In the space of 45 minutes, the 7-year-old Horsham Land Reuse Authority was dissolved, the newly chosen Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority was dubbed sole authority and wheels were put in motion to begin the next redevelopment phase for Willow Grove air base.
During a pair of meetings Wednesday afternoon, both HLRAs approved the transfer of assets and obligations - including $340,000 in debt - to the new board, which will oversee the implementation of the reuse plan that the original HLRA adopted in March.
The first board’s dissolution stemmed from the Office of Economic Adjustment’s recent designation of the Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority as the implementation authority.
“OEA recognized this authority as the single voice," said Mike McGee, who serves as executive director for both HLRA boards. “We are in the process of having the grant transferred from one authority to the other and liabilities.”
The federal government provides a 90 percent grant – which is reimbursed quarterly as monies are spent - to cover costs associated with military base redevelopments.
That grant will continue under the new HLRA, McGee said, adding that federal funds will also cover the bulk of the next phase leading to the eventual redevelopment of 862 acres of the former NASJRB Willow Grove.
Once the Horsham Land Reuse Authority was voluntarily terminated, the Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved a resolution to solicit proposals for a professional firm to lead the board in devising a business plan and pro forma.
Firms will have until Oct. 17 to submit questions, with final proposals due on Oct. 22. The plan, McGee said, is to award the contract in November.
According to McGee, the firm’s study will encompass everything from traffic, water and sewer, stormwater management and other factors analyzed in large-scale developments. Ultimately the point is to “prove” the board approved a viable mixed-use plan through completion of a “good business plan,” he said.
“The plan says we want to be the owner, we want to be the implementation LRA,” McGee said. “This is an all-encompassing scope of work … It fills in the vision. All the particulars, all the concerns … exactly how much will it cost for various things.”
McGee said he expects the firm’s work to take at least a year to complete. The finalized business plan and pro forma will be used in conjunction with the board’s economic development conveyance application to the federal government. Officials have said that the hope is for the HLRA to acquire the property and serve as master developer.
A land deal with the government is not likely prior to 2015, McGee said.
In other business, McGee said four requests made several months ago by the Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association are still under review. McGee said the Navy will not approve the requests, which include a fence line extension and relocation of an aircraft, without a license agreement.
"What seemingly is a relatively minor thing is what has been our experience for the last 12 years, it seems to require a lot of time and input," McGee said.