Congressman impressed with Gateway project

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, came away seemingly impressed by the East Third Street Old City Gateway Project linking Lycoming College to the Williamsport’s downtown.

The first-term congressman took a tour of the new Kraph Gateway Center building, the keystone of the project located at the southeast end of the campus, Wednesday morning.

“It’s great for Williamsport,” he said. “It’s really a great community.”

Keller, elected to Congress earlier this year, noted that he has been coming to Williamsport since he worked in the lumber industry.

He said the economic development and revitalization project demonstrates vision as a means of connecting the college to the city.

The project is expected to upgrade the neighborhood, attracting businesses and new residences.

Lycoming College Executive Vice President Chip Edmonds pointed out features of the Kraph building during the tour.

It is to includes admissions, a reception area and offices as well as the Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences to help link students to their career interests.

The Outdoors Leadership and Education area on the building’s first floor will introduce students to the region’s outdoors.

The upper floor includes a room set aside for lectures and other programs.

Edmonds said the college has worked with partners with the city, county and state to make the Gateway Project come to fruition.

Those efforts involve enhancing the area to attract commercial development around the Basin Street area.

Standing with Keller at the long row of windows looking out on the city where reconstruction of city streets is under way, Edmonds said there will soon be a more direct path from the college to the city.

“Basin Street goes to (Interstate) 180. It was one way. We have widened it,” he said.

“I think you are doing it right,” Keller said. “I see commitment and vision. These are institutions that get our future leaders ready.”