The Greater Norristown Corporation doesn’t just bring influential members of the community together to share information, but also supports other organizations and participates in other community projects that could ultimately influence Norristown. Below are a few of the projects that we are currently involved with.
Lafayette Street Corridor Project
The Lafayette Street Extension Project is an effort to improve highway access and mobility into downtown Norristown and Plymouth Township. This three-phase project includes redeveloping and extending Lafayette Street, and will also include the development of a Pennsylvania Turnpike slip ramp. Greater Norristown Corporation has fascilitated a number of meetings throughout the planning phases, have helped to keep local businesses and residents abreast of the updates to ensure they’re aware of the impact and opportunities that will be generated through this project, and also helped to push for the PA Turnpike slip ramp after it initially seemed as though this final phase might not be completed. This project is being headed by the Montgomery County Planning Commission in association with PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). As of Fall 2017, Montgomery County has essentially completed the extension from Ford Street to Conshohocken Road, and has started work on rebuilding the existing street. In addition, the Turnpike Commission has approved the expenditure to construct a 4-way slip ramp system to complete the connection with Lafayette Street. GNC has been acknowledged to have been the primary private sector advocate for this project, which will be completed by 2023. GNC continues to provide informational updates to interested concerns in Norristown and Plymouth Township.
Relocation of Montgomery Hospital
In September 2012, Montgomery Hospital permanently closed and was replaced by Einstein Hospital on Germantown Pike in East Norriston. As part of the acquisition of Montgomery Hospital, Einstein is responsible for managing the reuse of the site, as this could be a valuable and useful property. Many citizens fought the relocation of the local hospital to East Norriton. However, at this point, it would be difficult to argue that the new facility has not become a major asset to the region. GNC members attended numerous meetings with a hospital relocation committee comprised of representatives from Einstein, Municipal, County, State and Federal governments. Einstein has kept considerable care facilities in the medical office condominium building across the street from the site of the hospital. In addition – and of great importance – GNC succeeded in having Einstein commit to tearing down the old building, thereby preventing a hazardous eyesore from becoming a blight on the area. The sizeable contributions of Einstein and the developer should be acknowledged. The site is now being re-developed for much needed affordable senior housing.
Norristown Transportation Center
Norristown was in competition with other areas for SEPTA to fund the construction of a parking garage. GNC succeeded in persuading them to build in Norristown rather than an alternative location in Willow Grove. Additionally, GNC was influential in SEPTA utilizing a much more attractive brick facade rather than their original design. This garage helps make the Norristown Transportation Center a unique multi-modal hub in the entire Philadelphia region.
Montgomery County Parking Garages
GNC initiated a parking study to determine need in the downtown area. This study identified the location at Main and Cherry Streets as an important site for structured parking along that portion of Main Street. GNC was instrumental in securing the grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the construction of the existing garage during the Rendell administration. GNC was instrumental in acquiring the real estate of the former Valley Forge Hotel and New York Store across from the County Court House. Once acquired, these parcels were transferred to the County of Montgomery for the construction of the existing parking garage, which remains heavily utilized to this day.
Norristown Arts Hill
The Norristown Arts Council is an organization that established and oversees Norristown Arts Hill, an arts district in downtown Norristown. With Centre Theater, Theatre Horizon, and other “creative businesses” already established on The Hill, they are working towards attracting additional similar businesses to vacant buildings in the area and draw attention to Norristown. Establishing an arts district can be paramount to successful revitalization projects in towns such as Norristown, and we support their efforts in many ways, such as twice sponsoring the annual “Reception on The Hill” in support of the Norristown Arts Hill Festival.
Reconfiguration of Auto Zone
A portion of the site of the former Woolworth’s store on Main Street was proposed for a free-standing auto parts store. This site, in the center of the downtown area, was deemed by GNC to be critical to the development of the area. The original plan for the site, which met the zoning requirements, called for the building to be set back from the sidewalk along Main Street. GNC felt this configuration was not appropriate to a downtown location. Our private sector advocacy succeeded in having the plan revised to construct the building at its present location along the sidewalk. This design maintains the proper urban, downtown look and feel of the site.