The Ludwigs Corner Horse Show, a tradition in West Vincent and Chester County for 69 years has wrapped up its annual event for this year. I hope you made it out there and ignored the rain. West Vincent Township Manager James Wendelgass took the opportunity to time the sending of a letter to the Daily Local to coincide with the good press of the Horse Show.
http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20120904/OPINION02/120909866/west-vincent-association-s-statements-are-wrong It his opinion, which must have been approved by the Supervisors since he signed it as his employed title. I have sectioned his claims in italics. I will address each point in bold after his statements:
the Daily Local printed an article about the Ludwig’s
Corner Horse Show Association and its preparations for its
horse show. The article also talked about an increase in
membership in the association, which association officials
attributed to a reaction to an alleged attempt by West
Vincent Township to “develop” the property. Why do
representatives of the association continue to make
statements, and the Daily Local print them, which are
Mr. Wendelgass doesn't mention the date of the article, so I had to search for it. I found one that I have to guess is the one he is referring to, from almost one month ago. http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20120810/NEWS01/120819975/preparations-begin-for-annual-ludwig-s-corner-horse-show&pager=full_story
seems pretty clear in this article just what the rise in
membership was attributed to: "According
to Maria Jacobs, the action of eminent domain and resulting
community outcry resulted not only in interest but also in
memberships for the association". The comment by
the West Vincent Township Manager is mere speculation (and
wrong). In fact, in a later article http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20120904/NEWS01/120909904/soggy-finish-for-annual-horse-show-country-fair&pager=full_story
one new member gives his reasons:
lives just 8 miles from the showground but had never
attended the event. Now he is showing his support of the
Horse Show Association as a volunteer helping wherever
needed. “This process they went through with eminent domain,
that’s what drew me out here. I’m a volunteer forever now,”
he said. “I think it was criminal to even think about taking
this away from the horse people.”
James Wendelgass: "The effort by the township more than six months ago to acquire the horse show grounds by condemnation was done to preserve the property as a park and to preserve the equine uses of the property."
Anyone that views the video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4zoWPG91q0 will see that that vision is fatally flawed from the statements made by the Supervisors and Horse Show supporters.
The Township plan (the
publicly stated plan on the video) was to allow the Horse Show
on the back of the property and the ball fields on the front
(next to Rt 100). Attendees to the event (which apparently is
not the Supervisors or the Manager) would know that the Horse
Show encompasses the ENTIRE property.
the Township feels that it is OK to take any property they see
fit to "preserve" and only for an amount they want to give.
This should worry any landholder in the township.
James Wendelgass: "Development of the property was never raised and never considered."
Development of the property was not PUBLICLY raised BUT it could have been in the future if the right price was made to the township officials. Nobody can see into the future. In order to believe the statement by James Wendelgass, he and the Supervisors have to be trusted. I think the history of this bunch tells me to do otherwise.
James Wendelgass: "The
which were suggested for a portion of the site were
already in existence."
That's an interesting statement. See http://pininthemap.com/a7ab4070b78235542 Where are the ballfields? I believe that the Horse Show Association, as good citizens, allow the local soccer groups to practice on the fields, which are not very level, like most of the property. But Ball Fields? They don't exist.
James Wendelgass: "The township’s pledge to preserve this property from development forever through a conservation easement, a step that the association has never taken, was clearly consistent with all of its prior efforts to preserve property in the township."
What pledge? West Vincent Township was taking the ground and could change their mind at any time. If the Township was serious, they would have made a conscious pursuit of purchasing the Development rights of the property, which the Horse Show has emphatically stated did not happen. There was no need for the the Township to force a taking of private property. This would have kept a tax base and protected against the potential development that the Horse Show is firmly against in it's mission statement.
Concerning the “development” of the property, I can only presume Mr. Wendelgass has forgotten the West Vincent Master Plan, page 26: http://westvincenttwp.org/misc_docs/LCMP.pdf
The Horse Show grounds are, in part, commercially zoned. The plan clearly shows development on the property, which means the Township expected development. The Township is in control of the Zoning, not the Horse Show Association. How is the Horse Show at fault for the Township's creation of commercial zoning on that particular parcel? The Township creates the problem, then tries to sell what they are doing as protection to the public. Isn't that how the Mafia operates?
West Vincent Township expects trust from those it serves. Yet so often, the truth just doesn't matter with this administration.
As for the Police and other
contractual obligations that Mr. Wendelgass speaks of in his
published letter, that statement is positioned in the
article as a decoy. He needed something else to mask his
real intent of smearing the Horse Show and protecting his
employer. I think it is clear even to Mr. Wendelgass that
the benefits West Vincent gives the employees (and himself
as part of his $133,000 per year gross remuneration) are
above those of the Private sector and the taxpayer gets to
foot the bill.
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