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  • Terry Rumsey

Broomall's Dam 101

In 1883, Judge John Broomall built a dam on the Broomall’s Run to create a small lake for the purpose of harvesting and selling ice. A road for Broomall’s ice wagons was established on top of the dam.

Today, Delaware County’s 33-acre Glen Providence Park is located south of the original dam. The private 13-acre Broomall’s Lake Country Club is located north of the original dam. The road on top of the dam evolved into Third Street, which connected Media and Upper Providence.

In 1980—nearly 100 years after Broomall built his dam—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found the dam to be in an “unsafe condition” and recommended “immediate action” to repair the structure. The Army’s finding would lead to forty years of legal and political conflict between Broomall’s Lake Country Club, Delaware County, Media Borough, and local environmental organizations.

During the course of those forty years, Third Street was closed over the dam, numerous law suits were filed, local environmental groups were formed to protect Glen Providence Park, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection breached (partially removed) the original dam in 2017, thereby removing Broomall’s Lake and resolving the danger to human life and the environment posed by the unsafe dam.

What is difficult to believe is—due to a 2011 legal agreement between Media Borough, Delaware County, and Broomall’s Lake Country Club—there is STILL a plan on the table to rebuild a high hazard dam at the original site.

Here is what you need to know about the proposal to rebuild Broomall’s Dam:

It’s UNSAFE. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has classified the proposed dam as “high hazard.” The definition of a high hazard dam is that the failure of the dam can result in loss of human life and extensive environmental damage.

It’s UNFAIR. Rebuilding the dam will restore a private lake for the Broomall’s Lake Country Club while resulting in the loss of wetlands, wildlife habitat, and 70 mature trees in Glen Providence Park. Why should we spend $4 million in taxpayer funds for a dam that only benefits a PRIVATE Country Club and damages a PUBLIC park?

It’s UNNECESSARY. We don’t need to build a high-hazard dam to reconnect Media and Upper Providence. We could build a free-standing bridge to accomplish that goal. Read more in our news post: How Can a Chicken Cross the Road?

It’s UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states: “…Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people… the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

Now, Media residents have the opportunity to vote in an online public opinion survey on whether or not we favor rebuilding a high hazard dam that is unsafe, unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. For more information on the survey, read our news post: Vote to Save Glen Providence Park.

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