On Friday, the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with PerkUp and several community leaders, celebrated the completion of the first phase of the Upper Perkiomen Valley Wayfinding and Identity Program at the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center. Students from the school constructed the eight signs unveiled during the reception as part of an 18-month Wayfinding sign project.
"Whether it is someone looking for a business for an appointment or a tourist needing to find a destination, ease of navigation benefits business, transportation, culture, tourism and the people who live in the Upper Perkiomen Valley," according to a news release from the chamber.
Chamber President Luanne Stauffer lauded the project's collaborative nature. Completion required the cooperation of seven municipalities, including East Greenville, Green Lane, Pennsburg and Red Hill boroughs; Marlborough and Upper Hanover townships along with Hereford Township in Berks County – the Upper Perkiomen Valley School District, the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center, legislators, business leaders and students.
The signs will help create an identity for the region, according to Eric Jarrell, a member of the Montgomery County Planning Commission. A vertical "Welcome to East Greenville" sign rested along the wall behind the podium. Similar gateway signs are proposed for the other six participating municipalities, according to Jarrell.
All of the materials and time to construct the vinyl signs were donated, according to Michele Fillippo, the PerkUp project coordinator.
She wrote in an email that the paint, vinyl, aluminum and I-beams were donated by the Matthews Paint division of PPG, 3M, Knoll and Urban Sign, respectively. "This project was very cost effective," state Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) said.
Jarrell said officials are actively working for approval to install the first phase of signs, which direct commuters to Macoby Run Park, Green Lane Park, the Knoll Museum, Upper Perkiomen High School, Camelot Park and the Bear Creek Mountain Resort.
He said three of the signs will be stacked together on a post on the southbound side of Route 29 near its intersection with 11th Street in Red Hill.
According to Jarrell, a completed regional gateway sign will be installed in the northern end of Marlborough near the Bucks County border.
Several other Wayfinding signs are planned, according to Fillippo. She said that project officials are hoping to complete future phases with grants.
The program was initiated in the spring of 2012 as an outgrowth of the PerkUp initiative and borough revitalization plans, according to a Wayfinding brochure.
The vision of the PerkUp program started as a notion of economic development for the Upper Perkiomen Valley, according to state Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24th District. Mensch said he and his predecessor, Rob Wonderling, first discussed the concept several years over breakfast in Franconia. "I had no idea what it would look like," Mensch said.
As someone with a business background, Mensch said a member of the private sector would need to take charge of the project. "Otherwise, it would have been a disaster," the senator said.