Norristown Project Wins Gold Commonwealth Award for Smart Growth

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Former Governor Tom Ridge and 10,000 Friends President Jack Machek present Arbor Heights with its Gold Commonwealth Award at 10,000 Friends’ recent event.
From left to right:  former Governor Tom Ridge, Progressive Housing CEO Sarah Peck, Norristown Director of Planning Jayne Musoyne, and 10,000 Friends President Jack Machek

Harrisburg–10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the state’s leading Smart Growth advocacy organization, recognized Arbor Heights in Norristown as an exemplary “smart growth” residential development in Pennsylvania at its annual Commonwealth Awards ceremony.  Developed by Progressive Housing Ventures LLC, Arbor Heights is a new mixed income, multi-family community that is helping to revitalize the historic DeKalb Avenue corridor in Norristown.

A superb example of infill redevelopment, Arbor Heights replaced two blighted buildings with affordably priced, stacked townhomes that are having a catalytic impact on the revitalization of the immediate neighborhood.  With close proximity to public transportation, Arbor Heights is a pedestrian-friendly development that utilized energy efficient building techniques and attractive architecture that blended seamlessly into the historic streetscape. The project promoted first time homeownership for qualified homebuyers, made attainable by an attractive package of private and public financing.

Sarah Peck, President of Progressive Housing Ventures, was on hand to receive the award along with Norristown’s Director of Planning, Jayne Musoyne, who had spent over five years planning the project. Musoyne represented Norristown Municipal Council and Council president Gary Simpson at the ceremony.  In addition to support from the municipality, the project was made possible through collaborative funding by the Montgomery County Commissioners, the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and HUD.

10,000 Friends also awarded thirteen additional projects from across the state with its prestigious Commonwealth Award for a range of innovative developments embodying smart growth principles. An audience of developers, architects, land use planners, municipal and state officials participated in the event, which included the presentation of the Mark C. Schneider Memorial Friend of Pennsylvania Award to former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridgein recognition of his lifetime of service and visionary land use and environmental policies during his tenure as Governor.

Jack Machek, President and CEO of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, noted, “Smart Growth strategies build suburban, urban, and rural communities with more transportation options, housing and recreational choices, as well as proximity to jobs, shopping, and schools while protecting green space, clean air, and clean water.  It is encouraging to see so many smart growth projects succeeding as many sectors of the construction industry continue to rebound from the recession. 10,000 Friends is proud to showcase the companies and organizations like Progressive Housing Ventures working to build stronger towns and communities across the state.”

The Commonwealth Awards is a juried statewide annual recognition event. 10,000 Friends received submissions from a multitude of companies and organizations that have produced a wide range of project types—urban infill, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, brownfield redevelopment, mixed use, traditional neighborhood development, commercial, farmland preservation, public space and infrastructure, community institution, and revitalization planning. Those judged most exemplary were selected by the jury for Commonwealth Awards.

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10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is the leading statewide and regional advocated for creating great communities and the recognized authority on responsible land use.  Our vision is to have a positive impact on the built and natural environments through responsible and efficient land use.  Founded in 1998, our work improves the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians—we build and support coalitions of citizens, public officials, and organizations to create land use, infrastructure, and development policies, practices, and projects that strengthen our economy, conserve land, save money, promote public health, and reinvest in our diverse cities, towns, older suburbs, and rural communities.

Jack M. Machek

President & CEO
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania
240 North Third Street, Suite 407
Harrisburg, PA 17101
office: (717) 234-6070
fax:    (717) 234-6075
jmachek@10000friends.org