City deserves full answers on Park Avenue plan info

The city of Williamsport is paying $82,280 for a report meant to market the Park Avenue plan for future development.

The minimum expectation of Ingalls Planning and Design, of Fairport, New York, would be that the report is informationally complete and accurate.

But city codes officers who conducted their own study, took photographs of houses and noted building code violations for 99 structures found major missing information and inaccuracies.

The P.D. Mitchell project, which includes 36 townhouses operated by the Lycoming Housing Authority, was not included in the inventory of housing for the plan area along Park Avenue and streets south to Little League Boulevard, north on both sides of Rural Avenue, west to Campbell Street and east to Hepburn Street.

Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator, said some other residences are not included in the consultants’ report.

Additionally, the Ingalls group reported 32 building code violations in examination of 103 properties, while the codes department found just 12.

The city hopes the end result of a strong marketing plan will be revitalization of the Park Avenue area, which would be a major step forward for the city.

It is hard to imagine that happening if the information in the consultants report is inaccurate.

City Councilman Randall Allison, chairman of council economic revitalization committee, said he wants to speak with the chief consultant regarding the plan before passing judgment. That is the correct posture.

But at the very least city residents are owed a full determination whether their $82,280 got what was expected. And, if the answer is no, at least a portion of the money should be withheld.

Revitalizing the Park Avenue area is a laudable goal that deserves positive results. We doubt those results will happen if the marketing plan includes missing or inaccurate information.

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