SANATOGA PA – If at first you don’t succeed …

Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick (PA) townships have had their ups and downs in years past attempting what some politicians refer to as “inter-municipal collaboration,” and what most regular folks just call “working together.” They’ve tried, with widely varying degrees of unity, to find common ground on topics like gambling, land use, and traffic control.

Now, apparently, they’re ready to try again.

The Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422, as seen from overhead in a Google Maps satellite image.

The Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422, as seen from overhead in a Google Maps satellite image.

Lower Pottsgrove’s Board of Commissioners, during its meeting Monday (May 4, 2009), announced it was negotiating an agreement with its counterpart, the Limerick Board of Supervisors, to cooperate on a comprehensive strategy for development surrounding the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422.

“The details aren’t quite worked out yet,” board Vice President Jonathan Spadt said, “but we want to look at the interchange together as one big project area.” Neither board, he said, thinks it makes sense to have differing plans for the hundreds of acres within the interchange that’s divided by the townships’ border line.

Spadt wasn’t specific on what form – a binding contract, a letter of understanding, or a-wink-and-a-nod – the agreement would take. Regarding its content, he added, representatives of both townships have already met once, and are due to meet again, to talk about interchange “funding and project management.” A proposal, Spadt said, might be ready as soon as next month.

The townships have visited these themes before, sometimes at third-party urging.

Promoting "Sanatoga Springs."

Promoting "Sanatoga Springs."

Last January (2009), the Montgomery County (PA) Planning Commission strongly supported “a more comprehensive approach to the land use and transportation issues at the Sanatoga interchange” when it reviewed the still-evolving proposal for a shopping, entertainment and residential complex called Sanatoga Springs to be built in Limerick on Route 422’s south side.

In September 2008, Lower Pottsgrove contemplated hiring a lobbyist that already calls Limerick a client in a joint quest for millions of dollars in federal funding both townships say they need to make roadway and other improvements at the interchange. Ultimately Lower Pottsgrove declined, considering the lobbyist too costly.

Back in 2005 and 2006 the townships tried to reach consensus, but in the end disagreed, over approaches in dealing with a Boyd Gaming Corp. proposal to bring a casino project to the interchange.

Spadt and his Lower Pottsgrove board colleagues hope that’s all ancient history, and there may be some urgency embedded in their optimism.

An advertisement published today (May 8, 2009) in The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper, Lower Pottsgrove’s publication of record for legal notices, declares the Board of Commissioners has called a special meeting for Tuesday (May 12, 2009) at 2 p.m. in the township municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd., “for the purpose of hearing presentations for consulting work for the Sanatoga Interchange District.”


Satellite image by Google Maps