Main Street Master Planning Begins
In March of 2023 Collegeville Borough was awarded a $74,000 Local Share Account planning grant from the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to develop a Main Street Master Plan. The grant covers the cost of planning, consulting, and design. The plan will act as a road map in revitalizing our Main Street, with particular emphasis on the 400 block.
The grant has allowed the Borough to hire planning and architecture firm Derck & Edson, at no cost to taxpayers. Mark Evans, Director of Planning and an accomplished architect of both building and landscape design will head the project.
Phase1: Discover Collegeville
Beginning in late July Derck & Edson will kick off their work with the first of three steps in Phase 1: a goal setting and existing conditions review. This will include:
1) Base Mapping
Assembling base maps of the 400 block of Main Street Project Study Area and Site Context Area including:
- Site aerial
- Parcels, buildings, trails, sidewalks
- Identification of anchor institutions and businesses
2) Site Assessment
For the site assessment task, they will evaluate:
- 5- and 10-minute walk sheds
- Sidewalks/ trails – width and condition
- Existing land use
- Existing zoning
- Parks and public spaces
- Underutilized sites and buildings
- Parking assessment – location, quantity and ownership of on-street and off-street parking spaces
- Transportation assessment – lane widths, on-street parking, crosswalks, lighting signals, alleys, right-of-way
3) Walking Tour
During this tour, they will seek input and guidance from the Borough and Ursinus College on opportunity sites, properties most susceptible to change for rehabilitation and enhancement as well as areas for enhanced pedestrian connectivity and parking access.
Another important action of this project is the appointment of a Main Street Revitalization Steering Committee. This committee will be comprised of the plan’s key stakeholders. The Borough is in the process now of inviting a select group of Main Street building and business owners, potential developers, investors, and representatives of Ursinus College, the Borough, its Planning Commission, and residents to be on this committee.
Key Sections of the Main Street Master Plan
Key sections of the plan will focus on:
- The creation of a Vision for Main Street to highlight our community’s assets, annual events, historic architecture, our walkable community and our vision for the future. These elements will guide what capital improvements and zoning changes we seek and what types of private investment could be available for Collegeville’s Main Street District
- Transportation and Streetscape Plan—This section will illustrate what infrastructure improvements are needed for Main Street and adjoining streets, alleys, sidewalks, and trails and what they will look like. This section will also highlight the types of lighting, outdoor furniture and site improvements recommended along with cost estimates. And in order to apply for grant funding, this section will also contain our Borough’s vision for future capital improvements.
- Civic Space Recommendations—This section will illustrate the type of civic space needed for Collegeville’s town green or community gathering space. It will also identify potential partners to implement the plan and cost estimates of proposed improvements.
- Design and Zoning Recommendations—This section of the plan will highlight the key policies and design standards recommended along with zoning for the new Main Street Commercial (MSC) District.
- Main Street Redevelopment Potential—Based upon the desired vision and preferred community character for the 400 block of Collegeville’s Main Street, this section of the plan will illustrate the potential transformation of two illustrative buildings. Included will be the recommended scale of the buildings, character of the streetscape improvements, preservation of key building features and desired outcomes of the Main Street Revitalization Master Plan for Collegeville.
- Implementation Plan—This section of the plan will identify those organizations likely to champion each project, the anticipated priority of the projects and timelines. It will include cost estimates and implementation strategies for the recommended public infrastructure improvements and subsequent planning studies needed. These recommendations will also identify grants and other public funding sources to assist in the implementation of the plans.
Review and Presentation Process
The design of the preliminary concepts of the plan will be reviewed by the appointed Steering Committee during September. Then in late September through November, a series of community stakeholder meetings will be held both in-person and via Zoom with 400 block residents and property owners, business owners, and potential developers. These meetings will be followed by community Open Houses, where the Borough will seek input and feedback from everyone—our residents, the Ursinus College community, those who patronize the business district, and others with an interest in Collegeville Borough.
Once everyone’s input is added to the draft plan for the Main Street 400 block, the amended plan will be reviewed by the Borough’s Planning Commission and Council in November through December. A final presentation of the plan, which highlights the plan’s vision, recommendations, implementation plan and funding strategies will then be scheduled for everyone in the Borough. The final plan will also be available on the borough’s website, and through newsletters and social media platforms. It is expected that the final plan will be completed in February, 2024.
TransFleet Concrete, the new owners of the former DaVinci’s restaurant property, are currently spiffing up the space to lease it to a restaurant. In the last few weeks they have been working both inside and outside the building. Although they had previously thought the space would not be ready until 2024, they now hope to get a new restaurant in the space later this year.
TransFleet has also been renovating the historic Power House. There’s a new roof, beautiful new wooden doors and a sidewalk in the front, fresh landscaping and a new rooftop sign.
The new sign—Trans-Fleet at the Power House—reminds us of its former use. Built in 1902, it was one of several coal-fired electricity generation stations for the trolley that at one time ran from Germantown to Pottstown through Collegeville and Trappe Boroughs.
In other business news:
Collegeville Shopping Center
- Kidstrong Collegeville, a fun indoor sports and play space for kids 14 months to 11 years, is opening in the space vacated by The Spice restaurant.
- Pep Boys, in addition to operating its car repair business, is now carrying AutoZone parts.
Marketplace at Collegeville (Redner’s) Shopping Center
- Engage Personal Training has opened next door to Mathnasium. They have positioned themselves as personal trainers who will help busy adults lose weight.
- Rice House will be moving into the space vacated by China Jade which closed due to its owner retiring.
- Worthwhile Thrift has become a destination store for thrift shop “treasure” hunters.
- Floral Designers, although they are still renovating their space, is open next to Aavya Indian Cuisine. We hear that they will be delivering fresh flowers and fruit baskets.
- Stay True Tattoo opened next door to Rocco’s Pizza.
- Troubles End Brewing is expanding its bottling capability.
- Main Street Nutrition announced that they are opening a second nutritional shake and tea store on Boyertown’s Main Street. Meanwhile, home decor store G&S Style has moved out of their small store next door and the space will be taken over by fitness instructor Tim McGlone who will focus on kids’ fitness.
- Hydra Smoke and Vape Shop has opened in the 300 block of Main Street.
- Vacancy – One more commercial space is available in the former KeyBank building at 364 E Main St (map it): The final 700 sq ft space between new Main Street businesses Ryan Skye and Hush Esthetics Spa. Both Ryan Skye and Hush Esthetics are doing well and the space could be perfect for a ladies boutique or other business catering to women. The store’s floor-to- ceiling window is highly visible to the street and would be great for showcasing products. Owners Keenan, Ciccitto & Associates, LLP are open to negotiating the lease. For more information, contact Rowan Keenan at (610) 489-6170.
- Phoenixville Federal Savings and Loan, located at 74 2nd Ave completed renovations in April. The old bank was demolished to its floor leaving the basement intact, and a handsome new building was built on its footprint. The Grand Opening was attended by representatives of the bank, the contractor and architecture firms, borough officials and Rep. Joe Webster.
Art Piano Social Media Series
CEDC volunteers Brenna Sowers and Evie MacDonald developed a Play Me! Art Piano Tour for our social media pages highlighting the Play Me! pianos installed in businesses in and around Collegeville Borough.
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