Town­ship wins Montco plan­ning award

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - LOCAL - By Evan Brandt [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

UP­PER POTTSGROVE >> The town­ship’s Open Space and Re­cre­ation Board was re­cently named the 2018 win­ner of the Plan­ning Ad­vo­cate Award by the Mont­gomery County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Given out ev­ery year since 1967, the Plan­ning Ad­vo­cate Award “rec­og­nizes an en­gaged ci­ti­zen, ap­pointed/ elected of­fi­cial or board, or com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tion that has made sig­nif­i­cant and sus­tained con­tri­bu­tions to ad­vanc­ing or pro­mot­ing plan­ning in Mont­gomery County.”

The vol­un­teer board was “rec­og­nized for com­mu­nity vi­sion, sus­tained com­mit­ment to con­ser­va­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources, and suc­cess­ful open space preser­va­tion and trail de­vel­op­ment achieve­ments. Over nearly three decades, the board has cre­ated an en­vi­able record of ac­com­plish­ments, fur­ther­ing the vi­sion and goals of the town­ship,” ac­cord­ing to the an­nounce­ment from the plan­ning com­mis­sion.

“Through the years, faced with mount­ing sub­ur­ban de­vel­op­ment pres­sure on its farm­lands and ru­ral land­scape, the town­ship es­tab­lished a vi­sion for re­tain­ing its valu­able nat­u­ral re­sources,” the plan­ning com­mis­sion wrote.

“In the early 1990s, these ef­forts were led pri­mar­ily by a grass­roots ci­ti­zen group, which ed­u­cated it­self about en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship and land preser­va­tion,” for­mal­iz­ing the ar­range­ment into a com­mit­tee in 2004.

In 2010, this com­mit­tee merged with the town­ship’s re­cre­ation board.

The open space and trail de­vel­op­ment achieve­ments were funded by a .25 per­cent earned in­come tax ap­proved by vot­ers in 2006 and be­gun with a $714,000 grant from the Mont­gomery County Green Fields/Green Towns pro­gram.

At the time vot­ers ap­proved the tax, only about 70 acres of town­ship land was per­ma­nently pro­tected as open space.

To­day, Up­per Pottsgrove has more than 400 acres of open space that’s per­ma­nently pro­tected — that’s an ad­di­tion of 330 acres and an in­crease of more 450 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to town­ship of­fi­cials.

Among the more high­pro­file ef­forts led to the es­tab­lish­ment of the Alt­house Ar­bore­tum off Gil­bertsville Road which last year of­fered more than 50 pro­grams to the pub­lic, in­clud­ing sum­mer camps, night hikes and Christ­mas tree re­cy­cling ef­forts.

The Open Space and Re­cre­ation Board held a spe­cial town-wide meet­ing Sept. 27 to gather in­put on the writ­ing of a new open space and re­cre­ation plan.

This an­nual awards pro­gram, which is in its 51st year, rec­og­nizes the best in plan­ning, de­sign, and ad­vo­cacy in Mont­gomery County. It pro­motes aware­ness of out­stand­ing de­sign and in­no­va­tive plan­ning in our com­mu­ni­ties and ac­knowl­edges the high qual­ity of work and com­mit­ment of com­mu­ni­ties, or­ga­ni­za­tions, and pro­fes­sion­als in con­tribut­ing to these projects, ac­cord­ing to the county web­site.

The award was one of six an­nounced re­cently.

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

From left, Mont­gomery County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion Vice chair­woman Dul­cie Fla­harty, Plan­ning Com­mis­sioner Di­rec­tor Jody Holton, Re­gional Re­cre­ation Co­or­di­na­tor Michael Lane, Michelle Red­dick and Den­nis El­liott, Vice Chair­woman and Chair­man, re­spec­tively, of the Up­per Pottsgrove Open Space and Re­cre­ation Board, board mem­ber and for­mer town­ship com­mis­sioner Herb Miller and State Rep. Marcy Toe­pel, R-147th Dist.

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