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Lansdale Applies for $700K State Grant for Skate Park, Liberty Bell Trail

Lansdale Council on Wednesday voted to file for a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant, to be applied for public improvements in the Madison Lot Redevelopment Project.

As announced last week, a skate park and full completion of the Liberty Bell Trail will be part of phase one of the Madison Lot Redevelopment Project by Equus Capital Partners.

On Wednesday night, Lansdale Borough Council took a step toward grabbing some funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Council voted 7-0 to file an application for a $700,000 grant under the Pennsylvania DCNR C2P2 program. The grant would be applied to public improvements for the Lansdale Greenway (Liberty Bell Trail) and the skate park.

Council President Matt West and Councilman Rich DiGregorio Jr. were absent from the meeting.

The Liberty Bell Trail will connect Lansdale to Upper Gwynedd Township and Hatfield Township. Councilwoman Mary Fuller said Wednesday that, if successful, would make Lansdale the first municipality in Montgomery County to have a completed trail.

Developer Equus Capital Partners would contribute the dollar-for-dollar local match as required.

"These grants are going for public improvements that will be for public use," said Borough Manager Timi Kirchner Wednesday night. "There are questions about whether or not the grants are going for the developer's benefit. That is simply not the case. These grants are for a trail, a skate park, and for improvements on Madison Street. Those are all public areas that will remain that once the project is up and running and spectacularly successful."

Councilman Mike Sobel thanked all involved for putting the time and work and thoroughness into the redevelopment project. He especially thanked the Lansdale Parking Authority for working with Equus. The authority and Equus presented a sketch plan on the project last week.

"It's going to be one of the best things to ever hit this borough," Sobel said. "It's not something that was slammed together overnight. It isn’t anything being rushed through. It's been thoroughly discussed and worked on. Nice job."

Councilman Dan Dunigan, who also chairs the Lansdale Parking Authority, said there are trifolds available that summarize the "value-added improvements" coming the way of the borough as a result of the project.

Read more on those improvements and about the redevelopment project here. 

"I looked at the numbers dozens of times; they are still, frankly, staggering. To get this project done and get it off the ground will be an absolute boom for the town in which you live," he said. "I am looking forward to it."

Dunigan said he was "highly confident" that all will go well. He said SEPTA deputy general manager Jeff Knueppel said it was the finest transit-oriented, multimodal project he had ever seen.

"They are trying to do this in other places. Finally, something is ready to go here in Lansdale," Dunigan said.  

Councilwoman Mary Fuller said there was something important to note: the project will not cost the borough anything. Equus will be paying for both phases of the redevelopment and the skate park.

"I listen to comments and read comments and accounts in the media. I'd like to remind everybody, and please remind your friends and neighbors, when they say Lansdale should do this or the borough shouldn’t spend money on that: this is the developer's project," she said. "The borough isn’t spending any money. The developer is making the investment. It's their property and they will develop it. Same with the SEPTA garage, that wil be SEPTA money."

George March 22, 2013 at 02:26 PM
The time for the pat on the back and applause is after the performance. At this point all I see is a dollar in your pocket from the sale of the Madison lot. Council members, or to clarify, citizens for a better Lansdale; Are you blowing smoke up our skirts to gain a positive political profile prior to the election? Personally, I prefer hard evidence of accomplishments before I cast my vote. At this point, the only accomplishments are higher taxes, higher electric, and higher sewer rates and we are all much deeper in debt, thanks to your low interest Bond Borrowing. From a personal point of view -- I am not feeling the benefits of all this money. Oh yes, we do have something you portrayed as positive here; Borough books are looking great -- at what cost to the residence?
M March 22, 2013 at 03:48 PM
This is a huge waste on taxes payers money.All this building will do is sit empty,like every other empty store that's been sitting empty in this town for yrs. They screwed up Madison parking lot when they so called revamped it to the way it is now.Less parking.Why do they feel this project is going to actually work,cause the railroad? Please.this is a joke.Besides,think about it,you have a huge new complex with stores that look out of place when you have other stores that will need to be brought up to par appearance wise.Where would that money come from to upgrade appearances of those stores,the tax payers or the store owners or both?If you don't upgrade the surrounding stores they will be eyesores.great plan NOT.And to answer George's question regarding blowing smoke,thats all this town council is doing.Also think its funny how they are planning to put a skate park smack dab in the middle of this so called complex to improve the area.Sure the cops will be busy dealing with the troublemakers(and I'm not saying all skaters are,there are a few law bidding ones).great idea.lmaoYou trying to improve things but at the same time your asking for trouble.
George March 23, 2013 at 03:18 PM
M, You are right! They changed to apartments instead of condos -- bait and switch. These citizens for a better Lansdale are only interested in getting re-elected. I don't want four more years of higher taxes and utilities. It's bad enough that we are paying more for electric to subsidize the commercial electric rates. Commercial businesses get a discount and we make up for it by paying higher rates. Win, win for the Electric department cash cow. Looks like the big contributors to the fireworks last year, and the year before, were the companies that got the discounts on their electric. So I suppose then that we, the residential electric users, really paid for the fireworks. Good job fellow residential electric users. Odds are this years contributors to the festivities will be the same. Let's have a beer and toast to the reduction in PROPERTY TAXES, SEWER RATES, and ELECTRIC RATES!!! NOT! Of course this will never happen -- Lansdale Council is proud of the fact they have a great financial balance sheet. How's yours?

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