Hylton, area projects, recognized with Montgomery awards | Trending

When the Montgomery County Planning Commission presented its annual Montgomery Awards this year, two area projects and one well-known advocate were recognized.

This annual program promotes awareness of exceptional design and innovative planning in our communities by awarding successful land developments, revitalization efforts, open space improvements, environmental sustainability and transportation improvements.

It also recognizes citizens and organizations that have made significant and sustained contributions to planning in Montgomery County through a Planning Advocate Award. The Environmental Stewardship Award, presented in partnership with the Montgomery County Conservation District, recognizes projects that exemplify environmental stewardship practices and water and soil quality conservation. Since 1967, the program has presented 233 awards that recognize the outstanding efforts and commitment of communities, organizations and professionals to achieve excellence.

Thomas Hylton

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and activist Thomas J. Hylton received the 2022 Planning Advocate Award for his lifelong advocacy of promoting good planning and design through historic preservation, land conservation, and communities habitable and passable.

Hylton, who has served on the Pottstown Planning Commission, was the longtime chair of the Shade Tree Commission and is now a member of the Pottstown School Board, grew up in a small town and was able walk to school Since then, Hylton knew it was important to be able to live in a vibrant, walkable community and has “lived all of my 74 years in traditional Pennsylvania towns and villages,” he said in the video made for the awards presentation.

Hylton, author of the book “Save Our Land, Save Our Cities,” recognized that there are certain elements present in a quality community, such as a sense of place, human scale, self-contained neighborhoods, diversity, traffic-friendly design, trees, back alleys and parking lots, human architecture, outdoor rooms, and maintenance and security.

Landscape planner Peter Simone, who said he had worked with Hylton for the past 25 years, said Hylton “always amazes me with his determination and persistence with what he does, and also how he convinces people that their ideas are theirs. ideas and so they buy them and things happen.”

Among Hylton’s many accomplishments is the planting of 1,300 street trees, which are now maintained and replaced by his nonprofit, Trees Inc., which has since planted another 2,800 new and replacement trees. In April, Governor Tom Wolf named Trees Inc. as one of the 15 winners of the 2022 State Environmental Excellence Awards.

Three people in front of a fireplace, one with a prize.
Thomas Hylton, center, holds his Planning Advocate Award from the Montgomery County Planning Commission. He was accompanied by his wife Frances, left, and Pottstown School Board President Katina Bearden, right. (Courtesy of John Armato)

He also helped found the Old Pottstown Preservation Society, which secured National Register Historic District designations in Pottstown and helped preserve many of the district’s most historic buildings.

While with The Mercury, Hylton won a Pulitzer Prize in the category of editorial writing in 1990 for a series of editorials supporting a $50 million bond referendum to preserve farmland and open space, which was passed overwhelming After winning the award and writing his book, Hylton ended up giving about 450 lectures throughout Pennsylvania and the country about historic preservation and the importance of saving our towns and fields.

“His influence, it really goes beyond Pottstown and across the state and parts of the country,” Simone said.

Through its editorial writing a The Mercury As a reporter for 22 years and a continuing contributor to this date, as well as grassroots work with various nonprofits and local boards, Tom has been a catalyst for change for Pottstown Borough and Montgomery County for more than 40 years, according to a news release from the Montgomery County Planning Commission.

The Willows

The Willows at East Greenville received a 2022 Montgomery Award for Housing Equity, Adaptive Reuse and Historic Preservation and Community Collaboration.

“This outstanding project created 71 high-quality units of mixed-income rental housing in East Greenville Borough and transformed a blighted building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, into an attractive and affordable place to live,” according to the press release. .

Per National Park Service guidelines, this project features exposed beams and walls, more than 500 new windows specially designed to fit existing openings, and retrofitted fire doors. Recognizing the need for affordable housing, the township and developers worked together to change the zoning to allow residential use for this project, which provides much-needed housing for dozens of Montgomery County families and contributes to the vibrancy of East Greenville Borough.

Removal of dams, restoration of streams

The Perkiomen Creek Dam Removal and Stream Restoration Project received the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award for the removal of outdated dams, resulting stream restorations and an extensive collaborative process with many community partners.

This effort resulted in improved water quality, improved habitat biodiversity, and restoration of stream channels. With a total project cost of $275,000 and supported by community partners, this project, which involved the removal of two dams and subsequent stream restorations, will improve water quality for the region, the aquatic habitat of these two branches of Perkiomen Creek and for Green Lane Park, an important recreation area.

Other projects receiving awards were Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing in Lower Merion Township; Whites Road Park Accessible Playground, a park owned by Lansdale located in Upper Gwynedd Township; and The Grove at Meadowood in Worcester Township.

“These award-winning projects demonstrate how vision and collaboration lead to the creation of exceptional places in Montgomery County,” said Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chairwoman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “These projects are excellent models of transformation and sustainability. All of our winners touch on the goals and themes of connected communities, sustainable places and vibrant economy contained in Montco 2040: A Shared Vision, the Comprehensive Plan for Montgomery County.”

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