The Salisbury Township board of commissioners will hire the Wildlands Conservancy to do a site analysis of 50 acres of wooded land the township wants to buy from the Salisbury Township School District and preserve as open space.
The cost of the study is not to exceed $4,750, the board said at its March 10 meeting.
The three parcels of steeply sloped wooded land at 1108 E. Emmaus Avenue contain wetlands and are adjacent to the township's 75-acre Franko Farm Recreation area and 17 acres the township bought from PPL in 2002. The school district has considered selling the land to developers.
The area has been identified as a "primary conservation land" in the township's 2005 Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan. And the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission identified South Mountain in its 2007 Greenaways Plan as among the the high priority natural, recreational, cultural and historical scenic lands that should be protected and acquired.
The township made an offer last July to buy the land from the school district. The township has received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to help acquire the land, which had a market value of $900,00 in May 2010.