Study: Pittsburgh’s Network Of Riverfront Parks Contributes To Boom In Development

DSC01818Pittsburgh’s riverfront parks system is not only a haven for rest, relaxation and recreation but an economic powerhouse that has helped to generate billions of dollars in development over the past 15 years, a study has found.

In that time, the $130 million invested in the 13-mile Three Rivers Park has helped to produce nearly $4.1 billion in development on and near the riverfront, according to the study by Sasaki Associates, a Massachusetts-based architectural and planning firm.

In addition, the study, commissioned by Riverlife and to be released today, determined that since 2001, property values along that stretch have jumped by 60 percent compared with 32 percent in the rest of the city.

“The pattern in Pittsburgh and in other cities across the country is clear: properties with close proximity to high quality park infrastructure increase in value more than properties that do not,” the report stated.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2015/05/07/Study-Pittsburgh-s-network-of-riverfront-parks-contributes-to-boom-in-development/stories/201505070094

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Althouse Arboretum April News‏

Friends of the Arboretum, Hark!

Monday, April 13th 6:30 pm
Under the pavilion at the Arboretum
in case of bad weather, 2019 Mimosa Lane
Will post on the website and Facebook if we move it from the Arboretum.

If you want to know more about what’s going on at the Arboretum (lots!),  if you’d like to participate in the Friends mission to share ideas, develop resources, and plan ways to enrich the Arboretum experience for all, if you want to see how you can become part of the action – come! All invited!

If you can’t attend the meeting, you can still email us your ideas! Your input is valuable!

 

Forest Easter Egg Hunt – A Success!

Over 150 people came out to search for eggs and visit with our very own Easter Bunny. The event was planned, organized and run by Pottsgrove High School’s Spark the Wave Club with healthy snacks donated by Kimberton Whole Foods Douglassville.

Heard someone leaving say, “See, this is what we used to do for Easter at Grandma’s.” – ah, family memories and good times in the making!

Here’s a wonderful article with delightful pictures by the Sanatoga Post where you can read all about it.

 

Pottstown Challenge

Another success! Over $5,000 was raised to meet the Pottstown Challenge. The Greater Pottstown Foundation will now match our $5,000 giving us the funds to provide special summer programs for at-risk and low income children at the Arboretum. The money will pay for transportation, program costs, and provide scholarships for local high school student interns who will run the programs.

Individuals and businesses who contributed will be featured on our soon to be available trail map. You’ll be able to pick one up at the Arboretum or download one from the website. We strongly encourage you to support our sponsors and thank the individuals who support the Arboretum and its programs. There’s still time for individual’s to get on on the map. Just click the Matching Grant Donation button at the website. Put the name you want on the rock in the box and add your $50 donation so we can let everyone know ‘you rock!’ Hurry! Only a little time left!

 

Just for Fun

April is “Garden and Poetry Month!” (No foolin’!)
Message us on Facebook or email us  with your best original short garden or Arboretum Poem. Winners will be announced in May and the winning poem will win a gift card and be posted at the Arboretum!

January Arboretum Happenings‏

The Pottstown Challenge!

We’ve received a challenge grant from the Greater Pottstown Foundation. If we can raise $5,000 for the Althouse Arboretum, the Greater Pottstown Foundation will match it with another $5,000 for special summer programs for at-risk and low income children at the Arboretum. The money will pay for transportation, program costs, and provide scholarships for local student interns to run the programs.

Ways to donate:

  • Bring your donation to Christmas Tree Recycling Day or Friends of the Arboretum meeting
  • You can donate directly through paypal.
  • Send a check to “The SAVE Alliance Foundation”  35 King Rd. Green Lane PA  18054 and write “challenge” in the memo.
  • At the SAVE Alliance Foundation website.
  • Drop off donations at Nancy’s, 2019 Mimosa Lane, Pottstown
    (right off Snyder, less than a mile from the Arboretum)All donations are tax deductible. Our deadline is the first day of Spring, March 20th, 2015.  All amounts appreciated!

Recycle your Christmas Tree

Saturday, January 10th, 2015
 9am to 3pm, at Althouse Arboretum

Give your tree a second purpose and drop it off. Local students and Alliance volunteers will be there to assist you. Trees will be chipped by Upper Pottsgrove Township and donated back to the Arboretum to be used on our trails.

