Mayor Ray O’Connell and Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA) members cut the ribbon this afternoon opening the $1.4 million Hamilton Connector.
The project improves and beautifies this city-owned pedestrian corridor stretching from Hamilton Street to the Court Street Arts Walk. The Hamilton Connector was funded by the ANIZDA Public Improvement Investment program and is in alignment with the city’s Downtown Allentown Development and Urban Design Plan. The project was developed in conjunction with City Center Allentown and integrates seamlessly into the previous ArtsWalk projects.
Renovated corridor includes:
o New landscape areas
o Decorative paver walkway
o Rehabbed stairs
o Platforms for seating, congregating or performances.
o Enhanced lighting throughout: catenary lighting, platform/bench lighting, arts display lighting
o 2 large murals
o 2 sculpture installations
“This is a tremendous improvement to the area that makes it much more attractive and pedestrian-friendly,” said O’Connell. “One of the major benefits of this project is to provide an appealing connection between the City’s parking structures and Hamilton Street. I invite city residents to come downtown and take a look for themselves.”
“ANIZDA has been a great partner,” added O’Connell, “not just in the redevelopment of the downtown, but in providing funds for physical improvements to pedestrian access, convenience and safety.”
“Unique spaces, like the Hamilton Connector and ArtsWalk, help to foster a sense of community and belonging which is vital to the success of any thriving urban center,” State Senator Pat Browne said. “These spaces compliment the continued growth and revitalization of Downtown Allentown, providing for recreation, convenient connections to various local businesses, and serve as a welcomed addition to the already vibrant atmosphere.”
“The Hamilton Street Connector is one of a number of projects where ANIZDA is providing funds to the City of Allentown to improve the city’s public spaces for the benefit of its people,” said ANIZDA Chairman Sy Traub. “These public capital improvements are in keeping with ANIZDA’s mission to help revitalize the city of Allentown.”
“The city is growing at a rapid pace,” said Allentown Arts Commission Chairperson Jane Heft. “I applaud the city and ANIZDA for understanding that in order for our progress to be sustainable, our public spaces and creative opportunities must grow with it. I'd like to think of it as moving at the speed of life.”
The ribbon-cutting also presented an opportunity to show-off the Arts Alley improvements completed last fall on Court Street between 6th Street and N Law Street. The work took an unsightly and unappealing portion of Court Street between Symphony Hall and The Americus and turned it into a welcoming area for residents and visitors alike, extending the ArtsWalk directly to the Allentown Arts Park.
The $835,000 project included:
o New decorative sidewalks and curbing
o New pavement
o Signalized pedestrian crosswalk installed across 6th Street
o Planters with flowers and trees
o Lighting enhancements
o Trash and recycling receptacles
ANIZDA public improvement funds covered the project costs.