DVRPC to improve the intersection of Hulmeville Avenue and PA 513 as a part of the overall transportation improvements that provide better access to the parks in both municipalities. Consider enlisting State reps and senators for help.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN Historic and Cultural Resources – The Dickinson Farmstead Park master plan provides specific recommendations related to the stabilization, conservation and preservation of the historic Farmstead resources. Plymouth Township can seek additional resources that ensure these important resources are maintain for current future generations.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES PA Historical and Museum Commission Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Grants – This funding is available to nonprofit organizations and local governments for the planning and development for publicly accessible historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The purpose of the grant is to support projects that identify, preserve, promote and protect historic and archaeological resources of Pennsylvania for both the benefit of the public and the revitalization of communities. These grants can be from $5,000 to $25,000. The match requirement is 50% local/50% PHMC funding. The local match must be cash and cannot include in-kind services. Funding is available in the categories of: Cultural Resource Surveys; National Register Nominations; Planning and Development Assistance; and Archaeology. This grant program could support the preparation of a Historic Structures Report and potential National Register Nomination Part 1 application to determine site eligibilty. These grants are typically in March on PHMC’s eGrant application system. The grant periods are typically two years from the execution of the grant agreement.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan


▪▪Contact the PHMC Emma Diehl, Historic

Building Project Reviewer (Eastern Region) (717) 787-9121; emdiehl@pa.gov and Scott Doyle, Division Chief, Grant Programs and Markers, (717) 783-6012; midoyle@pa.gov.




Implementation Plan



Implementation Plan Plymouth Township’s acquisition of Dickinson Farmstead will conserve this site, dating back to 1710, for present and future generations of this community to learn about their heritage through educational and recreational opportunities. It will add another dimension to public recreation that now includes heritage, nature, fitness, fun, and lifetime learning. To preserve the historic buildings and landscape as well as provide appropriate public recreational use, a creative implementation plan that taps a mix of public and private resources over time is required. Not everything can be accomplished at once to both protect the site and optimize public use. But certain actions are urgent to stabilize and protect the buildings from deterioration and for public safety. The implementation plan focuses on immediate and short term actions based upon funding from a mix of sources over the next five years with the goal of undertaking immediate safety actions and attaining limited public use of the grounds.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR IMPLEMENTATION FOR THE DICKINSON FARMSTEAD PARK MASTER PLAN Since many unanswered questions on the future use of the property are to be determined, the plan and guiding principles were developed based upon optimum heritage conservation and use of the site. The guiding principles that form the foundation of the Dickinson Farmstead Master Plan include the following: ªª Conserving

the heritage of Plymouth Township and building public awareness about it through appropriate use of the site for recreational and educational programs and opportunities.

ªª Since

the project will require significant funding, the Township will prioritize projects that can be funded via grants. However, grants will not cover all the costs.

ªª For site improvements to be realistic, achievable, and

respectful of township resources, each major work element must be broken down into smaller cost work items.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

ªª Items

required for public safety, risk management, and building stabilization will be priorities. If these tasks are not fundable with grants in a timely way, the item and costs with township funding is proposed.

ªª The priority for projects is:

• Public Safety • Property Stabilization • Protection of property once it is stabilized. Order of repairs should work from the “outside in.” Building stabilization and improvements will be based upon structural soundness, outside building repairs and lastly interior requirements.

• Building use through 2022 will be concentrated on

two purposes: the apartment in Dickinson House for revenue and retaining an onsite presence for the property and, secondly, as a home for the Plymouth Meeting Historical Society.

• Mothballing of most of the buildings or portions of

the buildings until adequate improvements can be made for public use will be undertaken under the guidelines of the Department of the Interior and the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum condition as the site is on the National Register of Historic Places. Mothballing will have a cost in the form of winterization, utility payments, ongoing repairs, and security.

• For establishing and facilitating the basic level of pub-

lic use, creating appropriate use of the grounds will be the first (before building use). Removal of hazardous trees, a play area, a parking lot, pathways, a trail head for bicyclists, and restoration of the woodland landscape will be the priority for the next five years. It is important to make sure that the site is safe for public use before it is open to the public. It should remain officially closed until rendered safe for public access.

• The Township will apply for grants under the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Department of Community & Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission each year for the next five years. These grants range in funding amounts and match requirements in the range of $100,000 to $500,000 projects requiring match of 15 to 50 percent. These are proposed in the following implementation table.

• While the Township will continue to support the utility and maintenance costs, the Township will also evaluate the present fee structure for use of the site for optimal cost recovery.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN The following table presents the five-year Capital Improvement Plan for Dickinson Farmstead.

