The City of Allentown on Tuesday celebrated the start of the Hamilton Streetscape Improvement Project that is currently underway downtown.
In lieu of a traditional groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Matt Tuerk held a “bench bashing” event, where he took a sledgehammer to an old concrete bench that will be replaced as part of this project.
The Streetscape Project began construction April 4 and will continue through late October of 2022.
It will bring new sidewalks, curbing, lighting, trees, gathering areas, trash and recycling receptacles, bike racks, parking kiosks, pedestrian crosswalks, and benches.
The project is funded by the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA) Public Improvement Investment program and is in alignment with the City’s Vision 2030 Plan.
“This project is an example of effective public-private partnership,” said Tuerk. “We thank ANIZDA for their generous support as well as City Center Allentown, who’s our project sponsor. Once completed, these renovations will welcome people to Hamilton Street, the Lehigh Valley’s primary commercial corridor. Consistent with the Vision 2030 plan, this project will result in a more beautiful streetscape look, improved accessibility for all residents, and increased pedestrian and traffic safety.”
ANIZDA chair Sy Traub also commented.
“ANIZDA’s Public Improvement Investment Program is intended to leverage other ANIZDA investments, attract more investment to the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, improve physical connectivity, and beautify streetscapes,” said Traub. “As funder of this project, ANIZDA is pleased to work with the City of Allentown and the project sponsor to achieve these goals.”
The nearly $2 million phase one project cost is for work in the 500 and 600 blocks. It is a portion of the overall $10.7 million approved by the ANIZDA board to enhance the Hamilton Streetscape up to the 900, 1000, and 1100 blocks, areas of W. Linden, N. Sixth, and N. Seventh Streets, as well as DaVinci Science Center public improvements in later phases.
The work will proceed in phases with each section of the construction taking about 2-3 weeks for completion and will require limited lane closures, some street level parking restrictions, and sidewalk disruptions.
However, the city said businesses will remain open and accessible during construction.