A Mechanicsburg-based consulting firm has come up with an economic development strategy meant to make the city a more desirable destination.
Teresa Sparacino, principal of Delta Development Group, of Mechanicsburg, Thursday night provided a first-look to City Council of the strategy, handing each member a thick packet they had not been privy to beforehand.
A glimpse of the proposal indicates five goals. Among them: Creation of Destination 2014, finishing Reach Road at the Industrial Park, finding multiple uses for Bowman Field, expansion of compressed natural gas use for industrial fleets and the public and options for additional parking.
A computer-generated illustration of what the Destination 2014 development could look like under one of several plans.
Attendees of Thursday’s city council meeting listen to the presentations given before council on potential plans for downtown development.
Destination 2014 is a vision to find an adaptive re-use of the existing YMCA along West Fourth Street as it builds anew south of Williamsport Regional Medical Center.
It includes a proposed anchor-sports arena, created by the expansion or retrofitting of Pickelner Arena, using the space for a mixed-use parking garage and small shop retail or residential areas.
And finding more use for the existing Y building on West Fourth Street, such as for conference center or for residential use. The building portion housing the Y pool and gymnasium may be razed to create space for commercial development.
The project also includes possible creation of the "Williamsport Green," which is expected to foster special community gatherings.
A Green might could be a destination for art festivals, art exhibits, Santa's Village, Williamsport Outdoor Grower's Market, concerts with jazz and blues festivals and First Friday and Saturday events.
It may also serve as a place to link pedestrians between buildings downtown. A proposed retail cafe could be situated on the space close Hepburn Street.
A rendering was provided of a clock tower and main entry to the space.
Capital investment strategy and operations budget
City Finance Director William E. Nichols Jr. said to make these projects a reality the city plans to develop a three-year capital investment strategy for Council to consider.
It would include a three-year capital budget and inclusion of a second phase of bank financing.
"We're going to rank the projects in order of importance and need and establish budgets for projects, identify funding sources, set project timelines - all with assistance of Council," Nichols said.