• 5-Year Implementation Strategy Year


Dangerous tree removal. Essential for public safety Play Area & Recreation Improvements Parking Lot and Stormwater Management Site work, grading, retaining structure Stormwater conveyance Plantings - Developer tree money 2018 barn Structure Architectural/Engineering plans & specifications Apply for PHMC construction grant

Grant Funding

Township Funding



30,000 250,000


156,000 94,000

28,000 16,210

Other Funding Source

50K-75K PHMC


Total Cost 30,000 500,000 184,000 110,210 75,000






121,210 75,000

General Maintance Dickinson House Albertson House barn

Sidewalk along Chemical Rd and Site Improvements Funds from others (Citizen’s Bank) Parking Lot and Stormwater Management Hardscape and Paving Site Furnishings Walking Trails, Woodland Restoration, Site 2019 Beautification barn Improvements New Roof System Repair/Refurbish Exterior Apply for 2020 grant




116,000 27,000

24,000 6,000

140,000 33,000















General Maintance Dickinson House Albertson House

barn Improvements

Floor w/ radiant floor tubing Utilities 2020 Apply for 2021 grant

General Maintance Dickinson House Albertson House




PA R K M ASTER PLAN • 5-Year Implementation Strategy Year

Component barn Improvements


Rear Addition Apply for 2022 grant

Grant Funding PHMC


General Maintance Dickinson House Albertson House

barn Improvements

Interior framing, mechanical, electrical

2022 General Maintance Dickinson House Albertson House


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Township Funding

Other Funding Source

Total Cost










Appendix A: Zoning and Building Code Review



Appendix A Z o n i n g : Pe r m i t t e d Uses, Required S e t b a c k s , Pa r k i n g , And Area Regulations

personal household use; laundering, cleaning and dyeing; sale of ice, coal, fuel oil, monuments; metal smithing; extrusion of small materials; welding, body repair; plating; cold storage plant; and frozen food locker. 9. Hotel. 10. Self-service storage facility.

LI Zoning District requirements for height, area, yard This section provides a more detailed overview of the and building coverage (Article XIV, Section 1404): zoning ordinances that would affect any manner of development on the Dickinson Farmstead property. The LI Zoning District ordinance also outlines building

LIMITED INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT Permitted Uses within the LI Zoning District (Article XIV, Section 1400): 1. Fabrication of products from previously prepared materials, including, but not limited to, bone, cloth or textiles, cork, flooring, fur, feathers, hair, horn, glass, paper, sheet rubber, shell or wood. 2. Manufacturing or processing of beverages, confections, cream, all food products (exclusive of fish packing or as otherwise excepted herein) ceramics, clothing, plastics, electrical appliances, furniture, hardware, tools, patterns, dies, scientific instruments, jewelry, time pieces, optical goods, musical instruments, toys, cosmetics (exclusive of soap), tobacco products, and pharmaceuticals. 3. Wholesale trade, including, but not limited to, the storage and sale of lumber, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, building materials and supplies, except retail sales and services. 4. Food service or catering; provided, that no food is served to customers on-site. 5. Printing of paper, plastic, and metal. 6. Public utility facilities. 7. Research, development and testing of new products, laboratories. 8. Warehousing and distributing, excluding storage for


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

and site requirements concerning height, area, yard, and building coverage. These requirements are listed below, but must be regarded alongside the list of considerations from the Historic District chapter of the ordinance as well: 1. Minimum Lot Area: Two (2) acres. 2. Minimum Lot Frontage: Two hundred (200) feet.

3. Maximum Building Coverage: Thirty-three and onethird (33 1/3) percent of total lot area. 4. Maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR): Fifty (50) percent. 5. Maximum Impervious Surface Coverage: Seventyfive (75) percent of total lot area. 6. Minimum Setback Requirements for Buildings or Parking Structures:

• Front yard: Fifty (50) feet from any established existing or ultimate right-of-way.

• Side yard: Fifty (50) feet. • Rear yard: Fifty (50) feet. • Residential district: Any setback requirement shall be

increased to one hundred (100) feet where the lot abuts a residential district, except where separated by a limited access highway, in which case the setback may be reduced to fifty (50) feet.

7. Minimum Setback Requirements for Surface Parking Areas and Interior Roadways:

• Front yard: Twenty-five (25) feet from any established or ultimate right-of-way.

• Side yard: Ten (10) feet. • Rear yard: Twenty-five (25) feet.

• Residential district: Any setback requirement shall be

increased to fifty (50) feet where the lots abuts a residential district, except where separated by a limited access highway, in which case the setback may be reduced to twenty-five (25) feet.

8. Maximum height: Fifty (50) feet, except that such height may be increased to a maximum of eighty (80) feet; provided, that for each one (1) foot rise in height in excess of fifty (50) feet each setback requirement shall be increased by three (3) feet where adjacent to a nonresidential district or a residential district separated by a limited access highway and five (5) feet when adjacent to a residential district.

