For more than a century, Yorkers have been trying to transform the Codorus Creek into more than a waterway.
Groups going back at least as far as 1909 have made plans to highlight the creek as a York City asset, said Jan Herrold, a consultant working with a new group that's tackling the task.
"Who knows?" Herrold said. "Maybe we can be the one."
About 30 influential Yorkers -- businessmen, government workers, nonprofit leaders and planning advisers -- have organized themselves under the name Moving Plans into Action. In a news release Wednesday, the group revealed itself and its goal to finally follow through with decades' worth of strategic plans aimed at building a more vibrant downtown.
The idea was conceived in a casual conversation about a year ago. Four city stakeholders were talking about ways to enhance ongoing revitalization efforts for the downtown, Herrold said.
"They knew that there were all of these plans and studies out there that
had not been fully implemented," she said. "They said, 'Why don't we try to pull together the major players and see what we can learn from those plans that remain left to be done?'"
For example, a plan from the early 1900s closely resembles another plan from the 1940s, both of which identified ways to enhance the appeal of the Codorus Creek's banks. None of those ideas really came to fruition, Herrold said.
That's why the creek is one of three focus areas identified by Moving Plans into Action. Other priorities are increasing residential space in the downtown district and making the area more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly -- both of which are common threads in strategic plans dating back many decades.
Three targets: A committee has been assigned to each of the three priorities.
Geographically, Moving Plans into Action will focus on the area bounded by Codorus Creek and West Market and North George streets. It's no coincidence, Herrold said, those blocks bump up against the city's Northwest Triangle, an area targeted years ago for economic development and revitalization.
Sonia Huntzinger, executive director of Downtown Inc, said she is optimistic about the burgeoning collaboration among people who have long wanted to create "a vibrant, bustling downtown" but had different ideas about how to accomplish that.
"The priorities have always been elusive," she said. "It depended on who you talked to."
Huntzinger will chair the committee on enhancing the district's appeal to walkers and bikers.
"I think, historically, we've worked in channels and silos," she said. "My hope for this project is that we'll all know where it is we want to go and all be working collectively to get there."
As its name suggests, the group's goal is to quickly translate ideas into action, Herrold said.
"We don't need the big plans anymore. We need specific action steps," she said.
-- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.