County Planners Award Grants to 9 Local Municipalities

NORRISTOWN PA – Nine different community projects proposed in western Montgomery County municipalities will share $972,854 in 2021 Montco 2040 Implementation grants awarded Friday (May 21, 2021) by the county Planning Commission. Benefiting from the county money are Pottstown, Limerick, Royersford, Upper Providence, Skippack, Upper Salford, Lower Salford, East Greenville, and Green Lane.

The grants “continue an exciting program aimed at implementing the county comprehensive plan,” the commission said, by “making targeted physical improvements that achieve real progress toward the … themes of Connected Communities, Sustainable Places, and Vibrant Economy.”

Scheduled to receive grants are:

In the Greater Pottstown Area

Pottstown will receive $200,000 for its “Memorial Park Bridge and Streambank Restoration” It will restore a critical pedestrian connection within Memorial Park on West High Street, which was damaged during a June 2019 storm. The existing Memorial Park Bridge will be replaced and enhanced using best practices for reducing debris buildup. The enhancements will better protect it from similar storm-related damages in the future.

With $60,000, Limerick will extend its existing “PECO Trail” along a PECO Energy right-of-way that extends from Limerick Center Road to the existing trailhead near Reed Road. This will be a multi-use hard surface trail, designed to be ADA compliant, and will complete a new pedestrian and bicycle connection for the township. It’s intended to bring this trail out to a logical end-point.

For its “2nd and Arch Pedestrian Crossing,” Royersford will receive $54,280 to install a flashing beacon and audible alerts on both sides of 2nd Avenue, as well as update current crosswalks to improve pedestrian visibility and safety. The busy intersection is busy connects users of the nearby Schuylkill River Trail to Victory Park.

In the Perkiomen Valley

Proposed “Perkiomen Trail Crossing Improvements at Arcola and Cider Mill” in Upper Providence won $29,290 to improve safety for the trail crossings of Arcola and Cider Mill roads. It includes clearing vegetation, installing new trail signage, and placing pavement markings on the roadway approaches to the trail crossings.

Lower Salford‘s Alderfer Road and Park Avenue Basins Project will rely on $112,918 to retrofit two stormwater facilities. They’re intended to improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient loads to the adjacent stream. The area will be planted with native meadow grasses, flowers, and plants to create a natural landscape and provide for evapotranspiration and infiltration. Educational signage that details the improvement’s positive affect on the local ecosystem also is included.

The “Upper Salford Park to Perkiomen Trail Connector” is a new 1.1-mile trail connection that will link the flagship park with Spring Mountain Adventures recreation area and the Perkiomen Trail. Work funded by its $150,000 grant will include ADA-compatible trail construction, a PennDOT road crossing, trail signage, and stormwater management features. The county considers it “a significant connection (that) will link many local and county assets.”

Skippack‘s “Stepping Stone Project at Lenape Park” won $64,000 to create poured-in-place concrete “stones” that create a footpath across the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek. This crossing creates a vital link between the 170 acres of the county-owned Pennypacker Mills and the 34 acres of Skippack’s newly acquired Lenape Park. It also provides a trail connection linking hundreds of residents to the Montgomery County trail system.

In the Upper Perkiomen Area

East Greenville will receive $102,991 to reconstruct and upgrade Frederick J. Bieler Community Park, an existing borough-owned park heavily used by young families who live nearby densely populated neighborhoods. Approved DCNR grant funds will cover the cost of new playground equipment. County funding will be used for a new pavilion, new walking path, additional trees, and stormwater management facilities.

With $199,375, Green Lane will install new “Route 29 Pedestrian Improvements” along Gravel Pike to provide better access to the downtown area and the nearby Perkiomen Trail. Improvements include curb and sidewalk, ADA ramps, a crosswalk at Walnut Street, minor drainage improvements, and a retaining wall. “This area receives a lot of fast-moving vehicle traffic, and this project dovetails nicely with the borough’s recent planning efforts,” the county said.

The local winners represent a portion of more than $2.5 million presented by the commission to 24 municipalities. It received a total of 31 applications with slightly more than $4 million in requests. A committee of commission members and staffers evaluated projects for their impact, county and local planning consistency, project readiness, and funding attributes.

For the first time, municipalities were asked about how their projects addressed local equity concerns, whether it was the project being proposed or the process the municipality intends to take (or has already taken) when planning for or implementing the project.

May 2019 Limerick trail photo by JMcGinnis via TrailLink; logo from the county Planning Commission