Buffering Requirements for all parking areas (Article XVII, Section 1706): Buffers shall consist of a double row of evergreens, 15 feet on center, with the rows 10 feet apart. The rows shall be staggered such that each tree is diagonally opposite a tree in the adjacent row. The evergreens shall be a minimum height of six to eight feet at installation and shall conform to the standards and specifications of the American Nurserymen’s Association. In addition, opaque fencing or other screening material may be required at the discretion of the Township council upon the recommendation of the planning agency. Buffers shall be required in the following areas: ªª Adjacent to any residential district or residential use. ªª Adjacent


to any institutional use, exception public

ªª Between

any area used for the exterior storage of materials and any public or private street.

Parking and Loading Requirements: The parking spaces shall be required to be nine (9) feet by eighteen (18) feet in accordance with the zoning ordinance. Aisles between parking spaces should have a minimum width of twenty-six (26) feet, however this may be reduced to twenty-four (24) feet provided that an area equivalent to the difference between the general ordinance and the reduced standards of the Limited Industrial District section is subtracted from the allowable impervious coverage limit upon application to the Township council and approval therefrom.

The minimum number of parking spaces necessary to provide adequate parking is defined as follows (Article XIV, Section 1407): 1. Retail Sales or Services.

• 5.5 spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet of

gross leasable floor area up to and including fifty thousand (50,000) square feet.

• 5.0 spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet of gross leasable floor area in excess of fifty thousand (50,000) square feet.

2. Office Uses.

• 4.5 spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet of gross leasable floor area up to one hundred thousand (100,000) square feet.

• 4.0 spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet of gross leasable floor area of one hundred thousand (100,000) square feet or greater.

3. All other uses shall be as otherwise required pursuant to Article XVII of this Ordinance.

OPEN SPACE RECREATION DISTRICT The Township has an Open Space Recreation (OPR) District that could apply to the Farmstead site. It would appear that some of the existing structures would be non-conforming, as well as some of the potential future uses of the site. In addition, it is important to note the use and area regulations in the OPR District are more restrictive than some other zoning districts, including the LI District.

Use Regulations (Article XXIX, Section 2900): 1. Agricultural use, including tilling of the soil, nursery, greenhouse and the keeping or raising of livestock and poultry; provided that any building or structure used for the keeping and raising of livestock and poultry shall be situated not less than one hundred (100) feet from any street line or property line. 2. Recreational use, including public or private parks or playgrounds, picnic grounds, golf courses, day camps, athletic fields and courts, recreation camps, swimming pools, swim clubs, tennis clubs and county clubs. 3. Utilities and community facilities, including transmission lines and substations and similar apparatus, sewage disposal and water treatment plants, and appurtenant facilities, watershed protection works, reservoirs, pipelines.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN 4. Forestry and wood production. 5. Fish hatcheries and wildlife preserves. 6. Vehicle parking areas. 7. Historic monuments and buildings, which may be open for public viewing and inspection. The area requirements for front, side and rear yards are much more restrictive than those in a Limited Industrial Zone. This may cause some issues to arise in the design and placement of parking areas and any potential new facilities (restrooms, etc.) that may be called for with the introduction of new uses on the site.

Area Regulations (Article XXIX, Section 2901): 1. Lot Area and Frontage. For each main building or use, there shall be provided not less than two hundred thousand (200,000) square feet of lot area and frontage at the building line of not less than fifty (50) feet on at least one (1) street. 2. Building Area. Not more than fifteen (15) percent of the lot area may be occupied by buildings. 3. Front Yard. There shall be a front yard on each street on which a lot abuts which shall be not less than seventy (70) feet in depth. 4. Side Yards. There shall be two (2) side yards on each lot, which shall be not less than eighty (80) feet in aggregate width, and neither of which shall be less than forty (40) feet in width. 5. Rear Yard. There shall be a rear yard on each lot which shall not be less than forty (40) feet in depth.

PLYMOUTH MEETING HISTORICAL DISTRICT The Historic District ordinance found in the Plymouth Township Code of Ordinances also defines a list of design guidelines for both the preservation and construction of structures as well as sites and areas, determined to have historical significance within the district.

Site and Building Requirements The following is an abbreviated list of the design guidelines under the Historic District chapter of the Ordinance. For a complete list, reference Chapter 7: Historic Districts in the Plymouth Township Code of Ordinances, Sections 7-8 Design Guidelines.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

1. Broad historical values representing the cultural, political, economic, or social history of the Township. 2. The relationship of the building or structure to historic personages or events. 3. Significant architectural types representative of a certain historical period and a style or method of construction. 4. The effect of the proposed change upon the general historical and architectural nature of the District. 5. The appropriateness of the exterior architectural features that can be seen from a public street or way. 6. The general design, arrangement, texture, and material of the building or structure and the relation of such factors to similar features of buildings or structures in the District. 7. Variations. The Historical Architectural Review Board shall grant variations in a manner that will be in harmony with the character of the other buildings or structures on the street and/or districts. 8. The height of any new building or structure shall not exceed the height of the tallest adjacent building or structure by 10%. This requirement shall also apply to any proposed modifications to existing buildings or structures.


