YMCA relocation project advances

The $10 million YMCA facility on Park Avenue, construction of which is set for later this year, moved another step closer to reality Thursday night when City Council, on first reading, approved vacating Spruce Street and adjacent alleys near the project site.

The modern facility is to be situated between Park Avenue and High Street and is in the institutional zone, but the notable information Thursday night was that all of the properties for the creation of the facility have been acquired by Susquehanna Health, according to John Grado, city engineer and director of community and economic development. “This is to do a lot consolidation as part of the land development,” he said.

The next step will be for the YMCA officials to go before the city planning commission for land development permission and a conditional-use hearing. The second reading before council on the vacating of the street and alleys will be on May 2.

Councilman Jonathan Williamson said he noticed the plan showing an alley as designated for two-way traffic, which he suggested might pose problems. As presented, the plan shows the potential for traffic to move up and down the alley that would provide access the the facility’s parking lot and the building itself.

Instead, Williamson said it would probably make sense when the plan goes before the planning commission on land-development, to have that entity review whether it makes sense to adjust the plan so that the alley is for one-way traffic – to lesson problems associated with the potential heavy use of the alley.