Commission to revitalize East Third Street area approved

City Council approved the East Third Street Gateway Revitalization Advisory Commission Thursday night.

The goal of the commission, consisting of several local developers and Kent Trachte, president of Lycoming College, is to see redevelopment of the areas east of Penn Street and north to Washington Boulevard.

The council didn’t spend much time discussing the measure on second reading, but Mayor Gabriel J. Campana told the Sun-Gazette before the meeting the group’s first plan of action is to try to rezone a portion of the area from commercial-service, to commercial in order to attract more retailers and restaurants and less warehousing, such as meat packaging and slaughtering plants able to site in the commercial-service zone.

Another plan of attack for the group will be finding state and federal financing to redo sidewalks so they are new and can connect to what’s happening closer to Market Street and redevelopment projects involving Lycoming College, the county and city in Old City section of Williamsport.

In other action, council signed an agreement with Lycoming County for the River Valley Transit compressed natural gas fueling station and a local match requirement to complete construction of the $6.5 million facility at 1500 W. Third St.

The city is putting up $104,166 as is the county. The $104,166, from each entity represents half of the local match for the $6.5 million project, which is 95 percent complete, according to William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director and general manager of River Valley Transit.

Councilman Jonathan Williamson said the project holds potential positive impact for the city providing industrial fleet vehicles with compressed natural gas, saving on fuel costs for the River Valley Transit and its buses and saving for the county and school district, which choose to use the facility and any future partners who will use it.

Nichols said the public and private fueling stations are open but River Valley Transit is planning a larger grand opening in May, which may include a formal ribbon cutting and ceremony.