The HLRA has a new Executive Director

Mike Shinton, Horsham Township’s Director of Codes and Community Planning, was appointed as the HLRA Executive Director at the Board’s July 19, 2023 meeting. Mike will add the responsibility of managing the day-to-day redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station – Joint Reserve Base, Willow Grove, PA to his existing township duties.

“The redevelopment of the base is vitally important to the future of Horsham Township and it makes total sense to have one person leading the effort” says W. William Whiteside, Chairman of the HLRA Board and Vice President of Horsham Township Council. “Mike’s background and leadership skills match up well with all of the tasks ahead of us as the Navy continues its environmental investigations and clean-up actions necessary prior to property transfer”, continued Whiteside.

Mike was born and raised in Horsham Township, graduating from Hatboro-Horsham School District before obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Drexel University. Prior to joining Horsham Township in 2017, Mike worked as a consulting engineer for several local municipalities. He has been one of the HLRA Deputy Directors since 2021. Mike is a registered Professional Engineer, Building Code Official and Certified Zoning Officer, all in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Navy Demolishes Old Officer Quarters Along Easton Road

The Navy recently completed demolition of one of the officer housing quarters along Easton Road. Back in November 2022, a delivery truck crashed through the fence and damaged the structure (which has been unoccupied since 2011). Engineering evaluations revealed that the impact significantly damaged the building and it was judged to be structurally unsound.

During demolition, Navy personnel noticed a ‘cornerstone’ under the siding on the building. The cornerstone, probably made of marble, had the following inscription “WJH & TH, 1856”. This corresponds nicely with the Navy’s March 2011 Architectural Assessment and National Register of Historic Places Evaluation. The report said that the building was constructed in 1856 and was a residence of W.J. Hallowell. The Navy’s report concluded that, despite its age, the building was not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places since it was an unexceptional exam-ple of local domestic architecture. Coupled with the alterations including the non-historic exterior wall fabric, non-historic fenestration, and non-historic main entry, the building lacked both historical significance and architectural integrity to be eligible for listing in the NRHP. The Navy consulted with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission before the building was demolished.

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