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HLRA May Pick Air Base Consultant Next Month

The Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority anticipates appointing a consultant in January to lead the next redevelopment phase for Willow Grove air base.

The Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority expects choose a consultant in January to lead the next phase of acquiring - and over the next two or three decades - redeveloping the bulk of Willow Grove air base

A consultant will likely be appointed from the two submissions received in October related to devising a business plan and pro forma. That process is expected to take about 10 months and is a necessary part of obtaining the land as part of an economic development conveyance. HLRA Executive Director Mike McGee explained it previously as a way to acquire the land on "layaway" of sorts.

HLRA Chairman W. William Whiteside and Vice Chairwoman Joanna Furia have interviewed both of the professional firms, Matrix Design Group and Weston Solutions/RKG Associates, Inc., according to McGee. But, McGee said each firm would be providing additional information.

"It is a whole lot of information to digest," McGee said. 

Still, McGee said he anticipates a recommendation from Whiteside and Furia in time for the board's Jan. 16 meeting. From there, contracts would be executed sometime in January.

"We need to keep the process moving," McGee said, adding that the Navy's two-year-long environmental impact statement would need to be completed before land transfer could occur. "We’re still at the mercy in terms of timing of waiting for the EIS to be complete."

McGee said the HLRA is expected to have its application and studies completed prior to the EIS process, which is expected to conclude in winter 2014.

Prior to the current and impending phase of the air base's future, RKG served as the HLRA’s lead consultant during the most pivotal phase of the 862-acre redevelopment plan, which included countless public meetings and presentations ultimately leading the board to advance plans without an airport. Based on the uses the board approved last year, RKG also plotted what would go where on the  and submitted to the federal government.

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