Friends of the Arboretum

Monday, January 19th, 2015
6:30pm to 8:30pm
2019 Mimosa Lane, Pottstown (right off Snyder, less than a mile from the Arboretum)

Friends of the Arboretum is a new group and just getting started. This is where you actually make the Arboretum yours by brainstorming, planning and putting into action what happens in the Arboretum. Students are already busy planning and creating Zen gardens, a children’s forest and a low ropes course. What programs would you like to see at the Arboretum? What events could be held? What’s possible? Come share your ideas.

We are looking for community members to become part of the Althouse Arboretum. You can volunteer your time and talent, or if you would like, become part of a community to discuss, plan and work together to make our Arboretum a first-class outdoor destination for the community.

We’ll be meeting to discuss prospects, potentials and ideas.  Come join us! (RSVP to Ken or  Nancyappreciated but not necessary)

If you can’t attend the meeting, you can still email us your ideas! Your input is valuable!

Sincerely,

Ken Hamilton, Executive Director, The SAVE Alliance Foundation
Nancy Baker, Friends of the Arboretum Coordinator

The Althouse Arboretum website is https://althousearboretum.wordpress.com/

Friends Of The Arboretum Meeting Monday, January 19th, 2015 6:30pm

Arboretum picturesWe are looking for community members to become part of the Althouse Arboretum. You can volunteer your time and talent, or if you would like, become part of a community team to discuss, plan and work together to make our land a first-class outdoor destination for the community.

We’ll be meeting to discuss prospects, potentials and opportunities.  Come join us!  Email Ken Hamilton or Nancy Baker with questions or for additional information.

Meeting location is 2019 Mimosa Lane, Pottstown (right off Snyder)

RSVP appreciated but not necessary

Work Ongoing At Downingtown Pocket Park

DOWNINGTOWN, PA – The upgrading of fencing is the first step of the Downingtown Main Street Association’s revitalization of the borough’s Armor Alley Pocket Plaza. The borough is cooperating with the Main Street group.

“One of the main goals of the mission of the Main Street Association is to help Downingtown grow and prosper and the pocket plaza upgrading fits with our stated goal,” said Main Street President Adrian Martinez. “Board member Sarah Peck is heading this effort and she is to be commended for her willingness to volunteer many valuable hours to enhance our borough.”

The Armor Alley Pocket Plaza is proposed to be redeveloped into a lively, well lit, beautifully landscaped public plaza at a key spot on Main Street. A canopy of white lights will define the plaza and new landscaping, fencing, walkway lighting and pavers will create an attractive and safe pedestrian link to Main Street from Mill Road, the organization said in a press release.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20141125/work-ongoing-at-downingtown-pocket-park

Protestors Gather In Norristown To Oppose Parkhouse Sale

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — Protestors rallied outside of the Montgomery County Courthouse Saturday in opposition to the sale of the Parkhouse geriatric center and its surrounding 220 acres of land in Upper Providence.

Upper Providence Supervisor Lisa Mossie, who has been at the forefront of opposition to the sale, said she was hoping the Montgomery County commissioners would notice the rally, cancel the sale and work out a new deal for the property.

“It’s my hope that it will change the commissioners’ minds that this is something nobody cares about. That it’s not a vocal minority. Everybody I have talked to is upset about this,” Mossie said. “My hope is that this sale is not done. It’s not finalized yet. They’ve cited that as their reason for not releasing the terms of the sale.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131228/protestors-gather-in-norristown-to-oppose-parkhouse-sale

Plan Maps Future For Murrysville

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Murrysville is home to an aging population along with younger families who can’t afford to buy the empty-nesters’ larger lots, according to an architect who is developing the municipality’s comprehensive plan.

The plan provides a glimpse into Murrysville’s future, including some trends that are beginning to emerge, Andrew Schwartz, of Pittsburgh-based Environmental Planning and Design, told officials this week.

“You need to start thinking about that (55- to 65-year-old demographic) now,” Schwartz said. “Are there some places that maybe there should be higher densities encouraged?”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5284558-74/plan-murrysville-council#ixzz2oKIFIRmI
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Montco Mansion Conflict May Finally Be Settled

Location of Lower Merion Township in Montgomer...

