‘Gateway’ green space to feature historical aspects

The Russell Inn Heritage Park at East Third and Mulberry streets is another step closer to reality.

City Council allowed the administration to file a grant with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the historical and environmentally-sensitive project as part of the East Third Street/Old City Gateway Revitalization.

Besides the needed greenspace in Gateway project area, the outline of the Russell Inn and historical markers surrounding it is expected to bring attention to the original part of Williamsport, known as Old City, said William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director.

A rendering indicates panels or walls that demonstrate the history of various neighborhoods, he said, adding how the department appears to be supportive of the idea.

Additionally, the park would serve the city’s best practices as part of its stormwater drainage improvements to reduce sediment getting into the river by adding greenspace.

The final design of the park is yet to be determined pending input from neighborhood stakeholders and council, Councilwoman Liz Miele said. The design is related heavily to the funding available and any future grant funding.

Individuals with concerns about losing the existing 80 parking spaces should realize the park components can include a portion of parking, according to Councilman Randall J. Allison.

On Friday, Nichols told the Sun-Gazette nearby lots could be utilized for parking purposes.

The project also received financial support of $143,554 from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, Nichols said.

Councilman Don Noviello noted how he saw the park as an element of stabilizing effect of the area much as the city is looking to do in the Park Avenue Plan.

“Certainly, it will be connected to the Basin Street area and get us off the mark,” Noviello said. “The sooner there is a visible nature of (it) the further the interest will grow.”

Councilman Joel Henderson said getting support of the surrounding business owners is crucial for development, including a clear parking strategy and plan. “I think the idea is fantastic,” he said.


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