Park Avenue plan – challenging task needs more support

Consultants shepherding the Park Avenue Plan in Williamsport held a recent open house seeking input on the planned revitalization of that area.

They got plenty of what they wanted regarding an area that encompasses Park Avenue between Hepburn and Walnut streets and dips south toward Little League Boulevard, running north of Brandon Avenue.

The task of transforming an area marked largely by crime and blighted buildings into a viable section of the city that connects to other parts of the city is a monumental undertaking.

It takes ideas, vision – and willing investors.

The ideas at the open house ranged from the need for more green space, demolition of dilapidated housing and stricter codes enforcement and police presence.

The owner of five housing units in the area spoke of selling them for a different use.

There was talk of tying the entire area into downtown and Brandon Park, which loosely border it.

The eclectic mosaic of ideas will be put into a plan submitted to council soon.

So far, the program partner investment of $89,000 into the area is all public entities. In a perfect world, a workable plan that makes economic sense would attract private investment.

The dream scenario would be a revitalized section of the city that actually increases the tax base for the city while reducing crime and blight and expanding quality housing stock in Williamsport.

Everyone would admit that is a far-off goal at this point.

But to the extent that this plan is geared to improving a major weak spot of Williamsport, there are no bad ideas at this point.

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