decision should be made regarding the future zoning of the Dickinson Farmstead property. The list of potential end uses and activities that will occur on the site, most importantly the multi-purpose events/meeting space in the barn, will be important in deciding the most appropriate zoning classification and if a change is desirable. If a multi-purpose events/ meeting facility is constructed in the barn, such a use does not appear to clearly conform to the exiting LI District or the OPR District. Variance for nonconforming uses could be pursued or a change of zoning could also be considered, although based on current zoning, variances may still be required.

English Ground Barn Building Code Review BACKGROUND A part of the assessment of the Dickinson Farmstead buildings and site conditions includes the potential reuse of the English Ground Barn, specifically to determine relevant accessibility and building code issues. Reuse planning efforts will be performed utilizing the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC). The UCC consists of the International Construction Codes (ICC) with the 2009 edition currently in effect with the exception of the adoption of Chapter 11 and Appendix E (Related to accessibility) of the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) which became effective April 16, 2016. The building’s designation as a contributing resource to the Plymouth Meeting Historic District may provide some flexibility in specific code issues where accommodations typically required by code are in conflict with the preservation of the character-defining features and/ or significant historic fabric of the building. The 2009 International Existing Building Code also contains a section titled “Chapter 11 – Historic Buildings”. This chapter involves issues and exceptions that are specific to historic buildings. Depending on the decided re-use of the building, different code requirements may need to be considered when evaluating the cost and complexity of renovations. A building undergoing a change in occupancy classification must follow criteria in the building codes that reflect whether the change results in a higher level of hazard than that previously established. As a result, certain uses may increase the cost and/or difficulties of the construction, which may factor against that option when making a final determination of the “preferred” reuse.

EXISTING CONFIGURATION As originally constructed, the barn actually consists of two sections that were built at different times; an original larger section and a later smaller one. They are not internally interconnected to each other even though they share one wall. Each has separate openings to the exterior. Both interiors have evidence remaining of the original loft wood framing, and the smaller section still has some timbers intact, although not in good condition. The barn sections are open to the roof above which has been replaced with

modern framing (pre-engineered wood trusses), sheathing, and shingles in the more recent past. The floors are dirt. On the exterior, the west side (rear area) has stone walls constructed to form enclosures behind both barn sections. These walls vary in height and have no roof over them. The south end of the larger barn section has three stone piers that supported a past shed roof. Original wood doors/openings have been replaced with modern plywood sheet material and some doors are not currently operable.

PROPOSED USES The English Ground Barn is being considered for future use as a multi-purpose space that can be utilized for private and public events. Since both barn sections are not connected internally, they could be used to support separate events, or if permitted by PHMC, an opening could be created directly between the two sections allowing the space to function as one room for larger events. A lobby/gallery or breakout type space could be constructed within the remains of the existing stone wall enclosures, possibly including a section of the new roof in glass. This area would be accessible from both sections of the barn. Support facilities such as accessible restrooms can be tucked in between some sections of the stone walls and would access the lobby/gallery/breakout space directly. Other required spaces such as storage, mechanical/electrical rooms, and catering kitchen, etc., could be constructed as new to the rear of the stone wall enclosures and integrated


PA R K M ASTER PLAN into the design. Placing all new construction in the rear where it is not readily visible from the original Farmstead would be in keeping with the covenant placed on the property as to its use and modifications.

BUILDING CODE OCCUPANCY AND REQUIREMENTS Given the proposed use for events, the occupancy classification of the structure, according to the building code, would be Assembly Group A. Likely uses would be A-2 (Uses Intended for Food/Drink Consumption) or A-3 (Uses such as Community Halls or Exhibition Halls, or Lecture Halls). Since the difference between A-2 and A-3 mostly revolves around food and drink consumption, A-2 will be used here since it is the stricter of the two.

Minimum Number of Required Plumbing Fixtures – Group A-3 Occupancy based on 298 maximum occupants and 50:50 ratio of men to women (150 men/150 women) ªª Men

– Water Closets (Minimum (1) per 125 persons or (2) required, can substitute (1) urinal)

Lavatories (Minimum (1) per 200 persons or (1) required) ªª Women – Water Closets (Minimum (1) per 65 persons

or (3) required)

Lavatories (Minimum (1) per 200 persons or (1) required) ªª Drinking

Fountains – (Minimum (1) per 500 persons required)

Since the English Ground Barn is composed of two sections and it is not known whether an opening can be created directly between the two, they will be treated as separate spaces. Using the Maximum Floor Area Allowance Per Occupant for assembly without fixed seats and a concentrated (chairs only) type event, the following occupant load can be determined. (For events that required standing space only, the occupant load would increase as well as any corresponding code requirements for exiting, etc.)

