Architecture firm presents preliminary plan for Bellefonte streetscape

Bellefonte is getting ready to move to phase two of its streetscape and pedestrian safety project at the intersection of Allegheny and Bishop streets, moving toward the courthouse.

Council heard a presentation at its work session Monday night from Weber Murphy Fox on the scope and basic parameters for the project.

“There is a lot of potential for these spaces,” said Robert Lingenfelter, of the State College-based architecture firm.

Another presentation will be made to council in August or September to outline specifics and, after approval and bidding, construction will likely start next spring.

The project will look to improve safety, access and mobility, context, livability, sustainability, visual excellence and cost-effectiveness, similar to the 2009 project at the intersection of Allegheny and Howard streets, Lingenfelter said.

It will likely bring the sidewalk farther out into the street to provide increased visibility and a shorter walk for pedestrians.

The plan could also include sidewalk trees or planters for beautification and to decrease pollution.

But some council members expressed concern that the lanes wouldn’t be wide enough.

Walt Schneider said getting fire trucks through the intersection in case of emergency would be tricky.

“It gets really tight,” he said.

The curb doesn’t have to come into the street as far as the 2009 project, Assistant Borough Manager Don Holderman said, adding the concerns will be taken under consideration.

Another variable is the redevelopment of the Cadillac Building, which could have construction going on at the same time.

Holderman said developer Ara Kervandjian is aware of the steetscape project, and the efforts could possibly run simultaneously.

The streetscape project will be funded through community development block grant money and has a budget of $300,000.