Competing Interests Reach Possible Accord on Contested Plan for Montco ‘Very Special Property’

Black Rock Middle School under construction
Image via Preserve Oakwell at YouTube.
Drone shot of the work on Black Rock Middle School.

Conflicting Lower Merion interests surround the sports program of the new Black Rock Middle School. Oona Goodin-Smith covered in The Philadelphia Inquirer what may represent some middle ground.

The contention surrounds construction of athletic fields.

The proposed plan at the former Oakwell Estate showed sites for not only multiple school sports — baseball, softball, and even ultimate Frisbee — but also the removal of more than 400 trees to accommodate them.

Lower Merion School District has repeatedly informed neighbors that it will replace (even augment) the removed foliage.

But objections persisted, owing to the trees’ age and significance; some date to the Revolutionary War.

The compromise may lie in the use of the nearby Bryn Mawr Polo Field, at least for some sports.

District representatives view the revised plan as a balance of its needs and neighbors’ concerns.

“You rarely find an opportunity that is truly a win,” said Haverford Township Commissioner Laura Cavender.

Some residents, however, balk at the idea of deforestation — scaled back or not — at the Black Rock Middle School Oakwell campus.

Lower Merion resident Holly Manzone, for one, plans to continue to “…formally put an end to any and all plans to build playing fields at Oakwell.”

More on the effect of the new Black Rock Middle School and its athletic program is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


The controversy regarding the forested property of the former Oakwell Estate in Lower Merion has been ongoing, as this 2022 update on the issue notes.
In the name of disclosure, its viewpoint reflects its poster, Preserve Oakwell.

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