Minimum Number of Required Plumbing Fixtures – Group A-2 Occupancy based on 298 maximum occupants and 50:50 ratio of men to women (150 men/150 women)

1. Original larger section with exterior dimensions of approximately 46 x 30 feet.

Lavatories (Minimum (1) per 200 persons or (1) required)

It contains about 1,180 sq. ft. gross of usable space. 1,180 divided by 7 = 169 persons. 2. Later and smaller section with exterior dimensions of approximately 33 x 33 feet. It contains about 900 sq. ft. gross of usable space. 900 divided by 7 = 129 persons. Under Group A-2 Occupancy, a sprinkler system would be required with an occupant load of 100 or more persons. In contrast, under Group A-3 Occupancy, a sprinkler system is only required with an occupant load of 300 or more persons. Since it can be envisioned that food and drink consumption would be an integral part of the reuse of the English Ground Barn, it should be assumed that a sprinkler system will need to be installed. Plumbing fixtures are based on the number of occupants, dividing them equally between men and women. A comparison of A-2 and A-3 are shown. There is not much difference under these circumstances.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

ªª Men – Water Closets (Minimum (1) per 75 persons or

(2) required, can substitute (1) urinal)

ªª Women – Water Closets (Minimum (1) per 75 persons

or (2) required)

Lavatories (Minimum (1) per 200 persons or (1) required) ªª Drinking

Fountains – (Minimum (1) per 500 persons required)


Appendix B: Probable Costs and Phasing



Appendix B Probable Costs and Phasing IMPLEMENTATION PHASING A park master plan strives to create a cohesive and connected vision for a park site that responds to the needs of stakeholders and the community it aims to serve. That comprehensive vision for a park can often be difficult to implement all at once, though. Instead, a plan must often be implemented as a series of smaller projects which all contribute to the overall creation and construction of the park. By approaching the plan in these smaller, digestible chunks, the Township can implement the improvements over time without bearing the full financial impact of the costs simultaneously. Within this report, a list of key recommendations have been identified for Dickinson Farmstead Park to preserve and enhance the site as a public amenity. The implementation packages outlined in this section overlap and build on those recommendations as a series of discrete projects which can be built over time. These packages include elements from both the building restoration/historic preservation portions of the plan and the new site construction which seeks to make the park more functional/accessible as a public space. These implementation packages largely focus on the physical plan elements being proposed on the farmstead but there are also recommendations elsewhere within the plan for improved maintenance and changes to how the land is managed that are not included within a particular implementation package.


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan

Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan - Summary of Phased Costs IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE





Play Area and Recreation Improvements


492,000.00 $



Parking and Stormwater Improvements


371,000.00 $



Events Plaza and Circulation Improvements


334,000.00 $



Routine Building Maint. and Landscape Improvements


164,000.00 $



Historic Barn Renovations and Addition


1,547,000.00 $



Multi-Use Trailhead Connection


142,000.00 $



Restroom Facilities


178,000.00 $



Woodland Restoration and Walking Trails


169,000.00 $



3,397,000.00 $



This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs. All building repairs and modifications are subject to approval by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission under a pre-existing covenant. Therefore, all building repair/modification costs are subject to change.


PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE A - PLAY AREA AND RECREATION IMPROVEMENTS Implementation Package A includes the construction of the new playground and recreation area near the existing Farmstead buildings. This package consists largely of the installation of the playground surface and equipment along with a seating wall surrounding the perimeter of the facility. In order to create access to this new recreation facility, the adjacent proposed vehicular circulation and parking is included in the package. Pedestrian paving between the playground and the parking/driveway would also be included in the package, providing the necessary access to the play area.

Implementation Package A components: ªª Installation of new playground area, including surface

and equipment

ªª Construction of perimeter seat wall for play area ªª Associated vehicular and pedestrian construction


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package A - Play Area and Recreation Improvements DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Clearing and Grubbing Rough Cut/Fill and Grading Operations Finish Grading

Stormwater Management

Stormwater Inlets HDPE Stormwater Conveyance Pipe


Exposed Aggregate Concrete Walkway Asphalt Pavement Cobblestone Paving Protective Play Area Surface

Site Furnishings

Play Elements/Equipment Masonry Seating Wall and Foundations Interpretative and DCNR Signing


Topsoil, Furnished and Placed Lawn Area, Topsoil, Seed, Seeding, and Mulch Shrubs Groundcover SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL



Unit Price


Acre SY SY

0.5 2,000 2,000

9,000.00 $ 5.00 $ 2.00 $

4,500.00 10,000.00 4,000.00

Each LF

2 250

2,000.00 $ 35.00 $

4,000.00 8,750.00


2,700 1,750 1,300 11,200


1 370 1

CY SY Each Plug Flats

10 100 5 10

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%

11.00 4.00 31.00 16.80

$ $ $ $

29,700.00 7,000.00 40,300.00 188,160.00

135,000.00 $ 150.00 $ 2,105.00 $

135,000.00 55,500.00 2,105.00

$ $ $ $ $

550.00 750.00 450.00 580.00

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

492,000.00 49,200.00 73,800.00 49,200.00 9,840.00 19,680.00 693,720.00

55.00 7.50 90.00 58.00


This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs.

