Main Street Star Relaid Over Durability Concern

Officials thought inlaid granite centerpiece of new Main and W. Market street intersection might not have been strong enough to withstand downtown traffic.


Contractors on Tuesday relaid the granite star centerpiece of the rebuilt intersection of Main and W. Market out of concern that the star’s bedding would not be strong enough to support traffic through the heart of the Historic Downtown, according to a report in The Express-Times.

The 50-by-30-foot inlaid Moravian star is the dominant feature of a project to improve the look of that intersection and the nearby Main Street sidewalks.

Though it was supposed to be completed by the end of October, the work is now slated to be finished Nov. 21, the newspaper reported.

That would be the day before Thanksgiving and two days before the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, which is critical to Main Street merchants who look forward to the holiday season as a time when tourists flock to the Christmas City.

The project has been plagued with problems and delays almost from the beginning. After starting a week late in June, delays mounted through the summer because of rain and difficulties from underground utilities, which were more complicated to deal with than originally anticipated.

The $600,000 project was proposed and largely financed by downtown real estate investor Liberty Property Trust, which pledged $300,000. A $50,000 state grant and private donations from other Main Street stakeholders was to pay for the rest.

The work at Main and W. Market was to be the first of a multi-year, five-phase $3.2 million project to give a facelift to Main Street from W. Broad to Church streets. Mayor John Callahan and Bob Kiel, the senior vice president of Liberty Property Trust, announced the project in April.

Staberdearth November 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM
I would not be the least bit surprised that on the initial pass they went with the lowest bidder and tried to do it on the cheap.
Bruce McIlhaney November 14, 2012 at 12:18 PM
How much more could have been done with that money for the poor? etc...Bethlehem always gets ripped off over "improvements" in that area. Witness the bricks after they were first laid.
Staberdearth November 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Now Callahan wants to tax everything that moves, spins, or just sits there even more. It is what his ilk THAT THE MAJORITY OF YOU VOTED FOR DO.
Staberdearth November 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Staberdearth 7:30 am on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 I would follow the money to private/public cozy political connections to the contractors and other awarded the work. You are quite on the mark Bruce. While a Moravian Star is nice to look at in this vicinity, no one would miss it if it was never placed there. Why not Laser project one onto the street? This sort of public works project is what politicians not beholden to your tax money and more than likely sent spendable manna from Harrisburg or maybe even Washington will do. Perhaps they saw these as those highly promoted "shovel ready" jobs...all on your tax dollar. But another example of income redistribution instead of solid business sense. Hey, the US just voted for more of this... to expand the argument from the micro to the macro... Send those who are hungry down to that intersection to see if they can find a scrap of edibility in it.
Patriot2 November 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Liberty Property Trust and the City needs to back off the rest of this project and focus their money on more directed needs for the downtown merchants---like signage and parking. Replacing the sidewalks on Main Street is a frivolous use of funds with little added benefit and more pain for the merchants. While some leveling of the sidewalks would be appropriate in certain areas around trees, there is no need to replace the entire sidewalk area along Main Street with bricks.
Barbara November 14, 2012 at 01:34 PM
This is a much needed project that had to be done for pedestrian safety as well as updating our historic city, which brings in thousands of visitors and consumers each year. Money definitely well spent and long overdue. This project was not funded by tax dollars and we should be happy that grants and donations were generously provided.
Staberdearth November 14, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Then this is positive news and a welcome change. The issue of desirable is still questionable. The downtown has a lot of innate charm and other attractive come-ons. I find this project to be gilding the lilly. If it had not been done, it would not have changed a thing in terms of visitors and tourism. There are higher impact less costly ways to accomplish this.
Anne Lawrence November 14, 2012 at 01:57 PM
What will be replacing the granite? Also, I hope the brick sidewalks are not too authentic. A look at the older brick walkways in the area will demonstrate the problems. Take a look at Wall Street and decide if that is what you want for Main. Charm is nice but safety is paramount.
Chuck Hennet November 14, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I fail to understand how a large granite star in the middle of the intersection fits in with the historic nature of the city. Is there any historic precedent for this? I understand it may look cool, but I doubt it's value historically. We should look more toward Williamsburg, VA if we want to move more toward authenticity and less toward what appears to be someone's gaudy idea of how to attract shoppers to downtown.
Patriot2 November 14, 2012 at 04:41 PM
They aren't replacing the Granite Star nor relaying that but only relaying the bricks that surround the Star that were coming loose. I would have to agree with the person regarding the historic authenticity of the star as it is neither the Bethlehem Star nor the Moravian Star but some knockoff aberation. I would agree that we should be appreciative of the contributions made to improve the intersection; but it will have zero effect on tourism and money could have been spent much better on things that would really matter matter in that regard.
patriot2 November 14, 2012 at 04:42 PM
What a waste of time and money. The city is supposed to be in financial problems - why waste money on such folishness. Besides the "Moravian Star" is really the Advent star and is only supposed to be displayed during the Christmas season
Carol Sule November 14, 2012 at 08:10 PM
what a waste of money ~ already talk of taxes going up! I dont believe that tourism will rise due to the fact we have a star on Main St. Tourists will come due to the fact that this is "The Christmas City" ~ and will admire the STAR on the mountain....not the one in the middle of the street
Kathy Chapman November 17, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I agree, I do not want trash pick up to be by one hauler.....saving taxpayer is a lie, before the ink is dry on the contract, the price of hauling trash will go UP. Anyone notice the outstanding info taxpayers received on curbside recycling....$1 a yr, now $5 quarterly.....no I have seen trash hauler strikes...using one means NO ONE gets pick up. I am sooo happy with my company. Here is an idea to save small hauler jobs, instead of WM (way too big for their britches) ....leave well enough alone. Mayor just leave office ...quietly...I didn't vote for this one, or THE LAST....!


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