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Newtown Township Residents, Who Say They Were Kept in the Dark, Want Answers From Bucks County on Use of Historic Farm House as a Safe House 

Newtown Township Residents, Who Say They Were Kept in the Dark, Want Answers From Bucks County on Use of Historic Farm House as a Safe House  | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

Newtown residents want answers about how a Bucks County-owned farm in the township is being used as a safe house for trafficked women and children without input from their local government.

 

The residents took their concerns to the township supervisors at a meeting last week [view video of comments made by a resident; https://youtu.be/PkPvatn55c8] and expect to go before the county commissioners at their meeting Wednesday at 10:30 a.m..

 

The YWCA of Bucks County announced on its website in February that it was establishing a "Haven House" in the county but, to protect the safety of the clients, did not disclosed its location.

 

The county commissioners approved a lease for the property to the YWCA for 10 years at $1 a year in December. In July, the county commissioners approved a contract for a Community Development Block Grant for $58,600 for an HVAC system at the Haven House facility, but again did not name where the facility was.

 

A homeowner who represented a group of 12 residents at the township supervisors' meeting last week said they have deep concern for the suffering that battered or sexually abused women have endured "and wlll always support their safety and well being," but that "taxpayers have been kept completely in the dark on this delicate matter ... We sadly are clueless and suddenly have lost our voice."

 

[view video of comments made by this resident; https://youtu.be/PkPvatn55c8]

 

Another township resident said he lived next to the farm for more than 30 years and only learned of the new use for the property last week.

 

"I was shocked," he said. "It would be great if we could find out how something like this can be shoehorned into a community with no one finding out, especially the adjacent property owners, the neighbors."

 

That’s Not What She Said!

 

But Bucks Commissioner Chairwoman Diane Ellis Marseglia commented that “We are grateful that Newtown Township has partnered with us, like so many other communities, on projects like this. Of course, all of this was done at public board meetings and with complete transparency.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I'm not sure what "public board meetings" Marseglia is referring to. Certainly NOT Newtown Township Board of Supervisors meetings. I, like other supervisors, first heard about this on August 3, 2021, in an email from our township manager. That email has not been made public.

 

Of course, since this was brought up at the August 11, 2021, BOS meeting by a resident, it is now generally public information. Can that be what Marseglia means by "complete transparency?"

 

A bit of history:

 

I found this July 6, 2018 email  message to the Newtown BOS and many other Bucks Count & PA politicians & officials:

 

******

Subj: URGENT: Peter Taylor Farmstead Farm House

From: Le and Mary Jane Sheppard

 

 

For 30 plus years Bucks County has rented out the Farm House at Peter Taylor Farmstead (the 150 acre preserved farm).

 

Sadly, the house is in need of much care presently. We have been and are still ready to rent and help preserve this treasure.

 

We are looking for a place to move to now. No place is more perfect for us then the Peter Taylor Farm House - and we would be perfect long term tenants for Bucks County.

 

Please stop the neglect and respect the farm house on this preserved farm.

******

 

I guess the County has been planning this for a long long time!

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Newtown News of Interest
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