A group of Perkiomen Valley residents, led by Speaker's House President Lisa Minardi, is circulating a petition urging the Perkiomen Valley School Board not to sell the district's Trappe Building to a developer with plans to build 50 townhomes on the property.
At issue is a 10.78 acre property known as the Trappe Building, formerly the Collegeville - Trappe High School and Perkiomen Valley Middle School, which is located at 29 E. First Ave. in Trappe, directly behind the former home of Frederick Muhlenberg, known as The Speaker’s House.
On August 12, the board approved a letter of intent from Gambone Group to purchase the property for $1.3 million, contingent on the developer obtaining all zoning and municipal approvals to build 50 townhomes on the property.
As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, nearly 250 residents signed a petition on www.change.org, requesting that the school district does not sell the property for “high-density housing.”
“The proposed sale … would greatly impact Trappe, one of Pennsylvania’s oldest and most historic towns, by replacing one of the largest remaining parcels of open space and a historical colonial revival school with a high-density housing development that will destroy Trappe’s small-town character and have a detrimental impact on community revitalization efforts,” according to Minardi's petition.
In a letter to Lori Snyder, president of the Perkiomen Valley School Board, Minardi urged the school board to reconsider the position of selling the property.
According to Minardi, the Gambone plan requires rezoning of property, which will “circumvent Trappe Borough’s efforts to preserve the historic, small-town character of our community,” and will jeopardize the borough’s eligibility as a National Register Historic District, which is a source of grant funding..
“At a minimum, I would ask that the school board delay signing an agreement of sale and meet with community stakeholders to explore alternative options to high-density development and likely demolition of a historic landmark,” Minardi said.
Currently, the school is vacant but the open space is used for sports in the area, including the Perkiomen Valley Youth Lacrosse Association.
“We need a community that respects our history and preserves open space for the benefit of everyone, not high-density townhomes, strip malls, increased traffic and suburban sprawl that will only drive down property values, strain existing infrastructure, and strip our community of its unique resources,” according to the petition.