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PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE B - PARKING AND STORMWATER IMPROVEMENTS Implementation Package B represents a key portion of the master plan. In order to support the Dickinson Farmstead Park master plan, access improvements need to be made and proper visitor parking needs to be provided. With that in mind, it will be crucial for this to be one of the first phases implemented in order to address the site’s vehicular circulation and parking needs. The package includes the construction of a new parking lot to support the new events space and recreation elements proposed in Packages A, C, and E. To create the new parking lot and the accompanying vehicular access, significant grading operations need to be undertaken. With these significant grading activities, earthretaining structures will likely have to be implemented as well to make the new access and parking feasible. Pedestrian circulation adjacent to the parking facilities would also be constructed during this phase to allow pedestrian access into the park.

Implementation Package B components: ªª Clearing

and grading operations for the new parking area and circulation

ªª Installation of architectural retaining structures ªª Construction of stormwater management facilities ªª Construction of new parking lot ªª Installation

of curbs, walkways, and supporting pedestrian infrastructure for parking facility


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package B - Parking and Stormwater Improvements DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Clearing and Grubbing Large Tree Removal Rough Cut/Fill and Grading Operations Finish Grading

Stormwater Management

Stormwater Management Soils and Plantings Precast Concrete Manhole at Existing Pipe Stormwater BMP Outfall Structures HDPE Stormwater Conveyance Pipe Impermeable Liner for Stormwater BMPs


Exposed Aggregate Concrete Walkway Asphalt Pavement Fieldstone Retaining Wall, 6-Foot Height

Site Furnishings

Regulatory Signage Aluminum Privacy Fencing


Topsoil, Furnished and Placed Lawn Area, Topsoil, Seed, Seeding, and Mulch Trees Shrubs Groundcover SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL



Unit Price



1.5 1 7,500 7,500

9,000.00 20,000.00 5.00 2.00

$ $ $ $

13,500.00 20,000.00 37,500.00 15,000.00

SF Each Each LF SF

5,800 1 2 200 5,800

6.50 8,000.00 5,000.00 35.00 2.00

$ $ $ $ $

37,700.00 8,000.00 10,000.00 7,000.00 11,600.00


1,850 20,000 135

11.00 $ 4.00 $ 300.00 $

20,350.00 80,000.00 40,500.00


1 225

1,500.00 $ 100.00 $

1,500.00 22,500.00

CY SY Each Each Plug Flats

85 2000 35 50 100

$ $ $ $ $ $

4,675.00 15,000.00 15,750.00 4,500.00 5,800.00

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

371,000.00 37,100.00 55,650.00 37,100.00 7,420.00 14,840.00 523,110.00

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%

55.00 7.50 450.00 90.00 58.00


This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs.

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PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE C - EVENTS COURTYARD AND CIRCULATION IMPROVEMENTS Implementation Package C includes the creation of the events courtyard adjacent to the barn as well as associated circulation improvements to make the area accessible for both vehicles and pedestrians. Circulation improvements within this package include the pedestrian connection between the barn/events space and the parking lot (including ADA accessible spaces) to be constructed in Package B. The pedestrian connection includes the series of staircases that need to be constructed to traverse the significant slope between the proposed parking and the center of the Farmstead. In addition to pedestrian access, improved vehicular access to the area is included in Package C. Landscape plantings in and around the plaza are included.

Implementation Package C components: ªª Construction of new events courtyard ªª Pedestrian


circulation between parking and events

ªª Planting improvements around events courtyard ªª Vehicular circulation improvements


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package C - Events Plaza and Circulation Improvements DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Rough Cut/Fill and Grading Operations Finish Grading

Stormwater Management

Stormwater Inlets HDPE Stormwater Conveyance Pipe


Exposed Aggregate Concrete Walkway Asphalt Pavement Cobblestone Paving Decomposed Granite Paving Unit Pavers for Plaza Area Retaining Walls/Railings for Stairs Concrete Stairs

Site Furnishings

Masonry Seating Wall and Foundations Interpretative Signing


Topsoil, Furnished and Placed Trees Shrubs Groundcover G SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL



Each LF



500 2,000

5.00 $ 2.00 $

2,500.00 4,000.00

2 150

2,000.00 $ 35.00 $

4,000.00 5,250.00


2,500 1,650 2,460 5,200 5,150 240 600


50 1

CY Each Each Plug Flats

40 6 10 40

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%

Unit Price

11.00 4.00 31.00 3.50 20.00 200.00 35.00

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

27,500.00 6,600.00 76,260.00 18,200.00 103,000.00 48,000.00 21,000.00

150.00 $ 1,500.00 $

7,500.00 1,500.00

55.00 450.00 90.00 58.00

$ $ $ $

2,200.00 2,700.00 900.00 2,320.00

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

334,000.00 33,400.00 50,100.00 33,400.00 6,680.00 13,360.00 470,940.00


This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs.

