Development of east business district in city moves forward

The city’s focus toward developing the central business district of its eastern end reached new heights last week with a City Council-approved application for grant money and a study partnership with Lycoming College.

The city is seeking a $25,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development that will pay for a plan and a consultant team to rejuvenate a section of the city where the first courthouse was located.

Significantly, Lycoming College is going to contribute $25,000 toward the study of the area known as Old City.

Lycoming College President Kent C. Trachte is hoping the study yields a better understanding of whether a public-private-college partnership could transform the Old City section of the city into a college town-type development that would complement the more established central business district to the west.

With the college’s support comes the financial support to pay for the $75,000 needed to pay for a consulting team. Just as vitally, the college can offer student interns, and city and county staff will be conducting background study research.

The more partners there are in the studying of the area, the better the chances of a study product that actually leads to worthwhile development of the east end of the city’s central business district.

The area east of Market Street has great potential, but without the preparation that goes with studying all aspects of that potential, development could be ragged and ineffective in the long term.

The orderly manner in which the east business district development is being coordinated and the investment of multiple partners will hopefully pay long-term dividends.