Easton Road in Downtown Glenside features ornamental streetlights, hanging baskets, decorative sidewalk pavers, granite curbing, attractive crosswalks, benches and more thanks to a multi-year economic development effort undertaken by Cheltenham Township. Pedestrian-friendly streetscape enhancements are a proven strategy for attracting shoppers and compatible new shops and other businesses to support healthy commercial districts, a key component for economic development. A thriving business base, in turn, promotes a healthy community and reduces reliance on residential taxes. Many similar improvements earlier transformed Wesley Plaza into a perfect venue for special events like the annual WinterFest.
Over $3 million in state and county grants provided most of the funding for the multi-year project completed in 2011. Ultimately, the Township intends to renovate all five neighborhood commercial districts in the community, as funding become available.
EASTON ROAD ENHANCEMENTS WIN. Cheltenham Township Commissioner Harvey Portner (left) and Acting Township Manager Bryan T. Havir (second from left) accept a 2012 Montgomery Award for Excellence in Planning and Design for the township‘s Easton Road Streetscape Improvement Project. The enhancements, which include new paver block sidewalks, granite curbs, street furniture and trees, and way-finding signs, have revitalized the Easton Road corridor that runs through the heart of Downtown Glenside. The award is shared with project partners (left to right) John Gibbons, project landscape architect from Kise, Straw and Kolodner; Frank Eells, project engineer from Gannet-Fleming; Curt Shugars, construction inspector from Pennoni Associates; and Lynn Reynolds, planner for concept drawing and vision plan for the commercial district enhancement plan from Carter van Dyke Associates. The presentation was made during a November 2012 ceremony with Montgomery County commissioners at One Montgomery Plaza in Norristown.
Hit the Bricks!
Do you want to be immortalized in stone? Would you like to plant roots in the community that will grow for decades to come? You can make a lasting contribution through the new “Hit the Bricks!” program offered by Cheltenham Township Main Street.
As part of the Glenside commercial district economic development initiative, residents, business people and all other community-minded individuals can help make over Easton Road between Glenside Avenue and Waverly Road. For a donation of $100, you can have a three-line message engraved in a Coventry-style brick that will make up the new sidewalks. Your name and a two-line message would appear on a plaque on an attractive new bench for a $500 donation. For $700, a plaque with a two-line message would appear on a new street tree planted along Easton Road. Bricks are plentiful, but only a limited number of benches and trees are available.
Cheltenham Township recently completed a similar streetscape enhancement project that transformed Wesley Plaza, located off Easton Road, into a beautiful venue for special events. The next phase continues many improvements, including decorative streetlights with hanging flower baskets or banners, down Easton Road. The township has secured grants to fund the majority of the projects, but additional money is still needed to complete the streetscape enhancements envisioned in the township’s Commercial District Enhancement Plan.
Order forms for the “Hit the Bricks!” program are available from the Cheltenham Township Asst. Township Manager at 215-887-6200, ext. 112 and online.