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Signs Point to Willow Grove

The township hopes to install wayfinding signs to direct people to the downtown shopping area and more.

A conceptual sign guiding motorists to Willow Grove as presented in a wayfinding sign study. Courtesy: Cloud Geshan Associates
A conceptual sign guiding motorists to Willow Grove as presented in a wayfinding sign study. Courtesy: Cloud Geshan Associates

Where is Willow Grove? 

Strictly from a map standpoint, the community encompasses part of Upper Moreland, Abington and Upper Dublin townships, as well as a portion of Huntingdon Valley. 

“There’s just a broad umbrella on the map that people think of as Willow Grove,” Karen Houck, Upper Moreland Revitalization Task Force chairwoman said.

With any luck, the township, with the addition of wayfinding signage, can have all signs pointing downtown.

The revitalization task force, as well consultant Cloud Gehshan Associates, earlier this year put together a plan for what signs could look like and the best places to install them. The work was funded through a $40,000 Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission grant.

“It’s basically to try to create a sense of place with Willow Grove,” Houck said. “All roads lead to the downtown area … If we can direct people there, if we can energize some activity down there that’s part of the process.”

The group identified five “gateway” locations–including Moreland and York roads, York and Easton roads, York Road and Sunset Lane and Easton and Wyandotte roads–as key places to install signs directing motorists to Upper Moreland’s downtown shopping center.

Dubbed “down the Grove,” Houck said the area where Davisville, York and Easton converge is the key area and “helping people realize that it’s there” is the intent.

At least for this year, installation of new signs is not likely. Upper Moreland Township Manager David Dodies said money for the new red and tan signs, as presented in a report, could be in next year’s budget. 

When funding becomes available, Houck said the township will be ahead of the game.

“This was actually a study to determine if and when we could do signage what would we do,” she said. 

