Trail Junction Center
WELCOME TO THE TRAIL JUNCTION CENTER!
We are glad you are here to learn about the Trail Junction Center and we hope you will be a part of bringing it to life. The project is quickly taking shape as we work to gather feedback and grow the vision for what this exciting public facility can be!
The project will result in the renovation of the Norristown Freight Station for use as the Trail Junction Center (TJC). The TJC is located at the future intersection of the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) and the Chester Valley Trail (CVT), which represent two key trails in both the county-wide trail system as well as the Circuit Trails regional network. The existing SRT is heavily used bicyclists and pedestrians and runs directly adjacent to the site. An extension of the CVT is now under construction and expected to reach this intersection by the end of 2022.
The county began exploring alignment options for the extension of the CVT in the early 2000s and after conducting a feasibility study focused on this site and building, decided to purchase the property in 2007. The TJC is intended to serve multiple purposes, including:
- Amenities for trail users including restrooms, drinking water, trail information, places to rest, bicycle repair, and perhaps a small café/refreshment venue
- Flexible community space for meetings, events, and vendors
- Flexible office space that may be utilized by county employees or outside organizations
- Interpretive materials, exhibits, and signage providing environmental education and local/regional history
The county hired an architecture firm (Seiler+Drury Architecture) to develop construction documents and detailed cost estimates for renovation of the building. This work began in early 2022 and the project deliverables are expected to be complete by the end of 2022. The goal is to simplify renovations, maximize functional flexibility, and improve the building and site aesthetics. With respect to the design approach, we envision adhering to sustainable design (following green building principles), universal design (striving to make building and site usable by people of all abilities) and preserving the historic character (keeping building renovations light and simple in order to reveal building’s original construction and history while keeping costs down).
Besides serving the purposes noted above, there is an opportunity for this small public facility to draw and support the local community and create synergy with both the business district along Main Street in Norristown and the larger county campus. During a recent study (Trail Access, Diversity, and Awareness Study) conducted by MCPC, it was found that despite a major regional trail running through their city, many Norristown residents were either unaware of its existence or felt that it wasn’t for them – that it was only for “serious” athletes. In response to these findings, another intended result of this project will be to increase the connection between Norristown residents and the trail, and also to connect existing trail users with Norristown and the amenities it has to offer including restaurants, the Elmwood Park Zoo, and cultural venues such as the nearby theaters.
The map and photos provide some existing site context and the Reuse Concept Plans provide a vision of how the TJC might be transformed.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND MEETINGS
A vital aspect to making the Trail Junction Center successful is public input, and we look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions! Please take the survey (see right sidebar) and if you have feedback beyond the survey or want to be included on the interested parties list, please let us know through our online comment form here.
- A public engagement event including a kick-off for the Montco Trail Challenge, community art activities, and a table with information and surveys about the Trail Junction Center was held on June 4, 2022.
- Future public meeting dates will be posted here. We are planning to hold a public meeting at the Trail Junction Center in September 2022 once preliminary plans for the building and site have been prepared.
The architectural and engineering work underway now is being funded by a $100,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Trails Program. The cost estimates developed as a part of this work will help determine the construction budget. Construction funds are actively being sought.
- A Feasibility Study for Adaptive Reuse and Rehabilitation of a Railroad Freight Transfer Station dated September 2004 and prepared by Campbell Thomas & Co. This study covers the site and building’s history, existing conditions, recommendations for site development and adaptive reuse, probable costs, structural/mechanical/electrical sub-consultant reports, and proposed plans.
- Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment dated September 2007 and prepared by Land Recycling Solutions, LLC. This assessment documents recognized environmental conditions, other potential environmental conditions, and provides recommendations.
- Feasibility Study, Norristown Freight Station dated February 2009 and prepared by Ann Barton Brown Company. The aim of this study was to determine a purpose and function for the site and building, identify users and community interest, explore the potential to generate income, develop a business plan, and make recommendations on potential funding sources.
- Reuse Concept Plans. These graphics were developed in early 2021 by MCPC staff to provide a vision of how the Trail Junction Center might be transformed.