SHARON Planner unveils proposals for downtown revitalization
The consultant must now work up cost estimates and help the city find funding.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- Converting certain streets into boulevards lined with greenery, renovating some downtown buildings and creating pedestrian amenities are all part of a plan to revitalize the city's downtown business district.
E.G. & amp;G. Inc. of Akron, the city's planning consultant on the project, unveiled its recommendations Wednesday in 10 drawings focusing on strategic locations that will have the most visible impact, said Joseph Mazzola, an E.G. & amp;G. planning consultant.
The drawing shows the planner's suggestions for what can be done at those sites.
Some focus was on developing the banks of the Shenango River, which flows through the downtown, and there was even a suggested development site at the southeastern end of the Sharon City Centre parking lot for a small hotel.
The plan calls for new streetlighting, placing overhead electrical lines underground throughout the target area and using a theme color, perhaps blue, for street and traffic light poles, benches and decorative metal fencing.
The design plans presented to a crowd of more than 70 people in the municipal building are concepts, said Rod Garrison, an associate principal with E.G. & amp;G.
There were few criticisms of the plan, though several people spoke out against converting Porter Way off West State Street into a pedestrian-only walkway, suggesting that some businesses there need the access that Porter Way provides.
Mazzola said Porter Way could be designed for use by both pedestrians and vehicles.
The next step is to put the recommendations into a booklet form, work up cost estimates and identify funding sources, including private funds and government grants, he said, noting that the revitalization is so broad it will probably have to be done in stages.
The 10 focus areas are:
UU.S. Route 62 and Irvine Avenue: Convert concrete traffic islands into landscaped areas lined with brick borders; add new sign.
UU.S. Route 62 at Connelly Boulevard: Add sidewalks, trees and other landscaping; create a central landscaped traffic island on Route 62.
UConnelly Boulevard, Route 62 to Dock Street: New sign and a minipark with benches along Pine Run.
UEast State Street at Sharpsville Avenue: Raze two dilapidated buildings on the southwest corner, replacing them with a minipark and a fountain as well as some off-street parking; extensive use of brickwork in the intersection and sidewalks.
UEast State Street at Shenango Avenue: Renovate building exteriors on the northeast corner to reflect the 1920s architecture hidden beneath their false fronts; extensive brickwork in the intersection.
UNorth Water Avenue at West State Street: Demolish two buildings on the northeast corner behind The Phoenix Restaurant to expand parking; put in new sidewalks and an ornamental fence along the front of the parking lot.
USharon City Centre: Remodel storefronts; add landscaping along West State Street; extensive brickwork for pedestrian walkway.
UShenango Avenue: Raze the Elks building and expand parking on the west side of the street, buffering it with an ornamental metal fence and landscaping.
UPorter Way: Convert it to a pedestrian walkway; add trees and other landscaping; improve buildings on each side of the Porter Way entrance.
UPedestrian Bridge over the Shenango River at the northern end of Porter Way: Place several fountains in the river between Porter Way and Connelly Boulevard.