College, Williamsport formally partner as Gateway nearly funded

The city and Lycoming College have a formal agreement on reinvesting in the college neighborhood otherwise called Old City.

City Council approved a memoradum of understanding with the college as 80 percent of the various funding streams for the $25 million East Third Street/Old City Gateway Revitalization has been secured, according to Councilman Randall J. Allison. Of that amount, $2.5 million has been provided from various donators and grant sources, according to William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director.

The agreement outlines the partnership agreements, design work and how the project will begin at Franklin and Basin streets.

“We have had challenges with weather but will try to keep on schedule,” said Dr. Kent Trachte, president of Lycoming College.

The project is expected to have a “huge imprint on the neighborhood,” according to Councilwoman Liz Miele, chair of council’s finance committee.

This is the keystone, or anchor, of the phase in the east side revitalization, according to Councilman Don Noviello.

The project has tracked dollars and shown how much of it is not coming from the general fund, said Councilman Joel Henderson. The college’s $12 million commitment is because it sees investment in the college and the city as part of the larger redevelopment project, according to Trachte.

Among passages by council was a $644,950 grant application, that if awarded, will go toward the East Fourth and Basin streets interchange funding. There are grants and grant applications for profession services and source dollars leveraging further investment, according to Nichols.

It is believed the vision created by the “21st Century lead partners,” a reference to those who helped to build the Central Business District downtown and west of Market Street in 2000, can make it an easier selection for state and federal funding dollars through those agencies, which have officials who have expressed support in the projects, Nichols said.