Lehigh, city seek input on streetscape
Adrienne McNeil-Washington brought the Mayor’s South Side Task Force up to speed Sept. 25 with what’s happening at Lehigh University, where she works for the Community & Regional Affairs department. She reported progress on Southside Commons, Lehigh’s new housing facility for upperclassmen at Brodhead and Packer avenues, including the opening of an interim leasing office at 408 Adams St.
The city, along with the Bethlehem Parking Authority and Lehigh University, is seeking input for proposed South New Street Streetscape designs to be funded with grant money. The public is invited to open house events scheduled Oct. 17 from noon-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. at 306 S. New St. according to McNeil-Washington. WRT, the engineering firm assigned to the project will be presenting preliminary plans for the redesign of the neighborhood streetscape, including Farrington Square.
McNeil-Washington also announced the annual student Fall Southside Cleanup, sponsored by the university and SSTF, which was the first Saturday in October, and approval for four additional bus stops beginning in November.
Rich McGarr and Lora Martin, both crime prevention officers with the Lehigh University Police Dept., described their involvement with extra foot patrols funded by a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board grant to help foster better relations between Lehigh students and city residents. Their duties involve walking a beat from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends to keep student parties from annoying the neighbors. According to Officer Martin, loud music is what usually brings law enforcement involvement to these gatherings.
Janine Santoro from the Bethlehem Area Public Library listed a plethora of programs at the Southside Branch for the fall. Playdate for toddlers is scheduled on Tuesdays 11:15 a.m. - noon; for children in grades 3-8 there is Arty Crafty Kids on Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m., and for kids of all ages, it’s Snack Box Story Time on Wednesdays 11:15 a.m.-noon. The library is still seeking members for its Teen Advisory Board (TAB) and there is homework help for K-12 available at the branch. Adults can register for Computer Workshops for Entrepreneurs held on Saturdays, and Halloween Makeup with Libby Ortiz on Monday evenings. For information: bapl.org or 610-867-7852.
Bethlehem resident Stephan Antalics brought up parking issues on the south side. He passed on an observation “from a professional,” that many of the non-English speaking residents prefer to use quarters in the meters, “Because they’re not versed in how to use a credit card in a parking garage.”
“St. John’s Windish is actively discussing our parking lots,” said Rev. Suzanne Trump, “We are also looking at some programs for the neighborhood because we are no longer working with [Iglesia] Esperanza. We parted ways,” she added.
Chairman Roger Hudak, who also serves on the Bethlehem Historic Conservation Commission, informed the task force about the ambitious construction project ArtsQuest proposed for the Banana Factory and the Hispanic Center’s recently approved demolition of a parish house to make room for an ADA compliant ramp and plaza. Hudak commented “That will be glorious!” when he described the Goodman Building project.
Hudak also expressed concerns about winter parking in his neighborhood, which is adjacent to where the Community Action Development Corp. of Bethlehem (CADCB) is planning to build an affordable housing project into two hilly cul-de-sacs.
The Mayor’s South Side Task Force meets regularly on the last Tuesday of the month at Northampton Community College’s E. Third street campus.