Location of Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A decadelong legal battle over the historic 44-acre Maybrook estate in Lower Merion Township could, at long litigation last, be nearing an end.

This week, the Narberth Borough Council voted, 6-0, to accept a settlement with Merloc Partners, the property’s owner, that would end the lawsuit.

If a Montgomery County Court judge signs off on it and the township gives the development plan its final blessing, Merloc can proceed to build a complex of 250 apartments on the property near the Wynnewood train station.

“It’s a great thing to clean the slate and have no litigation,” Narberth Solicitor Marc Jonas said. “This could have been another four or five years of litigation.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130816_Montco_mansion_conflict_may_finally_be_settled.html#2zWeReZbZuKHFlwJ.99

North Coventry Seeks Court Approval To Build On Preserved Land

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORTH COVENTRY — Township supervisors have petitioned Chester County Court for permission to build a new police and public works building on land originally deeded as open space.

A hearing has been scheduled on Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m. at the Chester County Justice Center to determine whether the township can use 12 acres of a 22-acre tract located along Route 100, just south of Town Square Plaza for a municipal services building.

Township officials believe the land is well-suited for both the police department and the road crew because of its proximity to Route 100, and because it is situated near the township’s population center.  What’s more, since it is already in the township’s possession, using that land saves taxpayers the cost of purchasing property for a much needed municipal building.

However, at least one township resident has come out staunchly against constructing a municipal facility on land set aside as open space.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130815/NEWS01/130819634/north-coventry-seeks-court-approval-to-build-on-preserved-land#full_story

Survey: Chester County Residents Upbeat But Hate Traffic, High Taxes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chester County residents like the county’s open space and scenery, but also value highly its proximity to metropolitan areas. They use its libraries and parks like gangbusters, and are confident its 911 and emergency response systems.

They do not, however, like the traffic and road conditions they encounter or the taxes they pay.  They wish the county government would do more to help create job and business opportunities and manage the suburban sprawl that continues to plague the countryside.

In general, county residents see they place they live as an excellent place to raise a family, get a good education, and buy a home — even if they have a sense that it might not live up to the same expectations when looking to retire, open a business, or find a job.

Those, in part, are the results of a unique survey done to assess the quality of life in Chester County, completed earlier this summer by the Center for Social & Economic Policy Research at West Chester University.  The survey results follow up on a similar project completed in 2009 by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130729/NEWS01/130729442/survey-chester-county-residents-upbeat-but-hate-traffic-high-taxes#full_story

92-Home Development Proposed In Douglass (Mont.)

Location of Douglass Township in Montgomery County

Location of Douglass Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DOUGLASS (Mont.) — A developer has proposed clustering 92 single-family homes on 47 acres off Congo Road and leaving the remainder of the 70 acres of the property as open space or park land.

Located on a 117-acre pice of land known as the “Hallowell Tract,” the site is located at the intersection of Congo and Hallowell roads and is a former farm.

In fact, the site is surrounded by farmland that has been permanently protected, said township Supervisor Fred Thiel.

Montgomery County Planner Meredith Curran told the members of the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee Thursday that the project was first submitted in 2005 and so is guided by the previous zoning for that area of town, which allows for one house per acre.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130329/NEWS01/130329256/92-home-development-proposed-in-douglass-(mont-)#full_story

Lower Macungie Mapping Out Ambitious Greenway Plan

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Budd Coates dreams of one day jogging continuously along pathways and parks through Lower Macungie without the need to compete with traffic cluttering streets and highways in one of the Lehigh Valley‘s most populated municipalities.

“Not to pick on anyone,” Coates said, “but Lower Macungie is so fragmented with some of these developments, you not only can’t get from one development to another in anything other than a car, you can’t get from one block to another.”

The avid Emmaus runner’s wish may not seem that far-fetched. Lower Macungie is in the process of mapping out an ambitious environment-protecting greenway plan, complete with a network of trails that would help connect the 22 1/2 –square-mile township’s neighborhoods to nearby municipalities and to surrounding parks, schools and other landmarks.

