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Increased safety measures an emphasis at Downtown Update
Increased safety, cohesion and food options are on the horizon in downtown York, according to speakers at the Spring 2016 Downtown Update.
Speakers from organizations including Downtown Inc and the York County Economic Alliance gave updates on various downtown projects to a group of more than 100 community members Tuesday morning at The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
Pamphlets were handed out before the presentation introducing Downtown Inc's Security Camera Matching Grant Reimbursement Program.
The program, funded by Better York, the York County Community Foundation and local businesses, will reimburse property owners and commercial tenants within the Central Business District 50 percent of external security camera installation projects, according to the brochure.
The maximum reimbursement will be $687.50 per project, and the current pool of money for the program is $26,000, according to Jody Chesla, Downtown Inc office manager.
Chesla said the current pool will allow Downtown Inc to approve installations for at least 37 properties. Installation has already begun, through Kleppers Security Source, outside Williams & Ports Architecture, at 25 N. Duke St., and Downtown Inc has received five other applications, she said.
Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted, according to the release, and more information can be found at www.downtownyorkpa.com/cameras.
Krista Darr, president of Downtown Inc's board of directors, said the program is an important step in aiding downtown business and property owners to help fight crime.
Let there be lights: LED light installations were the other safety improvement discussed during the presentation.
Tim Miller, Downtown Inc's acting executive director, said the current $1 million improvement project on the York County Heritage Rail Trail will add LED lighting, "making it the safest connector between York College and the downtown."
Miller added that the current project will also widen the trail and account for better stormwater management.
Phase 2 of the rail trail improvement project, which Miller said would start in late 2017 or early 2018, will add an extension from West Philadelphia Street to the York Armory on North George Street. That project, which has already secured more than $1 million in funding, will also include LED lights, he added.
Miller concluded his presentation by discussing early plans for a new, family-friendly corridor, which would encompass the area between PeoplesBank Park, York Academy, the new site for York County Heritage Trust and Central Family Restaurant.
Tim Fulton, Downtown Inc's program coordinator, said another project to add LED lights to the buildings surrounding Continental Square is already underway.
The project, which began more than five years ago, has raised $206,000 in funding and will add lights to the facade of seven buildings, Fulton said. The lights have already been added to the One Marketway West building.
One Marketway West: Patricia Will, a partner on the One West project, updated audience members on the renovation status of the former Bear's Department Store, which is being turned into a mixed-use residential and commercial space.
The approximately 100,000-square-foot property is being transformed into 78,000 square feet of rentable space and a 23,000-square-foot parking garage, Will said.
The rentable space will include 15 commercial units and 50 residential units. Phase 1, which included 15 residential units, was completed in March, and all units are occupied, she said.
Phase 2, which will include 23 residential units, is scheduled to be completed this summer, and more than half of the units are already reserved. The final 12 residential units will be completed next spring, Will said.
The commercial tenants include Iron Horse York bistro, one of several restaurants set to open soon in downtown York.
Food and fun: Natalie Williams, small business liaison for Downtown Inc, said downtown York is "becoming even more of a foodie paradise."
Williams highlighted several restaurants set to open or expand in the near future, including Iron Horse, which is set to open in June; World Grill, at Asian barbecue restaurant set to open at 29 E. King St. this summer; and Handsome Cab, a wine bar set to open at 106 N. George St. this summer.
Williams also hinted at a "high profile" restaurant that is preparing to announce it will move into the former Weinbrom Jewelers building at 54-56 W. Market St.
"I'm expecting a very busy ribbon-cutting season," Williams said.
The Downtown Update was bookended by presentations from Todd Fogdall, president and CEO of the Strand-Capitol, and David Smith, co-owner at i-ron-ic and WeCo Neighborhood board president.
Fogdall announced several of the theater's 2016-17 season performers, including Sarah McLachlan on Aug. 1 and the Shanghai Acrobats on Nov. 13.
Smith, wearing a pointy hat, holding a sun balloon and releasing bubbles on his way to the podium, announced a series a creek fires around the Codorus Creek that will benefit various organizations, including Punks for Positivity and YMCA of York.
— Reach David Weissman at email@example.com.