Officials hosting a public meeting meant to garner information from West York residents about an impending streetscape project didn't exactly get the feedback they were looking for.
No residents showed up at the meeting held Wednesday night at the Reliance Fire Co. Instead, architects shared ideas on the plan with two borough council members and received their feedback.
Residents provided the ideas during a 2011 public meeting hosted by the York County Planning Commission. From there, architects with York City-based Murphy & Dittenhafer started putting the ideas to paper.
"We thought the main thing to do is to focus on creating a borough identity," said Jennifer Line, an architect designer with the firm.
Improvements: The majority of the improvements will be centered in and around the square - where West Market Street intersects Highland Avenue - and will be in keeping with the traditional Victorian and Edwardian architecture already found in borough.
Possible streetscape improvements include bump-out curbs at some intersections and near the York Expo Center, new sidewalks and pedestrian street and railroad crossings and the addition of trees along streets.
Other possible improvements include angled parking on Highland Avenue, trashcans and benches at the square and signs at borough borders.
Showing pictures of welcome signs found in other towns, Line said signs could define West York's borders and would give the borough an identity.
"Its very welcoming," she said. "It tells you you've arrived somewhere."
All too often, Shane Louthian, a councilman, said he is asked where the line is between York City and West York. As it is now, there isn't a visible defined line between the two municipalities.
Storm-water drainage issues could also be addressed and could a somewhat simple fix.
John Hershey, client manager with RGS Associates, said street trees could retain some rainwater runoff. Each tree can absorb 3,400 gallons of rainwater per year, he said.
State projects: A plan for the state Department of Transportation to pave the length of West Market Street in the borough in 2014 or 2015 could also improve ponding issues on the street.
That project could run in conjunction with the streetscape project, said Jeph Rebert, senior transportation planner with the York County Planning Commission.
Another state project could help improve the look of the borough square.
Rebert said the state plans to replace the signal lights at the intersection in 2016.
Funding: Officials plan to hold another meeting at the start of the new year to present their designs before finalizing the plans.
The design phase is slated to be completed in the spring, and construction will follow shortly after architects present their design to borough officials.
Funding for the project came from federal Community Development Block Grants.
A curb and sidewalk project in the 1300 block of West Market Street that was finished earlier this fall cost $180,000; an additional $50,000 is for the streetscape design work, according to the planning commission.
Officials have set aside $200,000 to implement the plan.
Council president Steve Herman said the improvements, coupled with a rail line that runs through the borough and nearby highways, could entice businesses to move into town.
"Our borough, as far as I'm concerned, is a marketable thing," he said.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.