Schwartz, of­fi­cials cap pro­ject with rib­bon-cut­ting

North Penn Life - - NEWS - By Dan Sokil dsokil@21st-cen­tu­ry­

A freez­ing morn­ing in Jan­uary 2011 was on the minds of Lans­dale Bor­ough of­fi­cials and some dis­tin­guished vis­i­tors July 16, as they stood in a closed sec­tion of Lans­dale’s Madi­son Street.

That clo­sure was not for some last-minute con­struc­tion or re­pairs though — it was for a cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony in which the bor­ough thanked U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-13, for her help in se­cur­ing fed­eral fund­ing for the bor­ough’s down­town streetscape pro­ject.

“What­ever the weather, we are go­ing to keep work­ing to make sure that we are here to do rib­bon cut­tings, and more im­por­tantly to grow this com­mu­nity in a way that the res­i­dents want,” Schwartz said.

“The co­op­er­a­tion be­tween lo­cal, state and fed­eral govern­ment is what makes it work. It’s hav­ing a vi­sion, and then get­ting it done, so let’s cut that rib­bon and then move on to great things for Lans­dale,” she said.

Shortly af­ter she was first elected to Congress in 2005, Schwartz told a crowd of sev-eral res­i­dents and lo­cal busi­ness own­ers, she toured sev­eral towns in her dis­trict to see how the fed­eral govern­ment could help smaller towns and cities de­velop.

“One of my first visit was to Lans­dale, and I walked Main Street, and I have to say it looked a lit­tle dif­fer­ent in 2005,” she said.

Be­fore she cut a cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon hung in front of two bor­ough pub­lic works trucks, Schwartz de­scribed how the bor­ough asked for her help, which led to a $2.3 mil­lion grant through the fed­eral SAFETEA-LU (Safe Ac-count­able Flex­i­ble Ef­fi­cient Trans­porta­tion Eq­uity Act a Legacy for Users) pro­gram to as­sist with the down­town streetscape pro­ject. The pro- ject kicked off with a sim­i­lar gath­er­ing on a chilly morn­ing in Jan­uary 2011, con­struc­tion lasted through much of the sum­mer of 2011, and brought new side­walks, street lights, trees, bike racks and benches to sev­eral blocks of Main, Broad and Madi­son streets. It is a pro­ject that Schwartz said serves as a model of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween lo­cal, state and fed­eral govern­ment along with lo­cal busi­nesses.

“It’s look­ing at sus­tain­abil­ity, and rec­og­niz­ing that peo­ple want a more walk­a­ble com­mu­nity, that small busi­nesses will come in if the in­fra­struc­ture is there, and that this is some­thing we can do if we have a vi­sion,” she said.

“Yes, I do love Lans­dale, and I do talk about Lans­dale as a model, not just in Mont­gomery County, not just to the state, but for the na­tion, in the way we look at our small towns and cities across the state, and across this na­tion, and re­ally do de­vel­op­ment right,” Schwartz said.

Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sioner Josh Shapiro said county law­mak­ers ap­pre­ci­ate “the ex­tra­or­di­nary lead­er­ship here in Lans­dale. You guys re­ally are awe­some, and you’re awe­some be­cause you’re vi­sion­ar­ies you un­der­stood what was needed here in Lans­dale in or­der to make it even bet­ter, and you went out and found it,” he said.

The county has helped the bor­ough by al­lo­cat­ing $1.7 mil­lion in open space fund­ing, nearly $3 mil­lion in re­vi­tal­iza­tion grants, and by lo­cat­ing a — county em­ployee who di­rects res­i­dents to health-re­lated ser­vices — in Lans­dale, and coun­cil Pres­i­dent Matt West thanked both on be­half of the bor­ough.

“This very Lans­dale of which you speak so fondly is deeply grate­ful, not only for the sen­ti­ment but also your will­ing­ness to put ac­tion into words. For that, we thank you,” West said, adding that Schwartz fre­quently tells him “how much she loves Lans­dale, and we’re go­ing to hold her to that.”

Schwartz ad­dressed that hope by say­ing that if the U.S. Congress writes a trans­porta­tion bill in the next year, “which we might, there might be fewer dollars, but it’s an op­por­tu­nity again to bring those fed­eral dollars back to help Lans­dale, and to help the other towns across my dis­trict — and maybe fur­ther.”

Coun­cil­man Den­ton Burnell chaired bor­ough coun­cil’s pub­lic works com­mit­tee while the pro­ject was un­der­way, and de­scribed how the pro­ject has in­creased turnout in down­town events, prompted tran­si­to­ri­ented de­vel­op­ment projects such as the up­com­ing Madi­son Park­ing Lot de­vel­op­ment pro­ject and helped bring to life the bor­ough’s brand­ing plat­form of “Life in Mo­tion.”

“All of th­ese ad­di­tions have vis­i­ble re­sults, mak­ing Lans­dale Bor­ough an at­trac­tive place to live and work, while pro­vid­ing a healthy, more vi­brant com­mu­nity. ‘Life in Mo­tion’ is our brand’s tagline, and this pro­ject is ev­i­dence of that, and look at what it jump­started,” Burnell said.

Bor­ough Man­ager Timi Kirch­ner thanked the nu­mer­ous con­sul­tants and bor­ough staff who helped guide the streetscape pro­ject from idea to re­al­ity, and she and West pre­sented gift bags to Shapiro and Schwartz in recog­ni­tion of their help.

Schwartz “made a call to this bor­ough one day, of­fer­ing to help with fed­eral dollars for a pro­ject that would have vi­tal­iza­tion of this bor­ough,” she said.

“Mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar grants do not come around ev­ery day, and the bor­ough of Lans­dale is grate­ful to Con­gress­woman Schwartz for rec­og­niz­ing the po­ten­tial in Lans­dale, and aid­ing in ‘paving the way’ for con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment within the bor­ough,” Kirch­ner said.

Photo by DAN SOKIL

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-13, cuts a cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon to com­plete the fed­er­ally-funded Lans­dale Streetscape Pro­ject on Madi­son Street in Lans­dale July 16. Also at­tend­ing are, from left, bor­ough coun­cil mem­bers Dan Du­ni­gan and Rick DiGre­go­rio, Bor­ough Man­ager Timi Kirch­ner, Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sioner Josh Shapiro, Lans­dale coun­cil Pres­i­dent Matt West, Coun­cil­man Jack Hansen, Mayor Andy Szekely, Coun­cil­man Den­ton Burnell and coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Mary Fuller.

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