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Lower Gwynedd Township is one of Montco's more affluent areas, but you probably wouldn't know it after driving down the main stretch of the township's Bethlehem Pike. Underutilized properties there have been hogging prime real estate space for years, so Lower Gwynedd just launched a marketing effort—it's called I Like The Pike—in hopes of initiating new development.
Lower Gwynedd Township Manager Larry Comunale
Lower Gwynedd Township manager Larry Comunale tells us a $1.5M beautification and infrastructure improvement campaign along the Pike has been ongoing for the better part of a decade now. (A little eye shadow here, a nice sidewalk there, and you've got your Pike in shape for a night out.)
Lower Gwynedd Township Manager Larry Comunale on Bethlehem Pike
Larry says the streetscaping projects and the improvements made to sidewalks and street lighting were undertaken not only to encourage new growth, but also to make the Pike more attractive for people who might want to walk—and not always drive—to the businesses along the road's main stretch. As for the I Like The Pike campaign, "we want to make sure that the business and development communities know we're open for business," Larry says.
Larry Comunale in front of an abandoned gas station at the corner of Bethlehem Pike and Sumneytown Pike
Here's Larry hanging out in front of an abandoned gas station (which is a great location for a horror movie but a terrible location for anything else) at the corner of Bethlehem Pike and Sumneytown Pike. But the road isn't all boarded-up buildings and vacant properties; Larry tells us there's been some positive activity on the Pike lately, including two restaurants that have recently changed hands. One, the former Drafting Room, is currently being redeveloped into a diner. The former Pike Restaurant, meanwhile, is about to go before the township's planning commission.
I Like The Pike logo
Depending on the success of the campaign, Larry says there are also tentative plans for the creation of a Lower Gwynedd Township Business Association; no such organization exists in the area.