‘Main Street America’ Task force walks through model
Southside Arts District Manager Missy Hartney brought members up to speed on how her organization works to aid in the revitalization of the commercial district south of the Lehigh River at the Mayor’s South Side Task Force Feb. 26 meeting.
Hartney explained that they follow the “Main Street America” organization’s model with a four point approach. She mentioned she is looking to recruit more area volunteers to serve on committees that focus on streetscape design, organizing fundraisers and volunteer base, increasing economic vitality for neighborhood businesses, and promoting a positive image for the Southside.
This year, Hartney announced, they are stepping up their efforts toward making the Southside an accredited main street program. “We would become a role model, basically, for other business districts across the country,” she said.
“We have the Spring Southside Cleanup coming up on April 13,” Hartney announced. She said Spring on the Southside is scheduled for April 25, with a chili competition and two beer gardens.
“We are about to launch a mural arts program,” said Hartney. She explained that they are expanding on the pop-up temporary murals that adorned the Greenway last year. This year, those five murals are to be displayed permanently on the walls of area businesses. Easels will also be installed along the Greenway to create gallery space for temporary artwork, as well as “story blocks” for the library’s juvenile reading programs, according to Hartney.
State Rep. Steve Samuelson (D) announced that he and fellow state Rep. Thomas Murt (R) have recently introduced bills that would reform the process of drawing up congressional and legislative districts. He said there is bipartisan support for the 2019-20 redistricting proposal for both state and federal districts to be established by an independent commission.
Donna Taggart introduced herself as the community outreach liaison for The Sands. She said they are hoping the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approves the sale of the Bethlehem property in time for summer. “‘Wind Creek’ will be the new name,” said Taggart. She said, “The new owners are very community-minded.”
Janine Santoro from the Bethlehem Area Public Library Southside branch listed several free programs, including “Harry Potter Night” March 19 at 6:30 p.m., and “Spring into Simplicity!” organizing workshops by Robin Stankowski on Mar. 23 and April 6 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. Ongoing programs at the branch include “Fearless Spanish,” crafts, baby and toddler “Play Dates,” and Saturday movie matinees.
Adrienne McNeil-Washington from Community & Regional Affairs at Lehigh University said construction on the new science building will begin in June on the site of the Whitaker Lab parking lot at Morton and Webster streets. She also highlighted a lecture by Judy Woodruff, from PBS NewsHour, on “Speaking Across Political Differences Today in America” scheduled for 8 p.m. March 19 at Zoellner.
Representing the Steelworkers’ Archive, Susan Vitez promoted their upcoming Saturday “Steel Walker” tours beginning Apr. 6 through Dec. 2. Former steelworkers serve as guides and the walking tours can be booked through ArtsQuest. She mentioned the “Steeples and Steel” mini-bus tours are scheduled for June 29, Aug. 31, Sept. 21, and Nov. 2.
Flanked by Lehigh University police officers, Lora Martin and C.R. Stokes, Officer David Horvath, Bethlehem’s Southside Community Police Officer discussed the working partnership between city and university law enforcement.
Horvath also mentioned that to the best of his knowledge, parking at the New Street garage was free for the first half hour. “Supposedly,” he quipped. For longer than that, the rates were $1 per hour and can be paid by cash or credit card at the kiosks in the garage.
Hartney interjected that parking permits for the permit lots cost $40 per month. She said workers on the South Side can purchase employee parking permits for $50 for the year. She advised calling the city parking authority for more information.
Rev. Suzanne Trump from St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church announced that traditional Windish food will be available for sale at the church’s community bingo game April 6.
Chairman Roger Hudak announced a St. Joseph Feast Day Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. March 23 at St. Joseph’s Church located at 417 E. Fifth St. with luncheon to follow.
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. The meeting scheduled for January was canceled due to inclement weather.