(2nd in a series of posts on Northside 2027)
(3rd in a series of posts on Neighborhoods)
“Just about everyone who has ever run for elected office in a city has talked about the value of neighborhoods. This is especially true in Bethlehem where neighborhoods provide the backbone of our city. Neighborhoods and the community institutions within those neighborhoods have helped to develop and maintain the quality of life that people in Bethlehem appreciate and cherish.”
So spaketh Councilman Willie Reynolds in his “Bethlehem 2017” (see the Gadfly sidebar for the full report), and back on Oct 11 he and Mayor Donchez put some spit behind those words kicking off Northside 2027 at a meeting at Liberty High School.
The program will soon have a website, but at Liberty the organizers talked of such main goals for Northside as creating a sense of place and identity, fostering economic vitality through the commercial corridors, supporting the housing market, and generally serving the neighborhood in a variety of ways.
When we talk of “Northside,” what exactly are we walking about? Take a look at the yellow section here: roughly Broad St on the south, Laurel on the north, Mauch Chunk on the west, Maple on the east.
These two sections below cribbed from the City’s call for consultant proposals will give you an idea of what’s up.
PROGRAM GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The goal of the study is to enhance the Northside 2027 neighborhood by stemming declines in housing stock, promoting homeownership, improving the visual attractiveness of the area, ensuring vehicular/pedestrian mobility and safety, strengthened community facilities and improving general quality of life in the neighborhoods.
The areas of study will at least include streetscape, traffic, recreation, community facilities, housing and population changes and commercial vitality. Recognizing the limitation of City budgets, the plan should provide a combination of capital and program improvements to balance the number of low, moderate and higher cost recommendations.
SCOPE OF WORK
– identification of trends in housing changes, programs for housing improvements and priorities for such improvements
– enhancement of the area to retain and strengthen commercial and mixed use development along East Broad and Linden Streets
– identification areas where public improvements consisting of lights, landscaping, paving, signage, and street furniture may be used to enhance the area, along with a prioritization of the projects
– a review the existing transportation system for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists and provide recommendation for improved safety and mobility
– a review the existing zoning or other ordinance provisions that apply in these neighborhoods and provide recommendations for ordinance amendments that can improve quality of life in the neighborhoods
– how existing programs within the neighborhood can contribute to maximize resources in the neighborhood enhancement process
And the City has already put some muscle behind the spit. More on that in an upcoming post.
The Gadfly selfishly wishes the line could fly three blocks north! How about a new neighborhood: “North Northside” or “Northside North” or “North of Northside.” Help me out here, folks!