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The Borough’s Plans for the Revitalization of Collegeville’s Business District

 Why Revitalize Collegeville’s Business District?

Commercial revitalization benefits all residents.  The opening of new retail, restaurants and other enterprises desired by the community creates new economic activity that increases property values, which positively impacts and increases municipal revenues. Economic growth creates vibrant downtowns, which improves the quality of life for residents.

The Revitalization Process

Revitalization is a proactive process that requires input from the entire Collegeville community.  Residents, businesses and building owners and Ursinus faculty, staff and students will be asked questions to find out their views, what types of businesses they want, and where they want them. The Collegeville community will be invited to participate in surveys, data collection, and town hall meetings.  Their views will help to form an action plan to revitalize the Borough. The plan will take into account our history, who we are now, and our aspirations for the future.

What are the Steps to Revitalize our Business District?

Work was started years ago by the Collegeville Economic Development Corporation.  But the pace increased in 2018 when the initiative had the backing of the new Council members and Ursinus College.  That year the Council formed the Borough’s Business Development Committee (BDC), and the group adopted the 2010 Collegeville Revitalization Plan https://www.montcopa.org/DocumentCenter/View/2143/Collegeville_Revitalization_Plan as its roadmap.  They also surveyed current commercial building and business owners and Collegeville residents and students.  Township and borough and other officials from Phoenixville, Royersford, Pottstown and other towns shared their best practices and mistakes.  The group spent over a year learning about the many aspects of development, zoning, walkability, adequate parking and what attracts businesses to a town.


Who is Leading This Initiative?

The groups leading the Revitalization Process are:

  • The Borough Business Development Committee:  Made up of Council members, the Mayor, representatives of Ursinus College and residents and business owners of Collegeville Borough,  the committee meets the 4th Monday of each month at Borough Hall at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to join the committee and/or attend.
  • Ursinus College:  The Collegeville Revitalization initiative was also made possible by a matching grant from Ursinus College in a collaborative community partnership.
  • Montgomery County Planning Commission:  The Montgomery County Planning Commission (MCPC) was engaged in January, 2020 to tap into their vast experience in helping communities with the revitalization process.  The MCPC will lead the groups in creating a 2020 Collegeville Revitalization plan and to align and update the borough’s zoning and codes to incentivize new development.  Montco Planning will also align Collegeville’s plans with those of the County and will assist us in obtaining grant funding for projects.
  • Collegeville Borough Residents, Building and Business Owners, and the Ursinus Community:  The process will require input from as many borough residents and stakeholders as possible!

Preliminary Goals of the Revitalization

  • Repurpose the 400 block of E. Main St. to become a more vibrant commercial and residential district.
  • Convert Ursinus College residential properties to Main Street Commercial uses in that block.
  • Tie in the 400 block of Main St. with the 200 and 300 blocks and the Ursinus College campus to create a more dynamic Main Street and college town for both residents and students.

Concept Drawings for buildings on the 400 block of E. Main St.

What Has Happened So Far?

  • The Borough entered into a three-year contract to acquire the services and expertise of the Montgomery County Planning Commission.
  • Borough Third Ave. Sidewalk Grant Received: The Borough received a $95,000 grant to create a sidewalk on one side of W. Third Ave. to create safe access from Main St. to Collegeville Community Park.  Work is slated to start on the sidewalk this year.
  • Ursinus College Sidewalk Grant Received:  Ursinus College received a Multi-Modal grant in the amount of $670,000 for the replacement of curbs, sidewalk and ADA ramps in front of their campus from 5th Avenue to 6th Avenues.
  • New Park Being Designed:  Started planning and designing a new park along the Perkiomen Creek:  In partnership with the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, Collegeville Borough is designing a new water access park along the Perkiomen Creek at the end of W. First Ave.  The park will have a boat ramp to for access to the creek for canoe, kayaks, paddle boards and fishing.  A $100,000 Montco 2040 Grant Program application was submitted this year in the hopes of funding the improvements for the project.  Additionally, the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy has received a $40,000 grant to restore the existing boat ramp for the park.

Taking Out the Trash in Eastern PA: Perkiomen Creek Sojourn: The ...

  • Commercial Fire-Safety Inspections Being Conducted:  Collegeville Borough is inspecting all commercial and industrial properties for fire-safety code compliance.  The inspections will ensure that Collegeville Borough Business properties will be well maintained.
  • Ursinus College is working on the completion of the Schellhase Commons at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Main St. The Wi-Fi café with Starbucks coffee and bookstore will be the first new “campus community” businesses which will offer amenities to both residents and students.

What Sorts of Revitalization Returns can Residents Expect?

Vibrant downtowns and new commercial investments increase property values and new job growth.  Indirectly, the increased number of visitors and employees spend their money in Collegeville businesses creating a replenishing economic cycle.

New economic activity will increase the following:

  • Real Estate Values – Desirable living and business locations have higher property values
  • Real Estate Transfer Taxes – new sales of properties generate 1% transfer tax
  • Local Services Taxes – $52 annual fee for each employee in Collegeville Borough
  • Earned Income Taxes – Desirable towns attract new residents
  • Fee and permits – new construction increases fee and permit revenues
  • Grant Awards – well organized and planned communities attract grant awards

Questions or Comments?

Contact Cathy Kernen, head of the Borough Business Development Committee, at ckernen@council.collegeville-pa.gov or 610 409 0370.

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