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Why not Williamsport?

August 26, 2013

Mayor Campana fought tooth and nail to get a Kohl’s store in downtown Williamsport....

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Aug-26-13 4:09 AM

Mr Johns, There are plenty of good restaurants in downtown Williamsport. There are at least two Chains there; Panera Bread and Perkins. The reason more chains aren't going in is the lack of convenient parking. There isn't a whole lot of places left for them to purchase where they can put in their own parking lot.

I've said this before, the lack of convenient parking is the downfall of Downtown Williamsport. Lewisburg is a booming college town. Williamsport has two Colleges. What's the difference in success? Convenient parking.

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Aug-26-13 4:33 AM

Well Francine what if it was to be put up for vote that I would say would make it fair for taxpayers like me you just less care about boosting little Philly

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Aug-26-13 4:34 AM

Who just less cares about little Philly is what was its supposed to read

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Aug-26-13 5:07 AM

Mike I agree. According to the Darden Restaurants website, which owns Longhorn, many things are considered during their site survey process. One of them being a 1.5 acre requirement to include at least a 127 space parking lot. They also look at other businesses, population, traffic, income and crime. Williamsport is not short on restaurants but it is short on available footprints in areas that are conducive for a restaurant such as Longhorn to locate successfully.

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Aug-26-13 5:13 AM

"If you build it, they will come" is a line from a movie. It doesn't always work that way in real life.

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Aug-26-13 6:57 AM

Evidently, Mr. Johns, you are unaware of at least 10 new/renovated restaurants that are all locally owned and operated that have opened in the city in the past year or so. Why not support them instead of a chain operation that is only going to serve more of the same sub standard garbage you can get anywhere? Why not support locals who are serving much better products are generally better pricing AND those owners and managers actually care if you come in and come back. I do as much shopping with local businesses as possible. Heck, I even buy my golf stuff at White Deer instead of Dick's. It just makes more sense.

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Aug-26-13 7:41 AM

Nobud, while I agree that some of the locally operated places offer some excellent food (Jack and Sarah's is my regular spot for breakfast), I wouldn't paint all chain establishments as garbage and this area does need a good steakhouse. I prefer Outback, but Longhorn isn't bad.

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Aug-26-13 7:47 AM

Mr. Johns, business owners are going to bring their business where it is goig to attract the most customers. A chain restuarant is going to build where the most customer traffic is. Even Kohls built in an area in view of the main highway and very near to an off ramp. They are going to build in or near malls.

The types of businesses you are referring to are small businesses run by a family, small start up stores and restuarants.

Kohls has a nice location, located next to a big chain food business that also serves meals and attracts bus tour traffic. Both businesses have local and out of town traffic.

Chain stores spend a lot money studying where to place their store to attract the most customers. Cities will spend their money for infrastructure in those areas the most. Just look at how much money Williamsport spent on infrastructure in that one area of Williamsport. you have restuarants going up down from Wegmans and Kohls.

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Aug-26-13 7:53 AM

lots of great places to eat in williamsport and a number of new ones too. No sense to name them all. I get the sense, you aren't out enough.

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Aug-26-13 8:12 AM

I have always found it an inconvience when shopping at the mall to have to drive to williamsport to get something to eat. Almost every mall I have been to has at least 5 chain resturaunts located in or around the mall. Ours has 1. I would prefer a variety so Longhorn will provide another option. I was hoping for an Outback or a Carrabas but maybe they will come in the future. I do think it is very bad planning to use the mall area for Grizzly's warehouse though that should be in an industrial park and the space it takes up used for shopping.

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Aug-26-13 8:46 AM

This brings something to my mind. Anyone familiar with the Puffs next near Penn College on 4th Street? Anyone familiar with how 'large' the lot area of that Puffs is for such a small and relatively ignored store?

Why? What's the point? Because we don't have enough Puffs stores already or enough stores in the general vacinity that sell cigarettes already right? That entire area is a place they could start to revitalize. Did you know that the near by laundromat is one of the few places in the city that still has a PAY PHONE.. For anyone born after '95 or so, you might be thinking to yourself "a what?"

My point is, I'm all for local business, at the same time, some of these businesses, houses, or empty buildings are very run down and wasting space within the city. Is it better to spend the money to help revitalize the look of a still operational local business? I think so.

Is it worth spending the money to rip down an empty building that looks 'slummy'? I think so.

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Aug-26-13 8:50 AM


Is it worth the money for the city to start buying and demolishing neglected, blighted houses/apartment buildings and replacing them with either A) Improved Housing or B) Quality Businesses? I believe it is.

I believe, unfortunately, you have to spend money to make money. The problem is I don't believe the City is being very smart about how they spend their money. There are opportunities to bring new business here, opportunities to purchase property and 'revitalize it' with new owners, new looks, new businesses. But the city has to do a better job in planning. Whomever is in charge of City Planning, with all due respect, you're not very good at your job, especially if you have any part in designing how a building is going to be structured on a property (in terms of wasting space that could be used for additional development).

Do we REALLY need so many Family Dollars in one freakin' city? I mean SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!? Start getting DIFFERENT Business, not

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Aug-26-13 8:54 AM


branches of already existing ones.

Furthermore, you COULD have put a 'minimall' or something downtown when some of these businesses closed, put Family Dollar, CVS, and other such stores all in there and then you wouldn't have to have 3,4, or 5 different locations for them all. Shouldn't the idea of downtown Williamsport be 'the business district'. Why are we scattering so many small, narrow-minded' businesses throughout the city, wasting more property space, and disallowing other businesses to invest in our city, rather than centralizing the business into one general location (sorta like the golden strip).

