The Battle of Cardinal Crossing is not over.
Not by a long shot.
Raise your hand if you saw this one coming.
Under intense pressure from community groups, the Marple commissioners turned thumb's down on developer Bruce Goodman's plans to turn the pristine woods and 213 acres of open space surrounding the old Don Guanella School off Route 320 (Sproul Road) into a sprawling town center-style development dubbed Cardinal Crossing.
Goodman had visions of hundreds of residences, along with new retail stores and even a new Wegmans supermarket.
But the community wasn't nearly as thrilled at the prospect of losing one of the last untapped natural pieces of open space in the densely popular center of the county.
They formed a group called Save Marple Greenspace. Then they turned up the heat on their elected representatives. Their voices were heard.
First the county planners suggested Goodman's plan was simply too dense. Marple planners had similar reservations. Goodman offered a slightly revised plan, with more open space and lots of athletic fields for township youth programs. He still got a thumb's down.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which owns the tract and had an agreement of sale with Goodman, gave him an extension on the deal as he tried to win approval of his plans. Didn't happen. Eventually, the archdiocese pulled the plug. They still maintain they want to sell the land and will put it back on the market.
Local activists are now calling on the county and archdiocese to come to an agreement to save the Don Guanella forests. They are supposed to meet. The group also wants County Council to put a referendum on the November ballot about whether the county should float a bond issue to purchase the tract.
So Cardinal Crossing is not going to happen.
But Bruce Goodman is not going away, and it's a little hard to blame him.
He's out the $7 million he says he put into his Cardinal Crossing plans.
And now he wants the township to pick up the tab.
He filed documents in court that indicate he will do just that.
Here's the latest development in the Cardinal Crossing saga.