Forming the spine of the system would be 18 miles of trails that would follow the Little Lehigh and Swabia creeks.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-lower-macungie-greenway-plan-20120414,0,6389307.story


Quakertown Takes The “Rebranding” Plunge

The next town in my series of redevelopment success stories in Quakertown, PA.  Pottstown area residents are all familiar with Quakertown.  We even share Route 663. 

Quakertown has benefited over the years, to some degree, by their proximity to the big cities in the Lehigh Valley.  They are part of suburbia on heavily traveled Route 309.  What many people think of when they get a visual of Quakertown is the “Big Box” sprawl on 309.  However, there is more to Quakertown.

Quakertown Borough is 2.0 square miles and contained 8,931 residents according to the 2000 census.  A 2009 estimate put the population of the borough at 8,672.  The estimated median income for Quakertown in 2008 was $53,340.  The 2008 estimated per capita income was $27,000.  The City-data crime index for Quakertown in 2009 was 258.0, which is considered low.

This all sounds rather idyllic.  Why not roll with it?  However, the status quo was not good enough for Quakertown officials who felt they needed to get people excited about their downtown and what it has to offer.  Honestly, I never thought there was much more to Quakertown than Route 309, if the truth be told.  So now I am excited too!

Quakertown has come up with the all important “tag line” which is “Explore The Possibilities”.  Kind of peeks your interest further, doesn’t it!  I enjoy exploring!  Now I feel the urge to drive up to Quakertown and venture into their downtown to “explore” the possibilities!  Local officials want to make Quakertown a destination.  To that end, they hired Delta Development Group of Mechanicsburg, PA to help lead them to the promised land of redevelopment.  In addition, Quakertown has hired Marketing Solutions of Quakertown to help them identify and market their borough.

The $64,000 question:  What kind of destination does Quakertown want to be?  The winning answer is recreation, culture, shopping and dining.  To that end a logo was carefully crafted incorporating these elements.  Because Quakertown is strategically located on the edge of the Lehigh and Delaware valleys, they are marketing themselves in both areas.

Quakertown was once a manufacturing and commercial center.  With the decline of industry, Quakertown is now a bedroom community and regional shopping destination.  Quakertown has decided to work with the assets they have and improve upon them.  Instead of crying over what once was, they are embracing what is.

Click here to check out the Quakertown development organization’s website – Quakertown Alive! http://www.quakertownalive.com/

Hat tip to readers Katy and Andrew for bringing this story to my attention!

Demographic data from Wikipedia and City-data.com

Pittsburgh Building Comprehensive Growth Plan With Participation From Thousands Of Residents

Duquesne University's view of the Pittsburgh s...

Image via Wikipedia

Pittsburgh is establishing a comprehensive growth plan to “right size” the city after years of population loss.  Year one has already been completed with thousands of residents taking part in helping to shape a way forward for Pennsylvania’s second largest city.

This plan, which is expected to be completed in 2014, will focus on the following areas in order:

Open spaces and parks – wrapping up

Cultural heritage and preservation – up and running

The next ten have yet to be started:

Transportation

Public art

Design

Energy

City-owned buildings

Infrastructure

Economic development

Housing

Education

Zoning

Land Use

The Pittsburgh planning department is enthusiastically seeking participation from city residents!  The cost of this long-range plan is $2.3 million dollars.  Cities are not required to submit comprehensive plans but they can opt to do so.  Only a handful of cities have done this.  Pittsburgh is once again being a leading innovator in their approach to managed growth and sustainability.

These components were not accidentally chosen.  Open space is first because vacant land use will influence every other category on the list.  Pittsburgh has 5,500 acres of open space.   Half is parks and 14,000 vacant lots make up the rest.  Pittsburgh realizes that green space has an impact on property values.

These meetings last two hours and are held on various nights and in several locations around Pittsburgh to maximize citizen involvement.

Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as one of America’s most livable cities.

Lower Providence Township Wins 2010 Green Futures Achievement Award

Location of Lower Providence Township in Montg...

Image via Wikipedia

Congrats to Lower Providence Township for winning a 2010 Green Futures Achievement Award from Montgomery County Green Futures and the Montgomery County Lands Trust for improvements made to Harry F. Hoy Memorial Park in Arcola.

Read the entire Times Herald article here: http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2010/11/08/news/doc4cd7920a5a710968285662.txt