The plan to build a factory in the beautiful Brandywine countryside a half-century ago prompted the introduction of land-use and tax arrangements that have helped preserve huge areas of open space ever since, writes Joseph DiStefano for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The conservation efforts were started by two du Pont heirs, Francis I. du Pont III and George Weymouth, along with in-law William Prickett. They believed that the factory would stick out like a sore thumb and forever change the culture of Chadds Ford.
According to Virginia Logan, executive director of the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, the trio instead looked to shape the Brandywine region in Chester and Delaware counties by making it more affordable to own private land.
Since then, the conservancy has helped owners of 62,000 acres on 458 properties obtain conservation easements and receive lower school, county, and property taxes, while trading away development rights.
The success of this initiative has led to many similar projects aimed at preserving the region’s beauty. In Chadds Ford alone, Brandywine now owns 241 acres directly, with easements on an additional 890 privately owned acres. Meanwhile, open-space and agricultural easements also cover nearly 20 percent of Chester County.
Read more about the preservation efforts in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.