Just three months after asking the public for ideas, architect Frank Dittenhafer is ready to unveil his plan for rejuvenating Continental Square in York City.
For now, only a handful of people know what he's come up with. On Wednesday, everyone is welcome to check it out.
Dittenhafer and the York County Community Foundation's Beautiful York Committee will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers at City Hall, 101 S. George. St.
"I think that he hit the mark," said Jane Conover, the foundation's vice president of community investment. "Thumbs up. We're excited about it."
The foundation hired Dittenhafer earlier this year to take over the Reclaim Continental Square project after parting ways with a Philadelphia-based firm that started the re-design about a year ago.
At a meeting in June, Dittenhafer said it's been nearly 50 years since anyone has done anything significant to improve the square's attractiveness or functionality. Despite its rich history and fantastic architecture, Continental Square has been reduced to an intersection that happens to sit at the center of town, he said.
Without revealing specifics, Conover said Dittenhafer's concept achieves the foundation's goal of turning the square into a "gathering place" that attracts business to downtown York.
"I'll just say that one of the key themes to it is to simplify the look so that the visitor to the square can actually appreciate the beautiful historic architecture and not feel like there's a lot of obstacles in their way to navigating the square," she said.
Conover said the public will be interested in how Dittenhafer proposes to use water features and capitalize on the square's historical significance. In June, Dittenhafer had also talked about ideas for the comfort stations, underground restrooms on the square that date to 1929.
Assuming the idea goes over well, the project will soon transition from a concept to a design phase, Conover said.
When that's finished, the community foundation will begin fundraising. There's not yet a cost estimate associated with the project, so a fundraising goal has not been set, she said.
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