Community leaders say a farm in Cranberry Township will be preserved for years to come thanks to the hard work and efforts of local individuals.
Cranberry Township recently announced they had acquired the Powell Farm on Goehring Road after a donation by Andy Hack, who was the executor of the will for Denton Powell. His family had owned the 71 acre farm for over 150 years.
While no formal plans have been put together for the farm, Township Vice Chairman Bruce Hezlep says it will be kept for agricultural use.
“First and foremost, in our mind, was preserving the integrity of the farm. It won’t be developed. It cannot be legally be developed,” Hezlep said. “We want to honor Denton Powell’s legacy that he set forth in 2007, by sitting down with the Butler County Agricultural Board so that this property will never be developed.”
Hezlep stressed that despite rumors and gossip, the township is legally bound to never allow the farm to become developed. He is looking forward to
“It will be green space and an opportunity for our residents to come and learn about our historical agricultural roots,” Hezlep said.
Butler County Commissioner Kevin Boozel said the farm was preserved in 2007 through the county’s Agricultural Preservation Program, which he says is vitally important to keeping farms alive in the county.
“I can only imagine how many people came after this farm to develop it. It’s a beautiful area, obviously a very valuable area. But the vision that Mr. Powell had is exactly what we’re looking for every day in Butler County,” Boozel said.
Since its development, the Butler County Agricultural Preservation Board has preserved 72 farms and over 7,400 acres.
“Sheryl Kelly, our program director for this program, will go out and meet with these farms. We continually look at the farms that are preserved, and to make sure that the farms are preserved in the way they should be,” Boozel said. “We’re always looking for additional farms. A lot of families move on, where kids may no longer be interested in farming, but those who built the farm don’t want to see anything happen to it. That’s what this program is about.”
Township officials say they are planning a steering committee to help develop plans in the future.