This page directly relates back to our mission of spreading awareness of what’s at stake and spreading awareness. You may wonder what the whole point of doing that is, and here I will explain. This page may be a bit controversial right now because these are some areas that go outside my expertise and are mostly focused around my opinions. I have done research and have talked to people about this, so it should be fair.
What Should be Done
In my dream world, the goal here would be to save all the buildings, land, and plants. Unfortunately this world is far from perfect, there’s money needed to be made, and lack of money for preservation. Fortunately though, there still is a lot of room to at least improve the situation we face now.
Reuse of buildings is a factor that should be stressed. It is more expensive than building a new one, and these buildings may not be easily adaptable for another use, but it can be, and should be done. I’ve seen creative ways to reuse buildings in other towns such as West Chester for example. Smaller buildings such as houses can be small community centers, employee houses, etc. Larger buildings can be made into housing units themselves, along with community centers, libraries, small shops, etc. Although this would be expensive to do, it would be worth it because these buildings are essentially irreplaceable, historically significant, and beautiful. I’m not even talking about saving all although I would like to; I’m talking about saving at least a few.
Downsizing this should always be a factor stressed by especially local residents. I go into more details on my “Why You Should Care” page, but downsizing is important and very possible. There is already about 140 acres of land being preserved, so land preservation has already for the most part been accomplished. Downsizing should be stressed for the sake of all the problems 400 units brings, and this feature is very possible.
Saving trees and plants is a very important and sadly easy thing to do. I say sadly easy because unlike structures, a healthy tree cost no money to repair, you just can’t build something there. There are unique trees of many varieties, mostly 60+ years old and some up to 200 years old. It’s horrible that these are mostly going to be removed. You also have many flowering plants and old shrubs, some of unique variety. A building you can put up in a day, a 200 year old tree you have to wait 200 years to see again.
The Sleighton School should also be pursued to be added as a historic district to the National Register of Historic Places, as it’s been eligible since 2002. I believe the property owners are required to give consent for this, which is probably why it never went past becoming eligible. I believe the township may also have some kind of say in this. Being on the National Register in no way protects any buildings, but it does give a sense of recognition.
How to accomplish this is the bit more tricky part. One of my goals was to make this website bigger, and that’s so we can have political influence and add members who know a lot about this stuff. As stated in the how you can help page, you can also just put up a fight. Express your concerns to town officials, show up at the meetings, and maybe even think of your own ideas.
What Should Have BEEN Done
You cannot go back in time so I don’t intend to bicker on the past too much, but a lot could have been done that was more responsible than selling this to a commercial developer. To start out, the property should have been sold relatively soon after it closed in 2001, because the buildings were in way better shape and there was less interest to be paid back on the debt. This would have made reuse a lot more realistic. I spoke to a member of the London Britain Township Land Trust about this, and he said what they should have done was sold small parts of the properties and buildings to small businesses and companies, allowing them to perform reuse and form a small community. Sleighton would have been a wonderful place to convert the buildings into apartments and shops. They could have also tried to find a school interested in making a satellite campus here, as this is a college type campus. Unrealistically they could have looked into putting in a nature reserve too.