York streetscape project to resume this spring

The fourth phase of York’s ongoing downtown streetscape improvement project is expected to begin this spring along West Liberty Street.

The improvements — which include replacing sidewalks, putting down brick pavers and adding new lighting — will be installed along West Liberty, from Main Street to White Rose Lane.

City Manager Charles Helms said he expects the work to begin in late February or early March, after the state has approved the project and contracts are signed. The York City Council recently awarded a $189,000 bid for sidewalks, brick pavers and conduit for lighting to Lee’s Hauling and Grading.

When the sidewalk work is completed, Helms said the city will contract with Duke Energy to finish the project by installing new lighting for about $200,000. He expects the entire project to take four to five months.

“It keeps the town where it’s welcoming to people,” Helms said. “You see that the town takes pride in the town. It’s an attraction to promote business and people being in York. That’s our goal.”

The city last year received a $500,000 grant from the state Department of Commerce to complete the project. Three previous phases of streetscape work have already been completed. All of the work has been funded by grants.

Mayor Eddie Lee said the York council “has always believed that downtown is more than just one street.”

“This streetscape grant proves that point, because it goes down West Liberty, toward the Garden Cafe,” Lee said. “This proves our downtown is a geographic area that goes beyond one street and one corner.”

The project began in the early to mid-1990s along Main Street, where improvements were made from the square at Liberty Street to Madison Street, Helms said. The second phase was along South Congress Street, from Main Street to Jefferson Street, and the third phase was along East Liberty Street, from Main to Gardner streets, he said.

Helms said property owners in the affected areas have been notified. “We work very hard to make sure everything is opened back up,” he said of the construction. “We’re not going to interrupt business.”

When the weather gets nicer, Lee said the attractive streetscape improvements help encourage people to visit downtown.

“We want people to visit the downtown, and that’s what the streetscapes are designed to do,” Lee said. “Many cities want them and covet them, and we have been successful to get them. It makes it attractive, the lighting makes it safer and it increases foot traffic.”

The design for the streetscape was approved by the City Council after public meetings and input from the city’s Downtown Business Association, Chamber of Commerce, York County and the community.

By Jennifer Becknell, Staff Reporter with the Enquirer-Herald