10,000 Friends: Gov. Ridge, Norristown Project Win Smart Growth Awards

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. 

The group also awarded the Mark C. Schneider Memorial Friend of Pennsylvania Award to former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge in recognition of his lifetime of service and visionary land use and environmental policies during his tenure as Governor.

Norristown Project

The Norristown Project, 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.

Gov. Ridge

Among the landmark achievements of Gov. Ridge's gubernatorial administration were the creation of the 21st Century Environment Commission, the Interagency Land Use Team, the Growing Greener initiative and numerous departmental initiatives to preserve open space and green space, promote sound land use, and reinvest programmatically in existing communities.

As his administration advanced environmental and "green" initiatives before they were commonplace and commonly accepted, please join us in honoring the leadership, vision, commitment, and dedication

Gov. Ridge has shown through a lifetime of service in government, as an elected official, and in the private sector to the cause of protecting and preserving Pennsylvania's natural resources, promoting responsible land use, and revitalizing our existing communities.

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.

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.

For more information, visit the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania website.


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