The pest from northern Asia was first documented in North America in 2002. It was found in southern Ontario and Michigan and gradually spread from there causing alarm locally by 2013-14.
Around that time, Peele went before the Village 2 Home Association Board and made his case that something needed to be done to protect the abundance of ash trees which surround the community.
“I said if we don’t do something to save them, we’re going to lose these 50-year old mature trees and Village 2 will never look the same again,” Peele recounted. He reckoned that spending $50,000-70,000 was a bargain compared to cutting, hauling away and planting new trees.
They “banded” the trees first, which led to injections that have lasted six years and saved the trees.
The adjacent Riverwoods development where Peele lives actually warned their homeowners back in the spring of 2014 by noting, “The resulting economic devastation is calculated in the tens of millions of dollars. The wave appears unstoppable.”
Peele and his company examine the trees every year to calculate what is going on and estimate that they are now spending $2,000-3,000 annually on preserving the ash trees.
This is not uncontroversial. Both Peele and Mary Anne Borge of Lambertville Goes Wild, who is a resident of the Woodcrest Association, which both preserved and cut down some of their own ash trees, explained their thoughts in more depth for the inaugural Bridge Street podcast.
Peele’s proactive approach also saved Village 2 money when it came to protecting their tennis courts.
“Water is the enemy for a hardcourt tennis court,” Peele emphasized.
About eight years ago, he went in front of the Village 2 Board and recommended using crushed stone on top of the base of the old courts. They laid fiber matting and a whole new asphalt surface, while putting in drains to keep the water away from the courts. Peele assessed that this cost anywhere from $75-$90,000. Compare that number to the New Hope-Solebury School District, which had a similar problem and recently budgeted $700,000 for their tennis courts’ resurfacing. The process has lasted a couple years and the work is taking place at the time of this writing.
Finally, Peele’s foresight helped open the Swim Club there during the covid-19 pandemic.
“Dan worked very closely with the Bucks County Health Department (BCHD) to develop guidelines … there was nothing really written and it changed daily, sometimes hourly,” according to Village 2 Association President Tom Corrigan. “Can we open the pool? Should we open the pool? We have outside memberships, so we’re bringing outside members into our community, how should we handle that? These were all important questions,” he continued.
Members now must take their temperature when coming into the pool, there are strict social distancing measures, and people must have masks when moving throughout the complex. When members are sitting down or in the pool, they are allowed to take the masks off. The lifeguards are boxed off, chairs are marked and the historically high chlorine residual that Peele already maintained is now what the BCHD is recommending for all community pools.
BCHD inspectors even came out recently to the complex and found Village 2 in total compliance with the new regulations.
“Obviously he’s saved us money over the years. But in regards to the pool, I had no doubt that if anyone could pull it off, it would be Dan Peele and his company,” Corrigan noted.