Lansdale seeks grant funds for Madison Lot skate park
By Dan Sokil
A week after the public gRt LtV fiUVt ORRN Dt uSGDtHG plans for redevelopment, including a skate park toward the rear of the Madison parking lot, Lansdale Borough is seeking more grant money to help with that project.
ln March 20, council voted unanimously to apply for AT00,000 in state grant funding that council sice President Mary Fuller said will come with no cost to the borough.
“There is a match portion — a 50 percent match — but I’m pleased to announce that the developer will pay the match so it’s a total win-win for us,” Fuller said.
Last week, that developer, Equus Partners (formerly known as BPd Properties), publicly displayed its latest plans to redevelop the borough’s Madison parking lot, with a skate park and pedestrian overpass added to the project’s initial intent of building a parking garage, apartments and retail space atop the current lot DnG YDFDnt fiHOGV EHKLnG.
lne of those fields, located below the water tower near Third Street and oichardson Avenue, would become the future site of a skate park for a community Fuller said was “ecstatic” to learn of the new plans.
“I’m getting well-verbalized, well-thoughtout emails from people who understand what this means, are excited about it and want to be involved in it. They can’t wait to help,” she said.
Those offers have ranged from volunteers to host skateboarding lessons to assisting with the development process, and, Fuller said, “these are people from all ages, from their 40s and 50s down into the P0s, 20s and teens.”
BRURugK RIfiFLDOV KRSH all of those users stay involved as the project moves through the land develop- ment approval process, and Fuller said that buy-in will help create a desire for the skate community to take care of that park.
“If they’re invested in the process, if they’re users, then you can be damn sure they’re going to keep xthe parkz clean and neat, and be on the lookout for others who may want to damage RU YDnGDOL]H RU gUDIfitL,” she said.
The grant money would come from the state’s aepartment of Conservation and Natural oesources, as part of its Community Conservation Partnerships Program meant to encour- age green park projects, trail connection and outdoor recreation — which the skate park and trails promote.
“vou can walk there on the trail, you can skateboard to it on the trail, you can drive, you can walk, you can take the train to it,” Fuller said.
That trail connection will KHOS FRnnHFt HDtfiHOG DnG rpper dwynedd connections with downtown Lansdale. rpon its completion, Fuller said, Lansdale will EH tKH fiUVt PunLFLSDOLty Ln tKH FRunty tR finLVK LtV stretch of the Liberty Bell Trail, which will run from Stony Creek Park at Hancock Street, along the railroad tracks past the Andale dreen development, into downtown past the borough municipal complex and through the Madison ORt tR FRnnHFt wLtK HDtfiHOG west of Third Street.
Fuller and Borough Manager Timi Kirchner both emphasized that the grant funding would be used for public improvements on land that would be owned by Equus but used by the public, such as the trails and the skate park.
“There have been questions about whether or not the grants are going for the GHYHORSHU’V EHnHfit, DnG that’s simply not the case,” Kirchner said.
“The grants are for a trail, for a skate park and for improvements on Madison Street. These are all public areas that will remain xpublicz once this project is up and running and spectacularly successful,” she said.
Several other council members thanked the team RI ERURugK RIfiFLDOV DnG consultants that helped prepare and present the plans ODVt wHHN. 7KH RIfiFLDOV included Councilman aan aunigan, who chairs the borough Parking Authority, which agreed to sell the lot to Equus.
“I’ve looked at the numbers dozens and dozens of times and it’s still, frankly, staggering” to see the total EHnHfit tR tKH ERURugK tKH project will bring, he said.
Borough fact sheets available at the council meeting show maps of the project and its relationship to other projects under active development in Lansdale, and a Parking Authority fact sheet details the projected AT48,000 in annual revenue and A965,000 in one-time revenue the project should create.
The project has already been awarded A2.5 million in state grant money to assist with other public improvements and Equus and the Parking Authority submitted further grant applications last month seeking A800,000 more for remediation work on that property.
LRng-tHUP EHnHfitV tR tKH borough total more than A20 million when the costs of the nearby SEPTA garage and pedestrian bridge are included, and aunigan encouraged the public to attend a special Parking Authority meeting March 2T when that entity could approve the latest plans.
“That will be the jumping-off point, where the folks from Equus can head for the subdivision and land planning phases and we can get this ball rolling,” he said.
For more information, meeting materials or to view the Madison Lot presentation and grant application, visit www.Lansdale. org or follow @LansdalePA on Twitter.
Rendering of the proposed Madison parking lot redevelopment project, as presented by Equus Capital Partners to Lansdale Parking Authority March 13.