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PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE D - LANDSCAPE RESTORATION AND HISTORIC BUILDING MAINTENANCE Implementation Package D consists of the restoration of the landscape around the existing historic buildings and minor improvements to the buildings within the Farmstead outside of the barn buildings. This package does not include any substantial infrastructure improvements to the site, but initial repairs to the structures once the site is under Township ownership and initial landscape maintenance and improvements within the Farmstead Core. Minor improvements such as painting, plaster repair, masonry repointing, and other maintenance items for the buildings are included in this phase, as well as cleanup of existing landscape and supplemental plantings on the site.

Implementation Package D components: ªª Landscape restoration around Farmstead buildings ªª Maintenance

and Restoration of Dickinson and Albertson Houses


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package D - Routine Building Maintenance and Landscape Improvements DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Brush and Invasive Species Removal


Maintenance and Improvements to Driveway and Circulation


Historic Landscape Restoration

Building Improvements

Dickinson House Maintenance and Repairs Carriage House/Wagon Shed Maintenance and Repairs Stone Barn Maintenance and Repairs Smokehouse/Privy Maintenance and Repairs Icehouse Maintenance and Repairs Albertson House Maintenance and Repairs SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL



Unit Price




10,000.00 $




7,500.00 $




90,000.00 $



1 1 1 1 1 1

13,500.00 12,000.00 9,500.00 4,000.00 2,500.00 15,000.00

$ $ $ $ $ $

13,500.00 12,000.00 9,500.00 4,000.00 2,500.00 15,000.00

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

164,000.00 16,400.00 24,600.00 16,400.00 3,280.00 6,560.00 231,240.00 ,

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%


This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs. All building repairs and modifications are subject to approval by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission under a preexisting covenant. Therefore, all building repair/modification costs are subject to change.

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PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE E - HISTORIC BARN RENOVATIONS AND ADDITION Implementation Package E includes the majority of the historic preservation and building rehabilitation activities for the master plan, specifically as it pertains to the adaptive reuse and expansion of the barn. This phase includes all of the work to the barn and the additions necessary to convert it into a modern and functional events space. Improvements will include the installation of restroom facilities, lobby/ gallery, and other events space features. This package also includes the installation of new wet and dry utility service connections for the barn facility as well as the construction of the rear paved service access area and associated walls/ fences. Given everything involved with rehabilitating and expanding the barn, this is likely to be the largest capital project defined in this master plan, however the improved barn will serve as one of the site’s focal points and a major revenue generated to support the overall operation and maintenance of the park.

Implementation Package E components: ªª Rehabilitation and improvement of historic barn ªª Additions

to barn as needed to provide necessary services, such as restrooms, mechanicals, etc. to convert to an events space

ªª Utility connections to barn facility ªª Construction of rear service area


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package E - Historic Barn Renovations and Addition DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Sanitary Sewer Upgrades Water Supply Upgrades Electrical Connection Gas Utility Connection


Asphalt Pavement

Site Furnishings

Masonry Privacy Wall and Foundations Aluminum Privacy Fencing

Building Improvements

Barn Restoration and Upgrades Covered Patio Installation SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL




1 1 1 1


Unit Price

$ $ $ $

40,000.00 20,000.00 30,000.00 20,000.00


4.00 $



50 140

220.00 $ 100.00 $

11,000.00 14,000.00


1 1

1,300,000.00 $ 100,000.00 $

1,300,000.00 100,000.00

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%

40,000.00 20,000.00 30,000.00 20,000.00


$ 1,547,000.00 $ 154,700.00 $ 232,050.00 $ 154,700.00 $ 30,940.00 $ 61,880.00 $ 2,181,270.00 , ,


This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs. All building repairs and modifications are subject to approval by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission under a preexisting covenant. Therefore, all building repair/modification costs are subject to change.

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PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE F - MULTI-USE TRAILHEAD CONNECTION Implementation Package F includes the construction of the trailhead and multi-use trail connection to the CrossCounty Trail that runs along Chemical Road opposite the Dickinson Farmstead site. This connection will include the approximately 700 feet of trail connecting the new parking lot being constructed in Package B to the intersection of Chemical Road and entrance to the Metroplex office complex. That trail would be made possible along the sloped road edge through the construction of a retaining wall along its length. Improvements to the intersection crossing for the trail connection are also included in the package to allow for a full connection from the Farmstead to the trail.

