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HLRA Maintains Status Quo

The newly created authority – which will oversee the redevelopment of Willow Grove air base – selected its officers, staff.

The name is virtually the same and the faces, for the most part, haven’t changed from the previous Horsham Land Reuse Authority

But, the brand-new Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority – which will eventually replace the nearly 7-year-old planning body formed to review and of the former – will take the subsequent steps to see that the plan is put into action. 

The so-called implementation authority held its first meeting Wednesday to select which of the would serve in which role.

As is the case with the original HLRA, W. William Whiteside, a Horsham Township councilman, will continue to serve as chair and Joanna Furia, a former Horsham Township councilwoman, will continue as vice chair. Horsham Township Manager Bill Walker will continue as secretary/treasurer. Walker does not serve on the board and receives no additional compensation for his HLRA duties, Whiteside told Patch previously.

In terms of paid staff, the HLRA’s existing Executive Director, , a former long-time Horsham Township manager will remain in that role, while Tom Ames continues as deputy director.

Horsham’s attorney, Mary Eberle, will remain, as will attorney George Schlossberg, who serves as Base Realignment and Closure special counsel. 

“George’s got the inside track,” McGee said of Schlossberg’s knowledge of economic development conveyances, key to the board’s desire to. “George is very well-versed in going through the procedure.”

Furia said Schlossberg’s services would be used “just in those spots where we need his expertise.”

Grants from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment have covered staff and consultant salaries for the original authority. Once the federal government “recognizes” the new implementation body, officials said those funds are expected to continue.

In the short-term, McGee said both HLRAs will continue to meet. The latter body is expected to meet through September, he said, at which time he believes the federal government would have had time to deem the new implementation board as the proper overseer of the development.

“After this board is recognized they will no longer have a job,” McGee said of the original authority, which Horsham Township Council created in 2005. From there, McGee said he would request that the township “dissolve” the board and transfer its existing leases – including a – to the new board.

Officials have said complete buildout could take 20 to 30 years. One of the early steps in that process, the , is underway, according to McGee. A consultant has been hired and "that has moved forward," he said. 

"I’m predicting an 18- to 24-month turnaround," McGee said.

To learn more

For the time being, both HLRA bodies will meet the third Wednesday of the month. The original board – the Horhsam Land Reuse Authority – will meet from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The implementation board, the Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority, will meet at 3:30 p.m. 

Bob July 19, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Doing nothing with the base might be cheaper than a build out of the base. The federal government should just yank out the runway and tear down any unused buildings and auction off the entire site. This project shouldn't exist to pad the wallets of some township officials.
Just Plain Dumb July 20, 2012 at 02:22 AM
These people should only have one main goal: To clean up all the hazardas waste like jet fuel that has saturated the ground and all the other carcinagens that are on that site. Then if they can convince someone dumb to build on it and someone dumber to buy it, then they have turned a neat little profit. Then they can shake their heads like they dont understand why all the people living there have high cancer rates, while they are counting their ill-gotten gains.
tom reese August 29, 2012 at 12:52 AM
They built Anns Choice on the grounds of the former NAWC.

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