The Borough of Morrisville recently received a PA Department of Community & Economic Development grant for the preparation of a Master Plan of Patriots Park at Historic Summerseat. Specifically, the Borough received $85,000 to assist with the planning and redesign of the area surrounding one of its most important and historic properties, Historic Summerseat—once home to signors of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Constitution, and a Revolutionary War headquarters for George Washington. Its existence in the Borough is a source of great community pride. And, with Bucks County recording 7.8 million visitors and $1 billion in tourism revenue each year, Summerseat is an important destination for heritage tourism.
Today, while listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Summerseat sits surrounded by broken sidewalks, curbing, and what remains of the land of two decommissioned schools. In 2015, the Borough purchased the school property and in the years since, worked closely with the Historic Morrisville Society, the non-profit owner of the Summerseat house, to restore Summerseat’s prominence. Historic Morrisville Society now maintains the historic building and its artifacts. The Borough maintains the former school site, and has, using grant funds, demolished the decommissioned schools. Together, with the residents of the community, and at public meetings, they each promoted a more accessible historic landmark and the hope for the creation of a passive recreation park.
With the DCED funding, Morrisville Borough will be developing a Master Plan, with public input, for a passive community park to border the historic destination and be known as the ‘Patriots Park at Historic Summerseat’. Through the planning process, Patriots Park may include walkways and trails, landscaping, and common park features and facilities to support community events. Once complete, the proposed park will provide a recreational and gathering location for the community; attract heritage and eco-tourism to the area, especially to Historic Summerseat, and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail along the Delaware Canal; and present a platform for future passive recreation uses and facilities.
The grant application was prepared by Kent Baird, Liz Rosencrans, and Elora Das. The following concept plan was prepared by Kevin Selger, Thomas McIntyre, Elora Das and input from Scott Mitchell (Borough Manager), Debbie Smith (Council President) and a few of the council members. This plan was presented at the Agenda Council Meeting held on April 9th, 2019. Some topics of discussion for this plan included adding a path for vehicular access to move equipment for events, and the necessity to include security cameras and lighting throughout. Overall the Borough seems very excited for this concept plan and moving forward.