Implementation Package F components: ÂŞÂŞ Construction

of trail and retaining structure along Chemical Road and connection to parking lot defined in Package B


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package F - Multi-Use Trailhead Connection DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Clearing and Grubbing Rough Cut/Fill and Grading Operations Finish Grading


Standard Concrete Paving Segmental Concrete Block Retaining Wall

Site Furnishings

Trail Signing Intersection Crossing Upgrades


Lawn Area, Topsoil, Seed, Seeding, and Mulch SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL



Unit Price


Acre SY SY

0.2 1,000 1,000

9,000.00 $ 5.00 $ 2.00 $

1,800.00 5,000.00 2,000.00


6,900 380

8.50 $ 160.00 $

58,650.00 60,800.00


1 1

1,500.00 $ 10,000.00 $

1,500.00 10,000.00



7.50 $


$ $ $ $ $ $ $

142,000.00 14,200.00 21,300.00 14,200.00 2,840.00 5,680.00 200,220.00

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%


This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs.

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PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE G - RESTROOM FACILITIES Implementation Package G consists of the construction of separate restroom facilities consisting of two unisex, family changing restrooms, that will serve the new recreational features of the Farmstead and be accessible when the barn facility is closed. The utility runs for the separate restroom facilities will need to be installed, though a majority of the utility work on the site should be completed under Package E, with these connections piggybacking on that larger utility installation effort. Package G also includes the installation of any necessary pavement applications around the building locations.

Implementation Package G components: ªª Construction of new restroom facilities near play area ªª Installation of supporting pedestrian paving


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package G - Restroom Facilities DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Sanitary Sewer Connection Water Supply Connection Electrical Connection Gas Utility Connection


Standard Concrete Paving


Lawn Area, Topsoil, Seed, Seeding, and Mulch

Building Improvements Restroom Facility

SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL




1 1 1 1


Unit Price

$ $ $ $

10,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00


8.50 $




7.50 $




150,000.00 $


$ $ $ $ $ $ $

178,000.00 17,800.00 26,700.00 17,800.00 3,560.00 7,120.00 250,980.00

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%

10,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 5,000.00



This level-of-magnitude Thi l l f i d cost breakdown b kd i intended is i d d to inform i f the h client, li d design i team, and d other h iinvolved l d parties i off the h potential i l costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs.

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PA R K M ASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE H - WOODLAND RESTORATION, PERIMETER BUFFERING, AND WALKING TRAILS Implementation Package H serves mainly to restore and improve the woodland sections and strategic buffering of adjacent properties within the site. These planting would also enhance these areas as an attraction within the park. The package primarily involves the identification and removal of various invasive species located within the wooded areas of the park property. In place of these invasive species, the package includes the process of installing new native planting materials that will foster a healthier and more attractive understory. These improvements could potentially be implemented over time with the changes to the site’s landscape management plan. Along with the improvement of the woodland ecology, the installation of the series of walking trails in the master plan is also included in this package.

Implementation Package H components: ªª Removal of invasive species in woodland areas ªª Installation of new native plant materials ªª Construction of walking trails


Dickinson Farmstead Park Master Plan



Implementation Package H - Woodland Restoration and Walking Trails DESCRIPTION

Site Work

Deadwood Removal and Tree Trimming Invasive Species Removal


Decomposed Granite Walking Trails

Site Furnishings

Aluminum Protective Fencing Deer Fencing Interpretive Signage for Walking Trails


Topsoil, Furnished and Placed Trees Shrubs Groundcover SUBTOTAL Contractor Mobilization/General Requirements/Overhead Construction Contingency Final Design Engineering Bid Assistance Construction Observation TOTAL


Acre Acre


Unit Price


2.5 2.5

5,000.00 $ 4,000.00 $

12,500.00 10,000.00



3.50 $



410 750 1

90.00 $ 5.50 $ 2,000.00 $

36,900.00 4,125.00 2,000.00

CY Each Each Plug Flats

100 60 200 400

10% 15% 10% 2% 4%

55.00 450.00 90.00 58.00

$ $ $ $

5,500.00 27,000.00 18,000.00 23,200.00

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

169,000.00 16,900.00 25,350.00 16,900.00 3,380.00 6,760.00 , 238,290.00


This level-of-magnitude cost breakdown is intended to inform the client, design team, and other involved parties of the potential costs associated with this project and determine funding strategies. Opinions of probable costs provided are based on preliminary design efforts and historical cost data. Quantities, unit prices, and specific line items are all subject to change as the design becomes more refined. This cost evaluation represents the judgement of the design professional, who does not guarantee that proposals, bids, or actual construction costs will not vary from their original opinion of the probable project costs.

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