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In 2013, Lycoming College partnered

with city and county government to

commission a redevelopment study

called the Old City Revitalization Plan,

and together assembled a task force of

local business owners and developers to

guide the process. Consultants Thomas

Point Associates and Urban Research

Development Corporation conducted

community surveys, focus groups and

public meetings, and the resulting

recommendations were adopted by the city

in 2015.

While the plan identified five particular

initiatives within the study area, the

primary strategy specifically called for the

creation of a strong connection between

the Basin Street exit of Interstate 180 and

the Lycoming College campus edge at the

north end of Basin Street.

And the plan further called for partners

“to make public investments in order to

stimulate private investment.”


By the close of 2016, the collaboration

had already notched some early and

significant wins, and, in just the past

month, it has brought aboard two vital

new partners: The Commonwealth of

Pennsylvania and the First Community

Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania


Even as architectural plans are being

refined, the infrastructure development

needed to support the vision just received

its first major infusion: In early December

2016, state officials Sen. Gene Yaw ’70 and

Rep. Jeff Wheeland announced a grant

of $777,395 for the Gateway Project from

the Commonwealth Financing Authority

under the Multimodal Transportation

Fund. In large part due to its connectivity

to other Williamsport revitalization

projects, officials said the project made a

compelling case for qualifying for a sizable

award under this program.

“The connection between Lycoming

College and the business community


With the Summer 2016 acquisition

and demolition of a worn-out,

vinyl-sided triplex — a process

complicated by the fact that each

unit was owned by a separate

absentee landlord — the College now

owns all of the land along the west

side of Basin Street.

Here, Lycoming’s campus

planning consultants Derck & Edson

have envisioned the construction of

two three-story, mixed-use buildings

(residential units above retail and

commercial spaces) to create a

venue for the same types of “college

town” amenities that thrive on the

peripheries of campuses across the


And similar to those examples,

the College envisions a partnership

with a private developer, and has

already received early interest

from several with successful track

records in this same space. One

benefit of such an arrangement is

that the construction of this project

can occur independently of any

on-campus work, and beyond the

required roadway infrastructure

work, projects do not need to be

phased in a particular order.

Research that includes two

independent market studies — one

published by Lycoming’s Center

for the Study of Community and

the Economy in December 2014 —

suggests a litany of exciting ideas

for a tenant mix at that location,

including an Indian restaurant, a

neighborhood health center and

perhaps even relocating the campus

bookstore to a more prominent

location. These studies have also

identified an increased desire on

the part of young professionals and

empty-nesters alike to reside in

revitalized downtown environments,

with an added value being the

cachet of a college neighborhood. —

Patrick Marty

The connection between Lycoming College and the business

community will be a great step in the entire reshaping of the area


Gateway building project view from John Long Hall