Yes, I said $12 million. That is the estimated cost to implement the Baltimore Street Historic Pathway and Revitalization Master Plan that was unanimously approved by Borough Council in February.
The Master Plan was developed by more than 80 residents, property owners, business owners, and stakeholders in the community. The objective is to expand our economy by attracting more residents, businesses, investors and visitors to downtown.
Safety and lighting united the Baltimore Street community as they created a Master Plan to make the Baltimore Street corridor more pedestrian-friendly. This includes wider sidewalks, safer crosswalks, additional lighting, bike amenities and a “collective strategic parking” approach. Public amenities will address improved infrastructure, storm water management, and ADA compliance. Visually, adding flower baskets, heritage lights, and highlighting the history of Baltimore Street with sculptures and a pathway lined with the Gettysburg Address is planned. The most important pedestrian amenities will be public bathrooms and multi-modal means of traveling. New bike racks have already been designed and Tom Jolin, spearheading this initiative, has already received several requests from property owners to purchase the $300 racks.
There are often assumptions that Main Street Gettysburg (MSG) receives money from the federal or state government because of their association with Main Street America or the Pennsylvania Downtown Center program. This is not the case. Consequently, a lot of time is spent communicating the needs of the community, the importance of the projects planned and frankly, the valuable leadership role that MSG plays in developing the master plans and seeking funding.
For example, on May 18th, MSG hosted a meeting that gathered representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, PA Department of Community and Economic Development, Adams County Planning, elected officials from Congressman Perry’s office, Senator Bob Casey’s Office and Senator Toomey’s office and the Borough staff to jointly discuss how to create a strategy to raise $12M to achieve this project. The meeting was successful and the first step in many discussions that will follow.
On June 14, MSG hosted their annual meeting for corporate donors. Fifty community leaders, Senator Alloway, Representative Moul’s assistant, Acting Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park, Chris Stein, Gettysburg Foundation’s Dr. Matt Moen, and Deputy Secretary of DCED Rick Vilello joined this community discussion that showcased the need for $12M for this important project.
Deputy Secretary Rick Vilello provided closing remarks at the breakfast meeting and conveyed that he understood the funding challenges outlined in the presentation. As prior Mayor of Loch Haven, Rick knew that government funding streams have dried up. However, he reassured us that while it might be complicated and difficult, if this community continues to unite, as he was witnessing at this meeting, he was confident that we could create a successful funding strategy. He also acknowledged how impressed he was with all of the diverse representation of the community attending the meeting.
MSG, the Borough’s economic development arm, is the only non-profit whose sole purpose is preserving, maintaining, and revitalizing downtown physically to make it more attractive to its residents, businesses, investors and visitors. The answer to raising $12M; continue the hard work of gathering the experts and the community to remind them that we need their financial help and together we can raise $12 million.