THE RENAISSANCE PLAN FOR THE CENTRAL COMMERCIAL DISTRICT OF PENNDEL A VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF PENNDEL
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For the past 5+ years, Penndel has been involved in a process to revitalize the business district. The Borough Council continues to recognize that the future economic health of our borough depends on the development of our business district. The County, State and Federal governments, recognizing our strategic location regarding access to public tranportation and highways, have provided grants to enable the borough to do the necessary studies and planning that must precede any large scale development.
Using grant money, we hired consultants to assist us in the development of a comprehensive plan, a revitalization plan, a set of design guidelines, and draft of a Transit Overlay District (TOD). We conducted a Transportation Incentive Development Initiative ( TCDI ) program surveying our business district, doing the planning and preliminary engineering for improvements in the central business district.
All of this activity and planning has attracted the attention of developers and investors as well as new businesses who see the potential in Penndel, particularly because of our location and all the preliminary work accomplished.
One of the last pieces of the planning puzzle was to develop a “Vision” plan for Penndel. The purpose of this initiative was to produce a clear picture of what the downtown district of Penndel could look like and what we as a borough want to provide for future generations. Without such a vision developers and new businesses can bring their own visions for the property they control. These plans may conflict with, or fail to coordinate with the needs and desires of the community.
A fully developed Vision Plan relieves the borough of the need to review each development submission in isolation. Instead, builders and developers will know in advance what is expected and can do their planning to better conform to the overall vision and speed up the approval processes.
The long range goal is to develop public/private partnerships to assist investors in the development of land assembly, infrastructure, mix of uses, open space, parking, landscaping, building types and the many other factors that must be considered by anyone desiring to build in our business district. We as a borough want to do whatever we can to reflect and encourage strong design, good materials and sound construction. The final result will be development we can be proud of and will be beneficial for the economic health of Penndel Borough.
In order to develop our Vision Plan, Council commissioned Miller Design Group, led by Brian Miller, to work with the Renaissance Task Force. The RTF was formed to develop a plan that constitutes a clear statement of intention for the future composition and function of the Borough’s commercial core.
There were several public meetings and Renaissance Task Force meetings to continue the process. Miller Design Group was assisted by special consultants and technical experts. Brian Miller and the RTF worked closely with our neighboring municipalities, Langhorne Manor Borough, Hulmeville Borough, and Middletown Township. Property and business owners in Penndel, as well as civic organizations in our community and the region. All were kept informed and encouraged to respond with comments and ideas.
A major component was community participation through public meetings as the project continued. It will be the responsibility of the Borough Council, assisted by the Renaissance Task Force, to carry out the vision plan in the years ahead and set in motion a grant submission effort to tap into new funding sources and programs for developing public-private partnerships that encourage private investment to assist in implementing the plan.
There are a number of materials available in Borough Hall for residents learn more about the various communities that were involved in such projects. If you have questions contact Barbara Heffelfinger.