Gateway project finally includes first major work

If you like true redevelopment – when ideas blossom into visual progress – your time is near regarding the changes east of Market Street known as the East Third Street/Old City Gateway Revitalization Project.

More than $6 million in construction on areas east of Market Street is scheduled to begin in early March.

The timeline of work over the next two years, ending at the start of the Little League World Series each year, was relayed to four contracting firms at a pre-bid conference recently.

Two years from now, the city will look dramatically different east of Market Street, on East Third and East Fourth streets, and Basin and Franklin Streets.

Lycoming College will have a new south entrance and a Krapf Gateway Center to welcome the public and students.

Basin Street, now a narrow path connecting the Beltway to the city, will be a two-way street with a median strip and landscaping and a more pronounced accessible connection with Interstate 180 and Via Bella.

Old, dilapidated buildings in that area already have been torn down or dismantled and most of this year’s work will be focused on the Basin Street changes.

Most of next year’s work will be focused on East Fourth at Mulberry streets, some of it involving changes that have been discussed for decades.

Besides giving Lycoming College a connection to the city’s south entrance that is long overdue, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana is hopeful that all of these traffic, accessibility and aesthetic changes will be the lynchpin that launches major new commercial development in Williamsport’s East End.

That remains to be seen.

But modernized physical appearances and traffic accessibility traditionally have a way of attracting private investment.

At the minimum, city traffic patterns will be greatly improved and the entire eastern commercial portion of Williamsport will be dramatically modernized.

Those are big steps.

And they are about to start.

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