Springfield Township: open space, roads, traffic and community events take top billing at May BOC meetings

by Betsy Wallace
Posted 5/19/22

Board of Commissioners

All seven commissioners attended the May workshop meeting (Board President Eddie Graham and Commissioner Michael Maxwell participated virtually). Graham and Commissioner …

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Springfield Township: open space, roads, traffic and community events take top billing at May BOC meetings


Board of Commissioners

All seven commissioners attended the May workshop meeting (Board President Eddie Graham and Commissioner Michael Maxwell participated virtually). Graham and Commissioner Jonathan Cobb were absent from the business meeting.

Traffic & Roads

One of the first items up for discussion at both BOC meetings was PennDot’s plans to make substantial changes to the roadway on Bethlehem Pike from Stenton Avenue to Sunnybrook Road. PennDOT plans to convert Bethlehem Pike from a four-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway with a two-way, center-left turn lane. The agency also will modify traffic signal phasing & timing, and upgrade traffic signal equipment. PennDOT will host a public information meeting about the plan at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 26.  

The Board also discussed the traffic situation on Traymore Avenue from Willow Grove Avenue. Over the last month, the Police Department monitored traffic in that area due to residents’ concerns about parking and traffic issues.

“There’s lots of speeding there and the cars on Willow Grove near Traymore ignore the signs in the middle of the street that require drivers to stop for pedestrians,” resident Alexandra Klinger said at the workshop meeting. Delivery trucks and cars making “quick stops” to shop at one the businesses there make for congestion at the corner of Willow Grove and Traymore. And there are complaints about parking problems around the Veterans Park ball field when there’s a game.

Traffic Safety Division Sgt. Hart, who conducted the monitoring and met with neighbors, made recommendations including using a mobile radar unit to discourage speeding drivers, cautioning parents to be mindful of neighbors when parking and driving near the Veterans Park baseball field, advising delivery trucks and customers be to be mindful of where they park, and painting additional hash marks to delineate parking areas. 

Open Space

At the May Business meeting, the Board unanimously approved hiring a consultant to pull together the bid solicitation and to oversee building abatement and demolition activities at 1725 Walnut Lane in Oreland, also known as the “Tank Care Site,” an abandoned industrial site that was a service center for railroad tank cars. The Township acquired the property in 2015 for the eventual redevelopment of the site into a public park. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Brownfields Grant Program dealt with remediating contaminated soil on the property. Now, the township is ready to get rid of the contaminated buildings on the site. The township has secured a Community Development Block Grant that will cover the costs for the project.

An Oreland resident who lives across the street from the Tank Car Site asked that the Township or the contractor pay for power-washing the homes of nearby neighbors once the new project is done. He said that the federal government paid for power washing the nearby houses covered in dust caused by the Brownfields remediation project.

Also at its May workshop meeting, the Commissioners heard public comment from five Township residents supporting Township’s acquisition of all or part of the property at 380-402 Haws Lane (also known as “Harston Woods”) by eminent domain for the purpose of preserving it as open space. The current owner, Brian Halligan, has made several development proposals in the last two years, his last one being the construction of an in-patient mental health rehab facility, which the neighborhood doesn’t want. Haws Lane neighbors and other interested township residents created a nonprofit called Springfield Open Space, to work with the township on its comprehensive plan with regards to open space and to advocate for keeping Harston Woods as a wooded park.

Alex Klinger, the executive director of Springfield Open Space, thanked the Commissioners for entertaining the possibility of acquiring the land because “Harston Woods is such a beautiful gift.”  She told the board that Springfield Open Space can apply for grants and receive tax deductible donations to help maintain the land and can organize volunteers to take care of the property until the township constructs the park. As for ongoing open space maintenance funding, Klinger talked about Whitpain Township’s referendum to raise its earned income tax by .06%, so that it can dedicate part of the revenue to maintaining their open spaces. Commissioner Baird Standish’s reaction to the referendum was “when you put something on the ballot, if you lose, it’s not appealable. You have to be careful.” 

The Board’s primary concerns are the cost of acquiring the 4.7-acre site, avoiding a tax increase and the possible impact on other open space projects such as finishing the trail system. 

Township Recreation Center 

According to township manager Michael Taylor, the Parks and Recreation Department is receiving a lot of requests to use the township recreation center (the former Seven Dolors Church and gym on Willow Grove Avenue in Wyndmoor) for various events. Taylor suggested conducting a feasibility study to assess what the Township needs and the cost of turning the recreation center into a gym or demolishing the current buildings and constructing a new building.

The board agreed with the need for a feasibility study. In the meantime, it approved limiting event rentals to township residents, community sports organizations with at least 75% township residents, township-based civic, nonprofit, or political organizations, and federal, state and county and local elected officials. 

Township Events

Land development workshop for Springfield Township residents

The township is sponsoring a free workshop for Springfield Township residents on the land development process. Participants will learn about the roles and responsibilities of the Springfield Township Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, and Board of Commissioners. Steven Wiesner and Larry Comunale, two professionals experienced in municipal governance and land development, will lead the presentation.

Saturday, May 21, 9 a.m. to noon, Township Administration Building, 5510 Papermill Road, Wyndmoor. Workshop has a 50-person limit. Register at springfieldmontco.org

Native plant sale

The Township’s Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) hosts a sale of wild native plants. The committee is selling at cost and nothing would make them happier than seeing all of the plants taken by the end of the event. 

Saturday, May 21, noon to 2 p.m., Springfield Township Free Library, 8900 Hawthorne Lane, Wyndmoor.

PennDOT hosts open house on Bethlehem Pike safety

Officials will lead a discussion about making Bethlehem Pike safer for drivers and pedestrians. The event will be held in person and on Zoom, and will be recorded for viewing at a later date.

Thursday, May 26, 7:00 p.m.,  Township Building, 5510 Paper Mill Rd., Wyndmoor. To access via Zoom, visit the township website at springfieldmontco.org

The Memorial Day Parade and Community Day are back

The Arthur V. Savage, Post 100, of the American Legion, sponsors the Wyndmoor  Memorial Day Parade that honors veterans. This year, the fully-outdoor event includes a parade down Willow Grove Avenue and memorial services at Veterans Park. Community Day immediately follows with music, kid's rides and entertainment, free hot dogs, beer, and soda. Food and music will be available to Legion members at the post headquarters. 

Monday, May 30. Parade starts  at 9:30 a.m., Elm and Willow Grove Avenues. Community Day follows, noon to 3 p.m., Veterans Park, lower ball field.