Urban Partners served as economic subconsultant on a team retained by the Abington Township Economic Development Committee to examine five neighborhood-based commercial districts. he consultant team worked closely with the Committee and with the business and residential communities to assess the character of each district and to develop district profiles and design guidelines which would help establish a regional niche for the districts in accordance with existing and desired new uses. The districts themselves are quite diverse and include
an institutional/ governmental center, several neighborhood serving retail areas as well as an active industrial zone.
Developing guidelines required the analysis of existing land use and streetscape conditions, transportation patterns and parking availability, existing economic conditions and the
public concerns voiced. The guidelines presented architectural, urban design and streetscape improvements
appropriate for each district, estimated costs for recommended improvements and suggested an implementation strategy assigning responsibility for strategy elements to specific public and private interests. A phased
improvement schedule was developed identifying funding
sources, potential financing programs and partnership
arrangements which could be used for implementation.
Since our work, Abington Township has implemented
many of the plans’ recommendations. In the Keswick District
— one of the Township’s primary commercial areas
– major streetscape and roadway improvements, including a traffic-calming rotary, have been developed. A local financial institution created a low interest loan pool for area businesses which has been used by numerous area merchants to make facade and canopy improvements to their properties.
Recruitment efforts have resulted in several new businesses entering the commercial district. Urban Partners has recently been retained to update our market conditions analysis to support planning work focusing on the provision of more
efficient parking to serve the Keswick district’s growing consumer demand.