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Posted on February 1, 2018 at 9:15 AM by Michael Stokes
Posted on December 21, 2017 at 12:40 PM by Michael Stokes
Outdoor murals can be great
assets in all types of communities if done thoughtfully. Murals cover a wide range of artwork
painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surface. They
are distinctive due to their scale and the fact that they include architectural
elements at their location. Some outdoor
murals are painted on large canvases or boards affixed to a wall, while the
more traditional mural is painted on a prepared plaster or stucco surface.
Murals can offer engaging social or historic commentary that can
be both aesthetically pleasing and thought provoking. They can humanize and energize barren urban
spaces. If done well, murals can have a
very positive effect on a community.
Developing a mural should be a community process that involves
the engagement of various stakeholders working with artists from the initial
design through the mural painting. Since murals are large and often
become significant features in any community, it is important that they respect
their surroundings. With local support,
murals are protected from vandalism and can be created with volunteer
participation. The maintenance of murals
and the ultimate removal of them is an important consideration that should be
There are several interesting murals spread around the
county. Though we may pale by comparison
to the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, which has created thousands of transformative
murals over the past 30 years, our local murals continue to make an impact. Check
out few of them below:
You know that you are near a zoo when you see this mural
This prominent blank wall in Schwenksville was transformed into a attractive
mural with the help of the Montgomery County 2040 Grant Program
Thousands of people pass this mural in Norristown along DeKalb Street
This mural inspires gardeners in Pottstown
In Royersford, a mural was painted on the side of an ugly factory building
as part of a riverfront revitalization effort.
Murals are part of place-making as this one in Harleysville demonstrates
Transforming dark underpasses is a challenging job for murals such as
this one in Glenside
Posted on November 28, 2017 at 9:17 AM by Michael Stokes
If you travel around the county, you can’t avoid noticing all of the new construction going on. Quite a change from many of the last ten years when construction was slowed down due to the Great Recession. Later next February we will be releasing our annual summary of development activity in 2017. That report will describe what is being proposed in the county. During next summer, we will be providing more numbers about new residential and non-residential projects completed in the county during 2017. So for now here is a quick scrap book of what is being built as seen during weekend bicycle trips around the county.
No discussion about development in Montgomery County can start any other place than the Village at Valley Forge, clearly the epicenter of the current county building boom.
Amazingly enough despite the fact that over 2,400 apartment units are being built at the Village at Valley Forge, another large apartment complex is being constructed nearby in Upper Merion with access to the new township Schuylkill West Trail and Valley Forge Park. Overall, apartments are the hottest single type of development taking place in the county.
Speaking of apartments, the ground breaking was recently held for the Lansdale Station Apartments adjoining the newly built SEPTA overpass at the Lansdale Train Station. Transit accessibility is another hot development trend in the county currently.
In Ardmore, that transit accessible theme is picked up in the One Ardmore Place residential apartment building being constructed a block from the Ardmore Train Station.
The largest institutional construction project in the county is also located in Lower Merion. The new Bryn Mawr Hospital Pavilion will add about 200,000 square feet of space to the already large Bryn Mawr Hospital.
The transit access theme is also picked up in the new townhouse project in Hatboro being built a few blocks from the Hatboro Train Station.
Other townhouse projects are being constructed around the county such as this stacked townhouse project being built in Lansdale (also within walking distance of the Lansdale Train Station).
We are also seeing different types of attached housing products that are particularly attractive to older adults such as this 84- unit Club View development in Limerick Township.
Carriage homes are also a popular development choice. This project in Upper Providence Township near the US Route 422 interchange at Route 29 was filled with sold signs on nearly every lot.
Some housing being constructed results from adaptive reuse of older institutional structures such as the former Trappe Middle School being redeveloped into luxury condominiums.
Though most construction projects in the county involve housing, there are a few office buildings under construction such as the Arborcrest building being constructed on the former Unisys campus in Whitpain Township.
To keep up with the new construction, municipal buildings are being expanded to such as the Limerick Township building. The Springfield Township and Upper Providence Township buildings are also being redeveloped.
Of course with all of the new construction, there will be need for expanded fire services. Pictured here is the new fire station for the Whitpain Fire Company.
Commercial development is probably the one lagging development type. There is some retail development taking place, but most of it involves the redevelopment of existing shopping centers. A new Royal Farms convenience store is being constructed in this Norristown shopping center.
Certainly there are several other projects that we did not show throughout the county. Overall a very busy year for development. The numbers that we release next year should document that fact.