NORRISTOWN, PA – Five outstanding projects and their creators and a dedicated advocate of promoting good planning and design through historic preservation, land conservation, and livable and walkable communities were honored yesterday at a Montgomery Awards celebration in the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. This annual program, sponsored by the Montgomery County Planning Commission, recognizes the best in planning and design, advocacy, and environmental stewardship in Montgomery County and acknowledges the high-quality work and commitment of communities, organizations, and professionals.
The five projects receiving 2022 awards were Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing in Lower Merion Township; Whites Road Park Accessible Playground, a Lansdale-owned park located in Upper Gwynedd Township; The Grove at Meadowood in Worcester Township; The Willows at East Greenville in East Greenville Borough; and the Perkiomen Creek Dam Removals and Stream Restorations project in Upper Hanover Township, which received the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award. In addition to these outstanding projects, Thomas J. Hylton received a 2022 Planning Advocate Award.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Montgomery Awards program. Since its beginning in 1967, 233 awards have been presented throughout Montgomery County. Over the years, many types of projects have been awarded, including residential, office, and commercial developments; redevelopment projects; community revitalization efforts; transportation improvements; historic preservation projects; and open space and park planning. All of these winning projects are best practice examples of planning and design in the county.
“These award-winning projects demonstrate how vision and collaboration result in creating exceptional places in Montgomery County. These projects are excellent models of transformation and sustainability. All of our winners touch on the goals and themes of Connected Communities, Sustainable Places, and Vibrant Economy contained in Montco 2040: A Shared Vision, Montgomery County’s comprehensive plan,” said Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing received a 2022 Montgomery Award for innovative reuse, sustainable design, and extensive public amenities. This groundbreaking riverfront project, a brownfield redevelopment, successfully revived an underutilized industrial site into a modern day hospitality destination while bringing new purpose to the site’s many unique industrial relics. The project consists of a 7-story hotel, associated restaurants, and riverside trail and gathering space. Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing, representing a benchmark for the ongoing transformation of the Schuylkill River frontage in Lower Merion Township, will ensure the continued success of the riverfront as a vibrant destination.
Whites Road Park Accessible Playground, part of a Lansdale-owned park located in Upper Gwynedd Township, received a 2022 Montgomery Award for sustained vision, accessible and inclusive design, and community collaboration and impact. Designed in collaboration with Upper Gwynedd as part of an overall vision for Whites Road Park, this outstanding playground meets the needs of children of all ages and abilities while improving stormwater management and ADA access. The playground welcomes everyone and has been quickly embraced by residents of both Lansdale and Upper Gwynedd. Through sustained vision, consideration of community needs, and successful collaboration, this excellent recreational asset brings new life to this portion of Whites Road Park, which will continue to evolve to meet community needs.
The Grove at Meadowood received a 2022 Montgomery Award for vision and master planning, innovative design, and environmental stewardship. This exceptional contemporary senior living development, part of Meadowood Senior Living, represents a key element of a decades-long master planning effort. This appealing community features state-of-the-art housing units, a central gathering space with an attractively landscaped stormwater pond, new trail connections, and preservation of a historic cemetery. This development, which seamlessly blends into the Meadowood community, provides many outdoor amenities that promote the health and well-being of its residents while providing a beautiful living environment.
The Willows at East Greenville received a 2022 Montgomery Award for housing equity, adaptive reuse and historic preservation, and community collaboration. This exceptional project created 71 high-quality units of mixed-income rental housing in East Greenville Borough and transformed a deteriorated building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, into an appealing and affordable place to live. Under National Park Service guidelines, this project boasts exposed beams and walls, over 500 new windows specially designed to fit into existing openings, and refurbished fire doors. Recognizing a need for attainable housing, the borough and developers worked together to change the zoning to allow the residential use for this project, which provides much-needed housing for dozens of Montgomery County families and contributes to the vibrancy of East Greenville Borough.
The Perkiomen Creek Dam Removals and Stream Restorations project received a 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award for the removal of obsolete dams, resulting stream restorations, and an extensive collaborative process with many community partners. This outstanding effort has successfully resulted in improved water quality, enhanced habitat biodiversity, and restored stream channels. At a total project cost of $275,000 and with support from community partners, this project, which involved the removal of two dams and subsequent stream restorations, will improve water quality for the region, aquatic habitat for these two branches of the Perkiomen Creek, and for Green Lane Park, an important recreation area.
Thomas J. Hylton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and activist, received a 2022 Planning Advocate Award for his life-long advocacy to promoting good planning and design through historic preservation, land conservation, and livable and walkable communities. Having grown up in a small town and being able to walk to school, Tom knew it was important to be able to live in a vibrant, walkable community. He recognized there are certain elements present in a quality community, such as a sense of place, human scale, self-contained neighborhoods, diversity, transit-friendly design, trees, alleys and parking lots to the rear, humane architecture, outdoor rooms, and maintenance and safety. Through his editorial writing at The Pottstown Mercury as a journalist for 22 years and as a continuing contributor to this date, as well as grass roots work with several nonprofit organizations and local boards, Tom has been the catalyst for change for Pottstown Borough and Montgomery County for over 40 years.
Visit www.montcopa.org/MontgomeryAwards for more on the 2022 winners, the awards program, and previous award recipients. For more information on the awards program contact Rita McKelvey at email@example.com or (610) 278-3753.
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