POWERBOOK 2015: Engineers contrast growth, change in Hampden, Silver Spring

Engineers contrast growth, change in Hampden, Silver Spring

If you’re trying to find a metaphor for life, look no further than recent developments in two of the midstate’s fastest-growing communities: Hampden and Silver Spring townships, in Cumberland County.

With student numbers up dramatically over the past five years, the Cumberland Valley School District is preparing to build two new schools on a 130-acre tract of land straddling the border of the two townships.

In Hampden Township, meanwhile, commissioners in late October unanimously approved final plans for a 180,000-square-foot senior-living facility, The Crossings at West Shore, which will be built within the Cumberland Technology Park.

For every other stage of life between childhood and retirement, the two townships offer a diverse range of places to live, work, eat and shop.

And if you’re trying to get a sense of what development has been like — or will be like — in Hampden and Silver Spring, talk with the engineering firms that have been involved in some of the most high-profile projects in those communities.

Illustration / Larissa Newton

John K. Murphy, president of Fairview Township-based Alpha Consulting Engineers Inc., and Ron Secary, principal and partner with Susquehanna Township-based Snyder, Secary & Associates LLC, each has a broad perspective on growth and change in the two municipalities.

Separate conversations with the experienced engineers each trended in much the same direction: Hampden, nearing build-out, remains an attractive destination, but redevelopment of existing sites is becoming more common than new construction. Silver Spring, meanwhile, is becoming the focus of significant new growth, and officials are eyeing ways to conserve what is left of its green space in one of the capital region’s last suburban frontiers.

The communities continue to draw newcomers thanks to infrastructure, good schools and a mix of appropriate zones, Murphy said — what Secary referred to as “very attractive demographics.”

Both men also spoke about how the development business has changed in the wake of the Great Recession.

Population boom

Illustration / Larissa Newton


All sources show dramatic growth in the townships, and that surge likely isn’t over.

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