Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan announced a $3.2 million project to overhaul the sidewalks and streets on Main Street in the Downtown Historic District on Wednesday.
Phase one of the project would be improvements to the T-intersection of Main and Market streets. The sidewalks and roadway will be covered in brick pavers with granite trim, according to The Morning Call.
Adding a touch of drama, a 50-by-30-foot inlaid granite Moravian star at the center of the intersection.
After the work at Market Street is completed, the streetscape improvement project would shift north toward Broad Street. The last portion to be completed will be the southern portion of Main, which includes the and the .
The last phase would include improvements to the entrance to Main Street from the Route 378 off-ramp where a new gateway is being envisioned, according to The Express Times.
Callahan said that Main Street has not had a significant infrastructure upgrade since the mid 1970s when slate sidewalks and Victorian-era lighting was installed by then-Mayor Gordon Mowrer.
"We've dedicated probably $50,000 to $100,000 every couple of years to replacing slates and maintaining Main Street but at some point, to maintain it, you have to replace it," said Callahan in The Morning Call. "I think we're at that point now. If you want to continue to make Main Street the jewel that it is, we have to make a significant investment."
Do you agree with Mayor Callahan that Main Street, Bethlehem, is in need of an overhaul of its streets and sidewalks? Tell us in the comments section below.
The project is being seeded through a $50,000 state grant and a $300,000 contribution from developer Liberty Property Trust, which owns the mixed-use retail and office building at the northeast corner of Main and Broad streets.
The initial phase of the project is expected to cost about $600,000 and Callahan said he plans to include at least $250,000 in the city’s next capital improvement bond next year for the project. Though with $350,000 already in hand, work could conceivably begin this year.
The plans will be shown to the city's Historic Architectural Review Board as a "courtesy" next week, Callahan said.