Main Street – Residential Zoning on Collegeville Agenda
At their June 18th meeting, the Collegeville Borough Planning Commission recommended approval of a draft zoning ordinance that allows townhomes on a former Manufacturing and Industrial (M&I) site on W. Third Avenue.
The deciding vote will be made at the August 5, 7 p.m. Collegeville Borough Council meeting, with a Public Hearing on the subject before at 6 p.m.
- See our CEDC post Main Street – Residential Zoning on Collegeville Agenda for details on the meeting and the developer’s proposal.
Royal Farms / Dogleg Realignment Begins
Demolition work began June 22 to clear the site for the Royal Farms land development at the corner of Rt. 29 and Collegeville’s Main Street. Royal Farms operates 24-hour convenience store/gas stations like Wawa, and is known for its fried chicken. Royall Farms will also construct a straight-through road eliminating the current dogleg configuration. Construction is expected to continue through the end of 2020, with the new store opening in early 2021.
- For details on the Rt 29 road improvements, see the CEDC post Royal Farms Land Development Promises an End to the Dogleg.
Rt 29 / Hopwood Road Intersection Improvements Coming
At its July 8 meeting the Upper Providence Township Planning Commission voted to accept tentative sketch plan of the Yerkes Mixed Use development and Hopwood Rd intersection improvements and move it to preliminary planning.
The intersection, located between the Borough of Collegeville and Rt 422 (Map it), is out of our purview, but it is described as the most dangerous in the township. Like the realigned dogleg, the improvements will benefit us all.
StretchLab Opens in Collegeville
StretchLab offers “one-on-one assisted stretching by certified professionals. Their goal is to improve flexibility, enhance movement, reduce pain, and improve quality of life”. They’re offering pre-opening demo stretches and pricing through July. Visit the StretchLab Collegeville website for details. Or call them at 484-209-2400.
Troubles End Takes It Outside
Troubles End Brewing announced the opening of an outdoor beer garden and eating area. Outdoor service includes the full menu but seating is first come first serve. See the hostess located at the front door of the building to be seated. And of course indoor seating is available. See the Troubles End Brewing website for details.
On the Campus
Since March, although many colleges closed their campuses during the pandemic while their students were away, Ursinus College left their campus grounds open for residents to walk, jog, and enjoy. Many in the Collegeville community took advantage of it.
When the semester starts in August, students will be arriving from multiple geographic areas. In order to keep students, faculty and staff distanced from each other, as well as from the broader Collegeville community, the College will be trying to limit the density on campus. To this end they will be limiting visitors as well.
At the very beginning of the semester, the Commons and Cafe2020 will become part of the campus food distribution network, since density in the dining hall will be limited. VP for Finance and Administration, Annette Parker says It won’t be open to the public yet but “as soon as we all see a clear path ahead, we’ll let our neighbors know that they are very welcome to join us for a good cup of joe”.
The Music on Main Festival, an afternoon of music, food, vendors and celebration planned for September 6 in conjunction with the opening of the Commons, has been cancelled.
The College continues its community outreach digitally through their “Live on Main!” website — a virtual destination for music, arts and culture. The website reads, “Our neighborhood is full of talented musicians, creative artists, big-hearted restaurants, innovative entrepreneurs and experts on trending topics.” The site features outstanding music, art, food and cooking, and interesting lectures from their faculty. Visit the Live! on Main page on the Ursinus College web site.
Parks and Playgrounds Open
Parks and playgrounds in the region are open again. However playground equipment is not sanitized so it is recommended that you wipe down the playground equipment, benches and picnic tables before use to prevent the spread of COVID, and social distance. In the Borough of Collegeville, the playgrounds at Community Park and Waterworks Park are open, and the portable potties are available.
The Perkiomen Creek via Canoe
Do you want to know the secrets to paddling a canoe down the Perkiomen Creek from Green Lane to Oaks, or just watch someone else do it? Since creating the Perkiomen Creek Water Trail last year the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy (PWC) has produced three exciting videos of the trip with “tips on obstacles, where to enter and exit the creek and more”.
RESTART Montco: A COVID-19 Planning Initiative
The Montgomery County Planning Commission has created RESTART Montco. The new planning initiative presents ideas that can help communities in Montgomery County “adjust and recover from the effects of the shutdowns required during the COVID-19 pandemic”. Visit the RESTART Montco page for details.
Collegeville Revitalization – Coming to a Screen Near You
If you’ve been following the work of the Borough of Collegeville’s Business Development Committee (BDC) here, you can see that the work of revitalization takes time and has its ups and downs. After forming, its initial work was to get the Borough of Collegeville to join with Ursinus College to hire Economic Development Consultant Barth Consulting. This we accomplished in May of 2019.
Concurrently, Steel City Coffeehouse and Brewery of Phoenixville approached us about opening on Main Street. After a year of working closely with Ursinus College on converting two different Main Street properties, they found the cost of the necessary permits and renovation amounted to more than they wanted to take on and they dropped out.
Steel City was to be the cornerstone of the revitalization and an example of what we could look forward to.
Ursinus College then took a step back and hired a consultant to develop a master plan for all its properties in the 400 -500 block. Simultaneously they purchased the Tait house located next door to the Marzella’s Pizza property which they also own.
Meanwhile, the BDC pushed Borough Council to renew its planning contract with the Montgomery County Planning Commission and once in place comprehensive planning began for the first time in 10 years.
Then came COVID-19.
The Ursinus College Main Street properties must now be retained for student housing until further notice. The Borough and College had to cancel its contract with the consultant. Businesses that are able to open do so at 25% to 30% capacity. And with the virus, development is on hold for now.
That just leaves us with working on the Borough’s Comprehensive Plan. But a part of the planning is sharing documentation and visuals of the plan and getting feedback and buy-in. The CEDC’s role here is to be the communications arm of the revitalization. An important part of the planning process is presenting at public meetings: Like the WB Homes presentation above, and we report on it. Frankly we have nothing to show you of the plan at this time. We’re as frustrated about our revitalization work as you are about your life and lifestyle during this pandemic.
While we can present via Zoom — as local governments and planning commissions are doing now — we would like to set up our Collegeville Revitalization displays where people gather and get your thoughts and feedback in person. We would like borough, county and Ursinus College officials to be able to present to you and hear about your vision for our revitalized Main Street. We need your views so that the planning for our borough and new town center reflects everyone’s best ideas. With everyone contributing, we can create a community that we will all enjoy, and which will improve the lives of all of us, not only in the borough, but the region.
Like restaurants that have adapted to take out and delivery and set up outdoor dining areas, we will find a way to get our work done and get it to you.
Montco Planner Mike Lowrey is working on the first two chapters of Collegeville’s Revitalization Plan, which will contain digital content for our borough and business districts that residents and visitors can access on-line. And according to Mike, “(We’ll soon enough have) a digital walking tour around the borough and links to surveys to learn residents’ views. (Including hot links to) provide information on historic and other sites of interest”.
So we are moving forward, and until we can figure out a way to present to you in-person, information on the revitalization will be coming to a screen near you.
Created in January 2018, the Borough of Collegeville Business Development Committee oversees economic development and business recruitment in the borough. It is made up of volunteers from the borough and administered by a Borough Council member.