Route 611 in Horsham Township could be on its way to revitalization.
State Rep. Todd Stephens (R-151) of Horsham, announced this week that the state Department of Community and Economic Development will investigate programs to help Horsham Township revitalize the Route 611 corridor through Horsham and to reuse the former Dow Chemical property in Lower Gwynedd Township.
U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R-7) will explore federal programs and transportation funds that could be used to revitalize these areas, according to a press release issued by Stephen's office. Meehan serves on the House Transportation Committee.
“This is a critical step forward in revitalizing an outdated roadway,” Stephens said of the 611 project. “Route 611, heading north from the turnpike, is the gateway to Horsham and relieving traffic congestion and beautifying the area is vital to drawing top-notch users to the former Naval Air Station site."
The Dow Chemical site "presents a terrific opportunity" because of its closeness to Route 309, he said.
“I want to ensure the state officials responsible for bringing businesses and jobs to the Commonwealth know about this jewel in Lower Gwynedd Township,” Stephens said in the release.
Dow recently announced it was leaving its 727 Norristown Road headquarters and taking more than 800 jobs with it.
Stephens’ announcement came after he and local officials hosted C. Alan Walker, secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, and Meehan for an extensive tour of Horsham’s 611 corridor and the former Willow Grove air base.
Stephens also introduced Walker to Horsham Township Council member and Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority member W. William Whiteside, who discussed the need for revitalization along Route 611, and Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Mike McGee, who discussed the base reuse plans and procedures.
Stephens and Walker capped off the visit by meeting with members of the Lower Gwynedd Township Board of Commissioners, Manager Larry Comunale and Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery), who shared their concerns for finding a new tenant for the Dow site.
“The Route 611 corridor has tremendous economic potential. To take advantage of these opportunities, its infrastructure must be safe, modern and efficient,” said Rep. Meehan in the release. “Traffic congestion can strangle a local economy, making it difficult for commuters to travel to work and increasing costs for businesses shipping their products.”
The mission of the Department of Community and Economic Development is to foster opportunities for businesses to grow and for communities to succeed and thrive in a global economy. It’s also to improve the quality of life for Pennsylvania citizens while assuring transparency and accountability in the expenditure of public funds.
“These communities have so much to offer from access to transportation to a highly educated workforce – we need to be sure that businesses looking to come to Pennsylvania know about these terrific opportunities,” Stephens said.