justme August 14, 2013 at 04:20 PM
The government spent $40,000 to fund the planning? Really??? They have no money for schools but they can waste money on planning to waste money. wow... You don't need to waste money on a sign. GPSs work great. People don't need a sign telling them that willow grove is ahead. Unbelievable
Tom Winterberg August 14, 2013 at 06:41 PM
justme, the money came from a grant program that is intended in improving the "business" centers of towns, boroughs and townships. This money has nothing to do with school funding except that if the business districts are strong there will be more money for the school district to collect therefore keeping your school tax dollars low. Remember that the County, township and school district all collect and spend different tax dollars.
ThatsRight August 14, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Hello..... Grant money comes from taxpayers. I prefer to NOT have my tax movey pay for signs.
Michael Reiser August 15, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Phenomenal idea. Nobody cares a bit about where Upper Moreland is on a map. We need to cash in on our biggest asset; the name recognition of Willow Grove. Wayfinders work, and they help foster an atmosphere of Willow Grove as a destination. The potential of the town is unlimited bur the UM Commissioners are constantly trying to downplay the identity of Willow Grove in favor of including all of UM.
Susan E. Worth LaManna August 15, 2013 at 08:27 AM
Signage cteates a sense of place, of community...it is welcoming, as well as informative. Our neighboring townships have been using wayfaring and flagging to delineate their neighborhoods for years. We had the opportunity to apply for this grant, that only "prepares" us to do the same. The UMBOC has not taken local tax money for this effort. Had we developed it sooner, however, we might well have attractive welcoming signs already in place. Anyone know where recent development required Welcome signs? Wonder if you've seen them? Btw, GPS users always call me to ask why they can't find my house, and I remind them I live in UM, not Bryn Athyn. Cathedral Rd...even tho' I say, "Don't use your GPS," they insist. I love technology, but it isn't always accurate and isn't an answer to creating a sense of place....in this case, Willow Grove.
Frank Greene August 15, 2013 at 09:00 AM
Just more lipstick on the pig, and really wastes more taxpayer funds.
justme August 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM
I am trying to figure out how signs create a sense of community, and how they are welcoming (because they say welcome? really??). Everywhere I have traveled I have found that it's the people that are welcoming. A low crime rate, no litter, no rundown slum-like homes, is also welcoming. If I am going somewhere I don't need a welcome sign to tell me I'm there and to make me feel at welcome. That is preposterous. What put willow grove on the map was the amusement park that was torn down. If you want people to come and stay awhile, they aren't going to get a hotel room for a few days to shop at a mall. That was a huge mistake made many years ago. What's done is done- but you aren't going to lure anyone with any kind of sense to willow grove with a few ridiculously expensive signs and a coat of paint. Frank Greene hit the nail on the head.
UM Nick August 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM
So, what I'm hearing from Frank and justme is leave things where they are and deal with it?? Really??? The BOC is finally taking some action to try and get the downtown area of WG revitalized and good for them!! As for you naysayers, why don't you take your negative attitudes and LEAVE!! I for one want to see new businesses come to WG/UM so my taxes will stay low!!!
Rob August 18, 2013 at 07:16 AM
Yes, new businesses would be great. I think what they are saying is that the $40k could have been spent in other ways that would have had a better impact on the area.
Frank Greene August 18, 2013 at 09:16 AM
I don't know about you Nick, but I've lived in UM for 37 years and my taxes have increased every year. Even though there have been numerous businesses move into the township (i.e. Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, Giant, Sonic, Bonefish etc.). Furthermore, keep in mind that each employee of these businesses pays the UM 1% Earned Income Tax. Revitalization of downtown WG has been on-going forever at a great deal of expense. We the taxpayers have footed the research, studies, etc., for all these years. And for the most part, revitalization has become a money pit with no tangible results.
justme August 18, 2013 at 09:50 AM
UM Nick, our taxes keep being raised because of the amount of money being dumped into Willow Grove with no positive effects. I for one am tired of funding stupid projects that only bring more crime onto the area. What they should really be spending the money on is fixing the flooding problem. I wouldn't mind having my taxes raised to solve that problem. Rob, exactly! It doesn't take $40,000. to decide where a sign should be placed. I can tell them for free where I'd like to put their signs. ;) This reminds me of the government paying $285 for a screwdriver, a $7,622 coffee maker, a $387 flat washer, a $469 wrench, a $214 flashlight, a $437 tape measure, a $2,228 monkey wrench, a $748 pair of duckbill pliers, a $74,165 aluminum ladder, and a$659 ashtray! Or the best one yet, Willow Grove getting $5,000 trash cans!
Susan E. Worth LaManna August 19, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Actually, the largest amount of your local UM taxes go to the funding of salaries and benefits for staff. I am not sure what "stupid projects have brought more crime into the area." Opening up, cleaning up, and revitalizing the Memorial Drive area has made for a great downtown asset -- unless you have walked here and enjoyed the change, you may hold that old, "it's nothing but a drug-laden place" idea. Not true! The BOC does not spend in the manner you quote - however, I do agree that more resources need to be directed toward stormwater management. For instance, when I raised the issue of putting a car dealership at Easton below the Turnpike (another Bruce Goodman development), I was reassured that BMP's would be followed...what was not understood is that is a major flood area with all that grassed area as it is. Now, put impervious surface (think hundreds of cars in a parking lot), and you're now just "managing" the water. Does anyone remember how that intersection was when Floyd came through? We need a separate BOC committee focused on water management throughout the township, not the Community Development Committee reporting to itself.
Mary AGB August 22, 2013 at 08:20 PM
that's great. a nice new sign to tell people they are in willow grove. downtown willow grove, where is it. i wrote on another article that the township ruined willow grove when they closed off the front entrances to the stores and the walking traffic on easton road stopped (now the back of the willow grove shopping center faces easton rd. plus, the stores across from burger king and Mandarin Garden look disgraceful. all those stores need to refaced in order to make a lovely view of willow grove. oh, i have so much to say. upper moreland i suppose you came into a lot of money from the Foundation to do all these renovations.

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