Coopersburg is situated in one of the fastest growing regions in America, and it has maintained its roughly 2,500 population for decades. In order for the Borough to grow, it needs to distinguish itself from its larger neighbors by partnering with several local organizations to create a shared social space and further beautify the community.
This plan serves as the guide for Coopersburg to grow their cultural offerings and in doing so increase their economic development.
This project is unique in that we were brought into this work by PENN DOT. The transportation agency had recently taken a more creative approach to transportation, focusing not only on the roads but also on the buildings and green spaces that are along the roads. In order to experiment with this concept our team at Alchemy was brought in to do placemaking work alongside traditional transportation concepts. We then worked with PENN DOT to create criteria to choose a solid beta-community. We were looking for a community with strong civic leadership and Coopersburg rose to the top.
This project was a collaboration with the Borough of Coopersburg, PENN DOT, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and Alchemy Community Transformations.
Keeping in mind the need to link transportation with community development, we began our work with several community visioning sessions. Nearly 100 residents took part in these sessions or subsequent interviews.
Our steering committee and visioning attendees were put together under the leadership of Borough Manager Tim Paashaus, community volunteer Ken Mohr and Council Member Dick Poot.
The visioning sessions covered a great deal of territory, delving deep into the long history of Coopersburg and its place as one of the original cattle auction sites all the way up to recent accomplishments including the new Sage Alley Brewery and award winning high school robotics team.
Coopersburg is located in an area that is going to experience growth for the next 20 years due to its proximity to NYC and Philadelphia, and due to suburban New Jersey residents coming across the Delaware river for lower taxes and better schools.
In order to grow in a strategic manner, a few themes emerged:
These topics led us to land on the three major projects of this plan:
- Turning Coopersburg Borough Hall into a shared social space
- Connecting Coopersburg’s streetscape/rail trail systems with Living Memorial Park
- Main Street wayfinding and public art
Coopersburg is going to grow simply based on its proximity to NYC and Philadelphia. This plan will help the community grow in a smart, strategic manner that includes feedback and buy-in from nearly 100 residents.
This plan is not a beginning or an end, it is a continuation of the good work the residents of Coopersburg have already accomplished.