It’s been some 20 years in the making, but with the help of a $1.5 million state grant it seems the long-awaited redevelopment of the PennDOT property at North Broad and Doyle streets is a step closer to becoming a reality.
State and local officials gathered at the site last week to present the ceremonial check and discuss plans for the “gateway park,” new homes for Doylestown Borough Hall and the Central Bucks Regional Police Department.
“We’ve been working on the Broad Street corridor since the 1990s,” said John Davis, Doylestown’s manager. “We’re at the end game now.”
The funding, provided by Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Program, will allow the municipal complex project to move forward later this year, officials said. The goal, said Davis, is for the approximately $11 million undertaking to be completed by the end of 2022.
Plans call for the existing PennDOT building, which was built in the 1930s under the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, to be repurposed into the borough’s new administrative center.
“This takes an old building that has seen better days and revitalizes it,” said state Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-10). “This is a great win for the preservation of our history and the borough,” the senator noted. State Rep. Wendy Ullman (D-143) called the “art deco” building an “asset” to the community.
The lawmakers said they worked together with local officials to demonstrate to Gov. Tom Wolf that the state’s involvement would be a benefit.
“When state and local government support citizen vision, taxpayers win and communities flourish,” said Ullman, in a statement.
The new facility will provide 16,800 square- eet for borough hall and 13,400 square feet for the police department, according to officials. That’s about five times larger than their existing space.
The ambitious project also includes transforming PennDOT’s maintenance yard into a 3½-acre passive recreation area, said Linda Cacosa, Heritage Conservancy’s chief operating officer. “Everyone needs clean, open space to relax,” she added.
Eighteen years ago, the Doylestown-based conservancy entered into a 99-year lease of the property with the borough with the intention of creating a Broad Street Gateway Park.
Karl Knott, chief of the CB Regional Police Department, called the project a “great model for the state” and “a win across the board for the region and Doylestown.” The move, he added, will move the department one step closer to state accreditation.
The redevelopment projects will take place simultaneously, Davis said.