Sidewalk project hopefully a sign of things to come

In an era when grants come in millions of dollars, a $180,000 grant for a sidewalk project does not seem significant.

But a $180,000 state Department of Community and Economic Development grant to Lycoming County was a big deal for a couple of reasons.

The money is part of a $243,167 project for much-needed new sidewalk construction along Basin Street under the Beltway ramps.

Even more notably, the work is part of the East Third Street Gateway/Old City Revitalization project.

While the work is not expected to begin until 2020, it’s significant that projects involving the East Third Street Gateway/Old City Revitalization actually are coming to fruition.

There are many more dramatic plans on the drawing board.

This is hopefully a sign that the long-overdue improvement to that part of the city is really going to happen.

This section of the city is one of those missing pieces of economic potential that has gone untapped for far too many years.

The transportation connections need improvement, infrastructure work needs done and the tie-in between the Central Business District, the rest of the city and Lycoming College, need improved if that potential is to be realized.

Hopefully, this modest sidewalk modernization – the rest of the costs will be paid for through Growing Greener funds – are a sign of bigger things to come.

Don’t misunderstand, the things that have been done to improve downtown Williamsport in the past decade are much appreciated and will have a lasting impact.

But beyond downtown, the city is in need of an infrastructure upgrade, multiple improvements in its West End and an unlocking of its economic potential in the East End.

The recent state grant is hopeful a modest step toward a needed renaissance in the city’s East End.