Broad Theater sidewalk plans reviewed
When the Broad Theater reopens with seating for almost 500 people, two restaurants and meeting facilities, it could bring a big change to more than just the corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue in Souderton.
“There’s a part of me that says if this theater is successful, that might be the new core of our downtown,” Souderton Borough Council President Brian Goshow said during discussion about the sidewalk plans for the theater at the board’s Sept. 10 work session.
Borough Manager Mike Coll said he recently met with Broad Entertainment Group to go over the sidewalk plans.
“They will construct the sidewalk,” Coll said. “We’re going to have to help them with the design.”
The plans will include a bulb-out area to protect the theater marquee from getting hit by passing trucks, he said.
Granite curbing and other features already installed on Main Street will be added at the theater as part of the plans, he said.
“It’ll look like the other streetscaping projects we did for the most part,” Coll said.
The two main differences between the Main Street and theater side- walks will be that street trees and the decorative lampposts on Main Street will not be required at the theater, council decided.
“Street trees really wouldn’t work right up against the theater, mainly because you’re going to block the theater and the marquee,” Coll said.
The possibility of requiring street trees only on the Washington Avenue side of the building was also considered, but dropped by council.
The Washington Avenue side of the building is also the theater’s exit.
“You get a lot of people walking there,” Goshow said. “I think you need as much walkable surface there as you can.”
The currently existing street lights will remain, although there is a possibility the height could be adjusted, Coll said, and the theater will have outside lighting attached to the building.
The Broad Theater, which was built in 1922, began with live performances before starting to show movies in the 1940s. No re-opening date for the theater has been given, but it appears it could be next spring, council members said.
It will be November until some of the sidewalk materials that have to be purchased will be received, Coll said. That will make it late in the year weather-wise for the con-
struction and borough public works employees assisting in the work will have other work at that time, such as collecting leaves, he said.
The theater will do the concrete work for the sidewalks, with the borough providing the special additions such as granite curbing and paver blocks. The theater will reimburse the borough for the cost of mate- rials provided by the municipality. The theater will not be required to reimburse the borough for the public works department labor involved in the installation.
7KH WUDIfiF VLJQDO DW WDVKington Avenue and Broad Street will not be changed, but there will be sidewalk improvements on all four corners of the intersection.
The new sidewalks on Broad Street will not extend all the way to Penn Avenue, but design work will be done so the rest of the block can continue the new sidewalk in the future.
A new parking lot is planned at Penn Avenue and Lumber Street to help provide parking for the theater. Univest is also planning to extend its employee parking area behind the former Souderton train station to free up more existing parking spaces for the theater, Coll said.
The borough is hoping to take over the lease for the train station property, restore the train station and its accompanying weigh station and freight buildings and sublease the buildings to businesses, similar to what was done in Telford. The Local restaurant will remain in the Souderton station under the plan.
In August, Coll told council the borough was in danger of losing a $500,000 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant that is planned to pay part of the costs of the restoration work because the deadline for spending that money was approaching. This week, though, Coll said that deadline was for when the contract is signed, which happened last year.
“The funding stays in place until 2017,” Coll said.
Other state funding won’t remain available for that long, though, he said.
“WH GHfiQLWHOy QHHG WR VWDUW moving the project in 2013,” Coll said.
The borough is hoping to soon conclude a lease agreement with SEPTA, the property owner, he said.
In another matter at the Sept. 10 meeting, council member Jeff Gross told the board, “We KDG fivH FKuUFKHV KHUH 6DWuUday pulling weeds for us.”
The group also did mulching, he said.
Calvary Church, of Souderton; Keystone Fellowship, of Montgomeryville; Lansdale Immanuel Church of the Nazarene; Cornerstone Church, of Skippack; and Morningstar Fellowship, of Bechtelsville, took part in the cleanup work, he said. Earlier this year, other church groups, including groups from out of state, joined Ridgeline Community Church, of Souderton, in weeding and other cleanup work.
“We seem to be getting blessed with volunteers from churches this year from out of our town,” Gross said.