Potential for growth in ‘Old City’ considered

The city economic revitalization committee met Monday and gave a positive recommendation for City Council to consider an East Third Street Gateway Revitalization Advisory Commission.

The commission, recommended by Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, will review redevelopment issues as they relate to East Third Street east of Penn Street and portions of Washington Boulevard. The area would start at Penn Street and run east toward Catherine Street, near the border with Loyalsock Township.

“Certain areas of the project area are blighted and under-utilized,” Campana said.

While the work won’t happen overnight, the goal is to create more of a tax base and more jobs, as well as to redevelop an area that Campana said has been neglected.

The developers in the group want to see something happen sooner than later, he said.

City Councilman and committee member Don Noviello said East Third Street is not very wide and that makes it difficult for future development. He also questioned whether the group first will tackle a traffic pattern study or do a development plan.

Campana said the initial idea is for the commission to work closely with what’s happening between the city, Lycoming College and Lycoming County as it seeks to redevelop the area called Old City, which is from Market Street east toward Chatham Street.

The city is putting $25,000 into the Old City redevelopment, while seeking a matching $25,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Lycoming County approved spending $25,000.

Some developable properties overlap boundaries in both plans, according to John Grado, city engineer and director of city community and economic development.

The proposed commission includes real estate developer and businessman John Albarano II, chairman; Neil Casale, Lou Miele, Pete Sides, Casey Stopper and Kent Trachte, president of Lycoming College.

A proposed advisory subcommittee, which would receive the recommended ideas from the commission, consists of City Councilman Randall J. Allison, chairman of the city economic revitalization committee; former state Rep. Steven W. Cappelli; Jason Fitzgerald, senior vice president of Penn Strategies, a Harrisburg-based consulting firm; former city Mayor Phillip Preziosi; and Clifford Rieders, an attorney experienced in redevelopment issues.

Of the proposed commission and committee members, only Allison attended the meeting.

The proposed ordinance to create the commission and subcommittee, which was drafted by Norman Lubin, city solicitor, will require two readings before council, according to Allison.