The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution on Thursday, June 7, that will bring over $1.2 million to Norristown.
The grants come as part of a county-wide community revitalization program that will provide seven municipalities with roughly $2.1 million for enhancement of public facilities.
According to the resolution, Norristown will receive $200,000 to rehab the old Bell Telephone building into an arts venue, $231,000 for the DeKalb Street portion of the Arts Hill streetscape, $270,000 for the parking lot expansion and $500,000 for the Studio Centre streetscape.
Montgomery County Planning Section Chief Brian O’Leary said that each town in the program submits its own plan to the county for municipal improvement.
“Each town does a plan and list projects they are planning to do over time,” he said.
The commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of passing most of the grants in the resolution, with Commissioner Bruce Castor submitting most of the nay votes. Castor voted for only one of the 11 proposed improvements. He said his vote was motivated by financial concerns.
“[Our financial situation] has us with low cash reserves and higher debt,” he said. “I think these are good projects and good ideas, but I think we should delay them for a year, maybe two years, until the county recovers financially and then fund them. I don’t have any objection to these projects, I just think we should delay them.”
Castor voted against all projects except a the proposed funding of the Studio Centre streetscape project in Norristown, saying that the program's basis of funding was a loan, not a grant and that the county would recoup money on the project.
The next commissioners' meeting is scheduled for July 20.
The commissioners approved the following grants as part of the community revitalization program:Municipality Project Grant Amount Conshohocken Wayfinding signage $19,320 Cheltenham Pedestrian-oriented streetlights $237,148 Hatboro Wayfinding signage $40,000 Jekintown Hiway Theatre neon tower project $18,000 Lower Merion Commercial facade program $80,000 Norristown Bell Telephone Building arts venue $200,000 Norristown Dekalb Street Arts Hil streetscape $231,000 Norristown Elmwood Park Zoo parking expansion $270,000 Royersford Main Street streetscape enhancement $324,000 Norristown
Studio Centre streetscape
Schwenksville Perkiomen Trail corridor parking project $183,000