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Lansdale Could Become 'Classic Town'

Council President Matt West announced nomination of Lansdale Borough by county planning commission for inclusion in prestigious "Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia"

Lansdale Borough will be soon bestowed a level of prestige enjoyed by Souderton, Telford, Ambler and Lansdowne.

If council approves March 16, Lansdale will be a “Classic Town of Greater Philadelphia.”

The borough was nominated for the honor by the Montgomery County Planning Commission.

It was one of two municipalities nominated in the state of Pennsylvania for the Philadelphia region.

Council President Matt West, at the Wednesday borough work session, told how he presented the nomination to the communications commission earlier in the week, and got a chance to speak to the administration and finance committee and code enforcement and land use committee Wednesday night.

“In the Philly region, there are approximately 350 unique municipalities. Of those 350 unique municipalities, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has, through quantitative analysis, identified 100 municipalities that could be considered for inclusion in this program called ‘Classic Towns,’” West said.

The DVRPC has also applied qualitative analysis to these 100 communities.

“Of those 100, how many have a Main Street? How many have walkable communities? How many have a Main Street program? How many have sidewalks, lights, et cetera,” West said. “60. Out of 350.”

Those 60 municipalities had to be nominated by their home planning commission for inclusion in the “Classic Towns” program.

“Case in point: Montgomery County Planning Commission. I think you can see the writing on the wall where this conversation is going,” he said. “I am happy to announce that Montgomery County Planning Commission has nominated Lansdale Borough for inclusion in the ‘Classic Towns’ program.”

West said there are currently 19 communities out of 60 included in the program now

“This year, there are four that have been nominated: two in Pennsylvania and two in New Jersey,” he said. “We are the only municipality in Montgomery County, only one of two nominated in the Philly region.”

But the nomination and inclusion comes at a price: $5,000.

“It is prestigious. It does come with a cost,” West said. “It is a marketing campaign.”

He said the marketing for two years is $2,500 a year.

“The cost is miniscule for what we get,” he said.

So, what does the borough get if it is accepted as a “Classic Town”?

First, a bright, colorful feature on the “Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia” website at http://classictowns.org.

Second, specific breakdown of the finer points of the town within that listing.

For example, a dedicated page each for living, working, playing, connecting in and moving to Lansdale Borough.

Based on the model for Ambler Borough on the website, the “Live” section for Lansdale would no doubt mention its walkable streets, parks, schools, housing prices and cultural and entertainment opportunities. Description of housing is detailed, right down to the type of architecture and residential rent ranges.

Here is where it would link to the Lansdale Borough website.

The “work” link is the spot to mention the public transportation, parking lots and accessibility to major thoroughfares. This section would include information on Main Street shopping and the borough’s streetscapes and PCTI projects. Commerical rents would be listed here, per the example for Ambler Borough.

This same page would have a link to the Lansdale Business Association, based on the Ambler model that links to its Main Street program.

The “play” link undoubtedly would mention the borough parks and recreation opportunities, and link to the borough parks and recreation website. There could also be a link to the Lansdale Historical Society events here.

First Fridays, Concerts in the Park, Bike Night, Lansdale Festival of the Arts and Unde the Lights Car Show could fit nicely under the “visit” section of the website listing.

The program would also benefit other businesses and organizations associated with Lansdale.

Per Ambler’s page on the site, the “connect” section would be where Lansdale Borough would link its website, the Lansdale Business Association website, the PennSuburban Chamber of Commerce site, SEPTA information and even transportation management associations.

Real estate agencies would get a boost from the site, as the “move” link features agent listings and a map of the town.

The site also features an events calendar that lists upcoming events in all Classic Towns in the Greater Philadelphia area.

As a “Classic Town,” Lansdale would be included in the site’s “Class Towns Newsletter,” which is published quarterly and includes information on different amenities and events that are unique to each town.

“I strongly encourage council to explore the site, and encourage residents to explore the site as well,” West said.

The Marron Family March 04, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Thank You! I have watched Ambler come back to life. My brother has a "Store Window" Art show there in town. I went to Upper Dublin. I don't let our teens walk around Lansdale at night. Wishing you the same success! Keep us posted!
Diane Di Domizio March 04, 2011 at 06:47 PM
A classic town really, what does Lansdale have to offer? There are no movie theaters, no worthwhile shops and stores to go into,such as a gift shop,card shop, clothing stores, shoe stores, need I go on and other than Virago and Molly Maguire's what restaurants or eateries to meet friends in? Yes, they have sidewalks to where and what? The merchants need to be open later for people to do things at night. Yes, there's First Friday which has brought people in the town, but to see what? And that should go on later into the night. Hope they have success.
Brian Rox March 05, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Lansdale allows me to walk to places with my kids. I can buy groceries, get specialized vegan food (Arnold's Way), buy a fresh hot soft pretzel, get hardware to fix my house, go to my bank, get a book at the library, buy used items from the attic and get a good, better or even best (not playing favorites) breakfast, get a prescription filled and more only using my bike. Maybe I am a 3 pretzel for $1.50 and a used book type of guy, but I will always support the local businesses that continue to struggle while people drive (too quickly) by and complain. Lansdale doesn't have it all, it does have a little more than "most". I am proud to call Lansdale my hometown.
ROB BAILEY March 07, 2011 at 04:27 PM
I have too kinda agree with (Diane Di Domizio) I mean look at ambler they have a movie theater and lansdale doesn't. What does lansdale have to offer for the teenagers and such not really at all after since lansbowl burnt down lansdale really doesnt have much too do. Me and my wife sometimes go out to other towns because they have so much to offer. If it wasnt for the train tracks lansdale would be nothing its so easy to hit the train and go elsewhere.
BJ Rau-Putnam March 08, 2011 at 01:14 PM
What I see that Lansdale has the most of is potential. It's true that there's isn't a movie theater, but there is a performing arts center which much could be made of. A true community theater can make a town be a wonderful destination point and draw more profitable businesses to the area. One of the biggest reasons I opened my practice in Lansdale is because of how easy and accessible it is. I see buses, trains, and pedestrians go by my office all day long. There are people here, we just need more of a reason to keep them here instead of ambling off to Ambler or New Hope or Doylestown. A few more businesses geared to what working class and professionals need and can afford would make Lansdale a rocking place.
Brian Rox March 08, 2011 at 02:22 PM
What businesses would you suggest?
Jar March 08, 2011 at 08:26 PM
Over the course of my life(29 years) the trend of the Lansdale area seemed to be letting any unique character the town had be replaced by generic convenience stores and pharmacies. Looking at the monstrosity Rite Aid built at the intersection of Broad and Main streets still makes me sad. It faces away from the streets! That place is mooning our town! The town slogan could have been "Lansdale: You can't see a movie, ride a skateboard, go bowling, or get a library card if you lived just outside of town, but at least you never be more then 50 feet from a slurpee and some prescription pain killers!". I'm happy to see that trend starting to change in the last few years with additions like the performing arts center and First Fridays. Even the chain stores that built on the corner Main and Vally Forge tried to make appealing looking buildings that embrace the towns character. Hopefully the "Classic Town" status will help continue the current trend.
BJ Rau-Putnam March 09, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Downtown Lansdale is rather small, but if I could I would add more things to do rather than adding much more retail; I think that a small interactive museum, a labyrinth, and an arcade would be great additions. As for retail/service business, I'd like to be able to shop in more upscale consignment stores. I know we have plenty of resale shops, but really the only place that has things that I'm interested in is West Main Consignment.

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