Case Study — Sandy Hollow Heritage Park

Sandy Hollow Heritage Park

Birmingham Township, Chester County

42 acres of protected lands with 1.1 mile paved pedestrian path

Birmingham Township, Chester County

Means of Acquisition
Dedicated to township as part of a protected open space conservation development requirement

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Protected historic landscapes can serve as a valuable community amenity. Sandy Hollow Heritage Park serves as a model for preserving a critical historic landscape while also providing public access for passive recreation and heritage education. The land still looks much as it did in 1777 when it witnessed fierce combat in the largest single day land battle of the American Revolution, the Battle of Brandywine. The park provides a genuine cultural landscape setting for heritage interpretive education, such as informational panels and battle reenactment events, and affords a well-used passive recreation walking path for nearby residents.

Economic Activity

Heritage interpretation is an economic force in Pennsylvania. In 2017 Birmingham Township organized a battle reenactment at the park that attracted around 10,000 attendees over a 2-day period and 900 reenactors from across the U.S. and Canada. The economic impact of this single event is estimated at $15 million in direct and indirect sales and $0.4 million in employee earnings. On a regular basis, this park hosts school group tours and local visitors. It is also part of the larger 35,000 acre battlefield historic landscape that features heritage centers, historic sites, and preserved lands that can be experienced through self-guided driving tours or in some cases by biking or walking.

Property Values

In addition to the economic impact through tourism, historic resources, whether buildings or landscapes, contribute to an area's authenticity and sense of place and accordingly can have a positive impact on property values. Homes within ½ mile of Sandy Hollow Park see gains of about $49,800 in property value, for a cumulative total of $34.5 million. This equates to an additional $77,000 in total annual property taxes (or about $112 per property) generated for the municipality and school district. Additionally, the Battlefield's history, protection, and proximity are increasingly being used to market the area's real estate for its sense of place and unique character.