City oversees $7M in infrastructure improvements

The city is moving ahead with $7 million of public improvements in the East Third Street/Old City Gateway Revitalization project, city administrators said Wednesday.

The work entails complete street reconstruction, additional sidewalks, and converting a small alleyway, Willow Street, into a bicycle pathway and walking path.

First on the drawing board for the city is to continue working with its design engineer, Larson Design Group, to realign Franklin Street at East Fourth and Basin streets, said William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director and general manager of River Valley Transit.

Eventually, Franklin Street is to be aligned with Basin Street, which is to be a two-way-like boulevard, with a median strip in the middle with plants and other aesthetics between East Fourth and East Third streets, Nichols said.

The timeline is to get the land-development plan before City Council at its second meeting in June, said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana has assigned Nichols and planner Chelsea Myers to the lead role on the revitalization project in absence of a city engineer.

The planning commission is to review the plan, the council economic revitalization committee looks at it and then it goes to council, said Gary Knarr, city zoning officer.

Campana and Nichols said they want to see that happen during the second meeting in June.

“We will get it on the agendas as fast as we can put it on the list,” Gerardi said.

Funding sources for the realignment and the Basin Street two-way corridor from Fourth to Third streets, include a potential $1.1 million multi-modal grant application, part of which is going to help pay for these costs. The application for it has been submitted to the state Department of Transportation. “We are 95-percent certain the grant will be awarded,” Nichols said.

Another part of the revitalization project is work done on East Third Street, between Market and Basin streets.

The city wants to create two-way corridors along with pavers. East Third Street, from Market to Mulberry streets are envisioned as two-way, completing that corridor to Penn Street and further up toward Loyalsock Township.

A traffic study is under review by Larsen Design Group. It looks at the best means of getting traffic into and out of the city business section east of Market Street, Nichols said.

A $1 million appropriation by the state will help to create Willow Street Greenway, for bicycle and pedestrian use. The pathway is meant as a synergetic link for Lycoming College students and staff and visitors into the heart of downtown.

Also down the road is the city planning to submit a second multi-modal grant for improvements on East Fourth, between Franklin and Penn streets, Nichols said.

“It’s all part of what we call Connect Williamsport,” which includes an interconnected system of streets, pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and means of getting traffic more effectively into and out of the downtown,” he said.