I get that many of us probably call the Golden Strip "Williamsport" but in terms of Revenue, it's not. It's a completely different place.

We've all been complaining about this since the days when JC Pennys left Williamsport to go to the Mall. It's time that our local government actually did some proper planning and made our city LOOK LIKE A CITY!

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Aug-26-13 9:01 AM

Mr. Johns and others here miss the big picture. Retail and service businesses go where the money is. It you want them in Williamsport you have to have money. The only way to do that is to attract industry. We need industries that pay a good wage so that people in Williamsport have money to spend. That will bring all kinds of chain stores and restaurants in. I have nothing against Kohls, but spending taxpayer money to bring them here was a huge mistake. It did nothing to help the economy. Production brings money in, consumption sends money out. Government should never bribe someone to take money out of the area, and that's what retail does.

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Aug-26-13 9:12 AM

Wes, Slow down and think about what you're saying. It sounds like you want the city government to control the economy. That sounds a lot like Communism and I'm sure that's not what you want. Government should have a very limited role in the economy; ideally no role. If Puffs owns the property and wants to stay there, that's their right and your opinion about what should be there means nothing. Private property and free markets are what made this country great and turning control over to the government has proven to be bad for everyone. Government's role in this needs to be limited to zoning and promoting the area as a good place to do business. The occasional tax incentive for very desirable businesses could also help.

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Aug-26-13 10:26 AM

Downtown has plenty of restaurants. many are very good. The Strip is Loyalsock Township not the city. The Mall is not Williamsport. Muncy has Orlie's,a very good restaurant. The parent company makes decisions unless a restaurant is a private business. We have a ton of chain restaurants. I would like to have a WaWa rather than our numerous mini-marts and Sheetz.

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Aug-26-13 11:13 AM

Back in the 70's Williamsport had the choice to have the Mall locally and the Council and local heavyweights (Stearns's etc) didn't want it. We now have the results of that very bad decision.

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Aug-26-13 12:27 PM

You're right Enigma that's not what I want, nor is it what I mean to say.

What I mean is, I think 'control' should be taken when doing anything with blighted properties, buildings that have sat empty for long periods of time, and planning when it comes to the usage of open land.

There isn't any reason, imo, the city couldn't 'temporarily take possession' of these properties, make them and sell the land to developers, auction it off if you will for city revenue. People who would then be able to control the property, maintain the property, and find buyers, businesses, that desire that property.

I don't pretend to know how all this works, my point is, that there's a lot of old, run down buildings and houses that I think could be replaced with something better.

On top of that, if we get one more freakin' Sheetz in the area I might just lose my mind.

Industry, you're absolutely right Enigma. Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing an Industry buy out Shopvac and replace it

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Aug-26-13 12:30 PM


with something that is going to SUPPLY Jobs. I used to work at Shopvac and I can tell you first hand over the last few years they have permenantly laid off hundreds of people, the majority of that factory is now empty in terms of employees. Maybe 1/4 of the employees that used to work there, now work there. Another part of the problem is that all the available "Industrial" property is being purchased by the Gas Industries, thus disallowing any potential Industrial manufacturing businesses from having options here in Williamsport. Honestly, the Gas Industry in this way, is having a very negative effect on our city.

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Aug-26-13 12:46 PM

Jack and Sarah's also my favorite breakfast restaurant.

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Aug-26-13 2:00 PM

There is no need for more restaurants downtown. There's so many that it would take quite a while to try them all and I've heard good things about all of them. But, as I said, the biggest thing that keeps me out of downtown Williamsport is the lack of convenient parking. I don't want to drive around the block (or several blocks) a parking spot and I don't want to pay for parking. If Williamsport and it's Merchants want to bring in outside people to spend money in their establishments they need to address the parking problem.

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Aug-26-13 2:44 PM

Wes, There is one big problem with your idea about dealing with blighted properties. Nobody wants them! If some developer wanted to build there, do you really think they couldn't buy them from the current owner(s)? The problem is one of supply and demand. There is a lot more property than there are people who want it. It will stay that way until the economic environment here changes. I don't know a lot about the highly publicized blighted properties, but if they are hazardous, the city can condemn them and if the taxes are not paid they can be forfeited and auctioned, but none of that will help if no one has a use for them.

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Aug-26-13 8:36 PM

Seriously? Who needs another cookie cutter frozen entre overpriced plastic food franchise outlet? The creative fresh prepared foods of downtown eateries is way more tasty and honest... And those downtown places are a lot more fun, the people are real and the atmosphere doesn't need some dopey phony decor. Let the franchise gulch be at the Mall or Golden Strip you won't find me waiting in line at any of them only to be disappointed.

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Aug-27-13 6:54 AM

First of all, about the parking, do we need more convenient parking? Yes of course we do? Do any of us want to pay for it? No, we don't. Now, here's the issue with not wanting to pay for parking, you're just going to have to get over it.

If you go to just about any city, guess what, you've got to pay for parking unless you're parking on a residential street in most cases. So that's not something that is going to change. I'm sick of watching the parking costs continue to rise, but as far as paying for parking, that's not going to change so the sooner we all get used to it, the sooner we can focus our complaints on something else, though I am with you on not wanting to pay to park in parking garages. But, having said that, they need A LOT more parking downtown. Very few people want to park 5 blocks away from a store they want to shop in, nor should we have to. All these 'parking lots' are tied up in 'permit parking', well what about the rest of us who want to give the downtown

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Aug-27-13 6:56 AM


area some revenue? Very few shops/stores, etc have their own parking lot downtown, Khols and Wegmans are two of the very few and those are extreme exceptions. That is the primary reason most of us would rather go to the Golden Strip or the Mall.

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