'Lofty but tangible': Public weighs in on Codorus Creek renovation
Yorkers seem to welcome a proposed face-lift for York's "Inky Stinky," though many remain cautiously optimistic of the ambitious proposal, which has not yet secured funding.
A second public presentation was held by the York County Economic Alliance and Buchart Horn Inc. on Thursday, April 25, to display preliminary plans for the Codorus Creek project. York City Council President Henry Nixon said it was a chance to reach the public in a less formal, less intimidating environment than the January presentation at Buchart Horn.
Terrence Downs, a York City advocate who lives just outside the city, said the project seems lofty but tangible.
"Basically, we've got to put our money where our mouths are," Downs said. "I've lived through a lot of plans that grace shelves, but they get stuck."
The project proposes creating a pedestrian-friendly, attractive waterfront along the 1.4-mile stretch. The Codorus, owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, is prone to flooding, which would be accounted for in the design process.
Buchart Horn senior environmental engineer Jim Gross estimated the project would take about 10 to 15 years once construction begins and would cost between $60 million and $80 million. The next steps would entail securing funding and creating a construction plan.
York City Mayor Michael Helfrich said the project would not be funded by city taxpayers.
Karla Farrell, a West Manchester Township resident, said she regularly goes to the creek to use the bike trail. Farrell said she's excited about the project but would like to see more shade than what's presented in the illustrations.
"So when I'm riding my bike in the summer I'm not sweating," she said.
Duane Hyson, who lives in the Stewartstown area, said the project also would be good for children. It will give city kids access to a stream, he said.
Farrell said she's also pleased the project is addressing flooding, which will be an increasing concern because of climate change.
Through a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development awarded to YCEA in 2017, Buchart Horn and C.S. Davidson conducted hydraulic modeling to better understand the creek's flood patterns.
Judith Higgins, a Wrightsville resident and Democratic candidate for York County commissioner, said she's excited about the project and that the Army Corps of Engineers would be involved to address the flooding issues.
Revitalizing the creek can help tourism in the city and allow the architecture and culture to live up to its potential, she said.
Lori Yeich, a regional recreation and conservation manager for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said the project is "very large but doable."
For too long the community turned its back on the Codorus, rather than celebrating it for its economic potential, she said.
— Rebecca Klar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_.