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Plans for improving the Codorus Creek have been tossed around by members of the community for more than a century, according to York County Economic Alliance CEO and President Kevin Schreiber.

With the help of a $500,000 grant, those ideas may soon be a reality. 

The YCEA is holding a public input session 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, to discuss and announce proposed improvements along a 1.4-mile stretch of the Codorus Creek. 

The informational session will be held at Burchart Horn, 445 W. Philadelphia St., one of the firms involved in the project. C.S Davidson Inc. is also involved in the project. 

$500K grant: YCEA was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development at the end of 2017 to contract design work on Codorus Creek improvements, Schreiber said. 

"As a community, there's about 100 years worth of various iterations of concepts of what could be done with Codorus, going back to the early 1900s," he said.

The grant money let the YCEA do what hadn't been done before: hard engineering. 

The land is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the army's main concern is the creek's capacity for flooding, Schreiber said. 

The contracted firms worked with the Army Corps on hydraulic modeling — "a fancy phrase for figuring out the flow of water," he said. 

With a better understanding of the flood potential, designs can now make the creek the "park-like amenity it always should have been," Schreiber said. 

Economic potential: Schreiber called the creek the "common thread throughout the community."

Along it run some of the most prominent York redevelopment projects, including the new neighborhood of homes near Saxton Park, Logos Academy, the upper and lower schools of York Academy and, just a bit further away, the proposed United Fiber and Data center, he said. 

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In total, Schreiber estimates there's "easily over $50 million" and possibly up to $100 million of development along a 1.4-mile stretch of Codorus Creek. Improving and beautifying the creek will only amplify economic growth, he said. 

"We know people congregate to water," Schreiber said. "And every city with a waterfront that has been able to improve their waterfront has been able to improve their economic growth and activity."

A general rendering of the potential project is available on the Facebook event page. More detailed renderings will not be released before Tuesday's informational session, he said. 

— Rebecca Klar can be reached at rklar@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_ 

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