The Bucks County Commissioners on Wednesday will consider a proposal to permanently protect the water supply, wildlife habitation, and the public’s right to access and enjoy Lake Galena and Peace Valley Park through a $24.7 million plan proposed by the nonprofit Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority (BCWSA).
Under BCWSA’s proposal, the dam at Lake Galena, as well as the lake’s water runoff rights, would be leased for 50 years to BCWSA, which would agree to conservation easements, restrictive covenants, and access easements that would ensure the county’s and the public’s continued enjoyment of Lake Galena. Peace Valley Park, which surrounds Lake Galena, would remain a county-owned asset and BCWSA would absorb the costs and responsibility for operating and maintaining the lake’s 47-year-old dam while providing the county with immediate revenue in the amount of $24.7 million.
This plan would fall in line with the 2020 Bucks County Transition Report’s recommendation for more preservation, protection, and improvement of county parklands – which specifically addresses Peace Valley Park – while also bringing significant revenue into the county.
“Bucks County has the preeminent parks system in the region and we are very proud to do everything in our power to ensure that generations from now, Bucks Countians will still be hiking, biking, boating, and fishing at Peace Valley Park and Lake Galena,” said county Commissioner Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia. “At the same time, this administration is committed to reducing the burden on taxpayers, and this proposal would keep track with those commitments as well as the recommendations of our transition committee.”
“This is an opportunity for a win-win for Bucks County, whose residents would no longer have to foot the bill for the dam’s upkeep and eventual replacement,” said Chief Financial Officer David Boscola.
If passed by the board of commissioners, the agreement is subject to the final approval of the county solicitor, who is negotiating final terms with BCWSA. Revenue from the agreement would be reflected in a future revision of the 2022 preliminary operating budget, set to be voted on at the Dec. 15 commissioners’ meeting.
Major environmental assets to the county, Peace Valley Park is 1,500 acres and Lake Galena has a reservoir surface area of 365 acres. Lake Galena was formed in 1974 by the damming of Neshaminy Creek’s north branch. Peace Valley Park is home to the Peace Valley Nature Center, contains hundreds of species of flora and fauna, and has been named an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.
Media Contact: James O'Malley, 215-348-6414, [email protected]