POTTSTOWN PA – Justin Keller, a Pottstown resident since 2009 and an experienced park planner with the Simone Collins Landscape Architecture firm in Norristown, has been selected as the first regional recreation coordinator – more commonly known as the recreation circuit rider – of the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee. He is scheduled to begin work Aug. 26 (2014; Tuesday).
In his new role, Keller expects to assist “the great work currently being done” by the parks and recreation staffs across Lower, Upper and West Pottsgrove, North Coventry and Douglass townships, and Pottstown borough. One of his possible tasks, he said Wednesday (Aug. 6), is to help them fulfill “unmet park and recreation needs.”
Those efforts could take several forms, Keller said.
It’s likely he’ll streamline communications between municipal programs so they can pool available resources and operate more efficiently. He hopes to lower costs by seeking grants for future project funding. Overall, he’ll look to connect all recreation activities and events as “spokes … to the hub” of the region’s growing fitness, wellness and tourism efforts, he said.
The future completion of the Schuylkill River Trail, a Safe Walking and Biking Routes project, the Pottstown Carousel and the Colebrookdale Tourist Railroad all are attractions that can be tied into municipal recreation for the public’s benefit, Keller noted.
Keller will have an office at the Schuylkill River Greenway Association headquarters, 140 College Dr., and report to the regional planners’ recreation subcommittee. It consists of representatives from the municipalities and the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. Funding for his position was provided by the participants to match a state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant.
Keller is a Lancaster County native who graduated from Temple University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. Since then, he said, he’s worked on a “diverse range of public sector projects with a special focus on recreation, park, trail and greenway projects.”
He has specific expertise in grant preparation, community engagement, planning, design, construction and maintenance of recreation facilities.
Keller may be quickly recognized by Lower Pottsgrove residents. During his employ with Simone Collins, he helped successfully generate public participation in and the development of master plans for creation of Pleasantview Park, at Bleim and North Pleasant View roads, and greater efficiencies in Gerald Richards Park on Buchert Road.
He also had a hand in facilitating long-range planning between Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick townships for future development surrounding the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422.
His selection for the circuit rider position was briefly discussed during the July 7 meeting of the township Board of Commisioners’ meeting.
Photo from Justin Keller