Variety of funding streams helping revitalize the city

Lots of long-overdue and much-needed work is scheduled to be done in Williamsport this year, thanks to a variety of funding streams approved by City Council this week.

As is so often the case these days, the natural gas impact fees are part of the funding puzzle, with $750,000 in impact fees being spread over a variety of projects, including sidewalks, curbing and curb-cuts for handicapped accessibility around the former Brodart warehouse neighborhood.

That area will probably see the most dramatic transformation this summer, with a 72-unit apartment/townhouse complex under construction and street and access modernization planned in the surrounding blocks near Memorial Park.

Improvements in the design of Memorial Pool will include pedestrian access along with rehabilitation of the pool this summer.

Also on the drawing board this summer is completion of North Reach Road to Industrial Park’s western terminus.

The condition of Reach Road was so bad a few years ago that the city was fearful of losing one or two industries in the Industrial Park.

The Brodart project, pool and street access improvements and Reach Road work are the sort of things that government funding should be spent on when possible, though the pool operations should require some private support.

But consider this: Natural gas impact fees are paying for projects that otherwise might cost the city 1 mill in real estate taxes. That’s what happens when the destination for the money from the impact fees is decided here rather than in Harrisburg.