In January of 2017, the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) awarded a $1,000,000 strategic grant for the Old City and East Third Street Gateway Revitalization Project of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
This project is a collaboration in revitalization between River Valley Transit, the City of Williamsport, and Lycoming College. The FCFP Board of Directors learned about the project last year during the “Once in a Century Grant” process and decided to provide critical community match dollars for the project in 2017.
“The collaborative efforts between River Valley Transit and Lycoming College have the potential to transform downtown Williamsport and further enhance a college town atmosphere reflective of a community that is home to more than 6,750 college students annually,” said Jennifer D. Wilson, FCFP President and Chief Executive Officer. “The timing of this unique opportunity could not be ignored and the FCFP Board of Directors decided to partner on this exciting project through the Williamsport Lycoming Unrestricted Fund”.
The grant will be divided equally between River Valley Transit and Lycoming College. $500,000 will be awarded to River Valley Transit for the restructuring of Basin Street to enhance traffic patterns including two-way traffic on East Third Street to Market Street and a portal entrance into the redevelopment of Old City. In addition, pathway and streetscape projects for the “Willow Street Green Infrastructure Pathway” will be created to connect Lycoming College to downtown Williamsport’s Central Business District.
William Nichols Jr., General Manager of River Valley Transit said, “This grant provides the needed catalyst to begin revitalization efforts east of Market Street and leverages a $10,000,000 project which is the final component of the Downtown Connect Williamsport Revitalization and Gateway Plan. It also provides a tremendous opportunity for the City to partner with Lycoming College and its Master Plan to redevelop Basin Street as a key economic development corridor and provide for a strong downtown connection with the College Campus.”
Lycoming College will also be awarded $500,000 toward the relocation of Franklin Street, allowing an open and more welcoming entrance to the College. Basin Street will be restructured to a two-way street to open access to the entrance of the College and introduce new retail and housing development opportunities. In addition to supporting portions of the “Willow Street Green Infrastructure Pathway.”
“Lycoming College is delighted once again to enjoy the collaboration of FCFP, and we are incredibly grateful for this generous level of support for our proposed Gateway Project. This funding will not only help to dramatically increase safety and convenience, but will help seed the studied and necessary transformation for the Lycoming College community and the Old City neighborhood alike,” said Kent Trachte, Ph.D., President of Lycoming College.
“We want the Gateway Project to stimulate a stronger bond between the city of Williamsport and the College and its students. By working together to soften the borders of our campus, our students will find natural pathways into Williamsport communities, especially the downtown, Old City and riverwalk areas. And visitors to campus will find Lycoming College an open and welcoming part of our regional fabric,” he continued.
FCFP works to improve the quality of life in north central Pennsylvania through community leadership, the promotion of philanthropy, the strengthening of nonprofit impact and the perpetual stewardship of charitable assets. In 2016, the Foundation provided over $5 million in grants and scholarships and received over $3.2 million in charitable donations. FCFP has been creating powerful communities through passionate giving for 100 years.
Photo of Lycoming College campus via Lycoming College.