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On July 26, Lycoming College joined Pine Ridge Construction Management in hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for a project that marks the next significant step in the revitalization of the Old City neighborhood in which the College is located. During the event, it announced that work was beginning on the first of two building complexes that will be constructed along Basin Street between East Third Street and East Fourth Street.
Old City Williamsport will complement the College’s investments in the Krapf Gateway Center and the Trachte Music Center in transforming the area to the south of campus into a livable, walkable neighborhood. The first of two structures will include 12 townhomes and street-level retail, while a second phase will include commercial office space, a healthcare facility, a rooftop restaurant, and a living rooftop park. A parking deck will also be constructed on the site. The College and Pine Ridge are establishing two limited liability corporations that will oversee the construction and management of the development.
The work of many College and community leaders over the past nine years has brought us to this point. In 2014, the trustees of the College approved a strategic plan that included a masterplan that envisioned a grand new entrance along Basin Street. In 2015, Williamsport City Council endorsed an Old City Revitalization Plan that had been crafted by a Commission that included local property owners, City and County political leaders, and me. That Commission documented a vision that led to partnerships, without which progress would not be possible.
Investment in public infrastructure has been critical to the revitalization of Old City. Twelve state grants and local matching funds from the First Community Foundation Partnership, the Lycoming Economic Development Foundation, the Lycoming County Commissioners, and the City of Williamsport have made possible Basin Street Boulevard, a resurfaced East Third Street with new streetscape and improved water and sanitary systems in the East End. Funding has also been secured, and planning is underway for improvements to East Fourth Street, including new streetscape, a green walkway along Willow Street, and access to the Riverwalk at the mouth of Basin Street. The powerful advocacy by Sen. Gene Yaw ’70 (R-23) in Harrisburg has been indispensable.
By 2019, we were ready for the next step — finding a developer who saw the potential for a mixed-use project on the land the College had assembled along Basin Street between Third and Fourth Streets. With the support of the trustees, we have found that partner in Pine Ridge and its CEO, Jerry Lariviere. We have been working with them now for more than a year, and we are excited to have them as the newest partner in the revitalization of Old City.
The development of Old City Williamsport is a significant moment in the history of Lycoming College, the City of Williamsport, and Lycoming County. It will be an asset to the residents of the region and the College’s students, alumni, faculty, and staff. It is also a moment to recognize the power of partnerships in bringing about transformational change.
Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D., is the 15th president of Lycoming College.