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by Patrick Marty

To the casual observer, the renaissance

had stopped short of this historic

neighborhood, which would become known

as “Old City.” But according to Lycoming

professor emeritus of art Jon Bogle, already

“the once near-derelict neighborhood had

been self-improving… spontaneously, with

no funding and scant notice by the city.”

“This turnaround didn’t happen just

because investors wanted to make money,

but because there was a core of great

buildings that drew energy and investment

to them,” Bogle wrote to city leaders in

2012. “History and aesthetics saved this


In fact, it was Bogle who coined

the name “Old City,” in reference the

oldest section of the hundred acres that

Williamsport founder Michael Ross first

laid out in 1800, centered around the

historic Russell Inn.

Bogle credits both John Albarano’s

commercial development at the foot of

Basin Street and an early historic building






The presence of one small commercial building — the Korner Kuts barber

shop — impedes the ability to directly connect Basin and Franklin Streets to

create a true four-way intersection at East Fourth Street. This misalignment has

created a dog-legged intersection that is extremely dangerous for pedestrians

and cyclists traveling onto campus and further north of Old City.

The Gateway Project calls for acquiring and razing the commercial building,

and realigning Franklin Street to ensure a seamless and direct connection to

Basin Street, and the project’s streetscape design incorporates street lights,

brick pavers and other pedestrian amenities.

More broadly, by leveraging state funding to complete transportation

improvements on Basin and East Third Streets, the city can create a strong

connection between the I-180 Basin Street exit and the campus. To that end,

the city plans to convert Basin Street from one-way traffic to a two-way

boulevard with a pedestrian island separating each lane.

Currently, a lack of sidewalks along the southern edge of campus forces

pedestrians to use parking lots to navigate through campus and to destinations

north of Old City. The project will create a network of walks that will greatly

improve safety and mobility through this portion of campus and Old City, not

only helping to remove the conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles,

but also connecting the business district to the Gateway Building and other

assets on campus. —

Teresa K. Sparacino, vice president, community/economic

development, Delta Development Group Inc.