Parking Authority seeks signage help
With the city’s Walnut Street garage at the edge of the historic district, the Historical and Architectural Review Board weighed in on proposed wayfinding signs for 33 W. Walnut St. Bethlehem Parking Authority operation managers Jeremy Alleshouse and Steve Fernstrom came to the Oct. 2 meeting seeking board opinion on the sign designs and placement.
According to Alleshouse, the new parking signs are part of a city-wide program to achieve continuity with municipal signage. He explained the red, blue and white style of the streamlined signs would incorporate the “circular ‘P’,” the universal symbol for public parking, and would replace older signs that spell it all out.
A new “Walnut Street” sign would be installed on the brick façade over the parking garage’s main entrance. Others would be ceiling-mounted under the pedestrian bridge.
The board noted the long tapered edge of the new rectangular design would not be appropriate for an older building, but granted a certificate of appropriateness for the modern structure, stipulating that it would be installed in mortar joints and all extraneous signage be removed with the holes patched.
Fernstrom presented printouts of the new mural proposal for the façade that flanks a glassed-in staircase. He explained the previous artwork, painted on plyood that had deteriorated, was torn down. Some of the graphics on the concept sketch depict the Central Moravian Church cupola, a quilt and Bethlehem Steel furnaces.
During the public comment forum, resident and business owner Bruce Haines was critical of other elements of the submitted design, such as two girls eating out of metal bowls, as too “generic” and not focused on the history of the north side. Haines said he didn’t want to see a proliferation of murals within the historic district.
Representing the Moravian Book Store at 444 Main St., Amber Donato, from Moravian College, was awarded a COA for a roof screen for the rear of the brick building. Donato explained the 40-inch high medium bronze aluminum louver system was need to screen air conditioning and other rooftop equipment from view from Heckewelder Place. Approval was given for two black gooseneck lamps to illuminate an existing hanging sign at the front.
Donato was instructed to return with scale drawings and an alternative lighting solution for her proposed strip light at the front of the book shop facing Main Street. Her presentation featured a modern LED linear down light installed to the underside of the ceiling at the front edge of the entrance alcove. Beth Starbuck opined the strip lighting for the grand entrance wasn’t historically appropriate. Others, like Marsha Fritz and acting historic officer John Lee, were intrigued by the idea, but said the aluminum base of the strip light should be concealed behind the fascia and not be visible from the street.
Having previously been granted a COA for a six-foot high aluminum backyard fence for 14 E. Market St., Glenn Kershaw returned and was allowed to change it to a four-foot high fence. Kershaw explained the black powder coated picket and spear top style was, at his wife’s request, more decorative than the previous design. The fence and two gates would remain in the same locations as previously submitted. He and his wife Whitney own the home and decided their cat is too old to jump over a four-foot enclosure, so the taller fence was unnecessary.
The commissioners approved vinyl window and marquee signage for Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop at 462 Main St. Representing the new business venture, owned by Christopher Beers, was Bruce Haines, managing owner of the Hotel Bethlehem across the street. He was accompanied by Brian Rodenbach from Valley Wide Signs.
The vinyl Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop logo in medium blue in serif lettering with a thick white outline appears in the middle panel of a three-panel shop window. Vinyl signs, with blue serif lettering and pinstripe, and white background, would be installed in each of three transom panels located above the storefront window. These spell out “Unique Gifts,” “Nostalgic Candy” and “Glass Bottled Soda Pop.” Haines pointed out these and a marquee sign with “Hotel B Ice Cream and Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop” in red and black on white background are similar to the signage for the ice cream parlor on the other side of the building’s façade.
The building is owned by Peter Colicky.
The Historical and Architectural Review Board regularly meets the first Wednesday of every month to review all exterior changes proposed to buildings in the Bethlehem Historic District north of the Lehigh River. When a proposed project receives a certificate of appropriateness from the board, applicants must wait for City Council to vote on it before proceeding.