The Park Avenue plan will be reintroduced | News, Sports, Jobs

On hiatus while the Williamsport City Council focused on the pandemic and other pressing issues, the topic of revitalizing Park Avenue areas recently resurfaced.

Councilor Eric Beiter, chair of the economic revitalization committee, asked for an update on the plan, to which August “To jump” Memmi, director of the community and economic development department, responded that the city has continued to consult with UPMC on this matter.

“We are waiting for resources” Memmi said, alluding to potential funding from the Redevelopment Authority/Land Bank, using a

part of nearly $25.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Any plan would involve the mayor and subsequent council leadership, he said. Mayor Derek Slaughter said revitalizing the Park Avenue neighborhood is among his administrative goals.

In 2019, ideas were shared at the YMCA on how to improve the blocks included in the Park Avenue plan.

At the open house, the city and Ingalls Planning & Design came up with a draft plan which was not pursued.

For two years, Matt Ingalls and his team of urban design consultants gathered information from potential stakeholders, particularly residents who live in the project area.

The plan encompasses Park Avenue, between Hepburn and Walnut streets, and dips south toward Little League Boulevard, heading north to Brandon Avenue.

It could also expand to involve areas further east of Market Street and connect to pristine locations, such as Brandon Park, further connecting blocks to downtown.

The aim of the plan was to provide the council with ideas that could help this part of town, frequented by crime and destroyed buildings – many of which are low-income rentals – to become a healthier, more vibrant and more valuable part. from the city.

Beiter noted that the expansion of UPMC and its status as a trauma center and the ability to bring affordable housing to the area were important factors moving forward.

Preserve and maintain, but not expand, the existing stock of income-eligible housing, Ingalls said.

The draft plan was reviewed by Memmi.

Among the ideas it contained were the protection and expansion of well-maintained housing clusters, while finding areas for improved housing.

One of the concepts is to integrate UPMC into an urban landscape design for the benefit of both the hospital and the residents.

The upgrades would improve downtown connectivity with better sidewalks and streetscape that will eventually give the section its own identity.

Contributing partners provided an initial amount of $85,000 to launch the plan.

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