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Final plans to be presented for Lemont streetscape project

by MADDIE BIERTEMPFEL, Gazette intern on February 20, 2020 11:24 AM

LEMONT — The Lemont streetscape project, nearly a decade in the making, will take a big step toward completion next week when College Township presents final plans for improving Pike Street at an open house Feb. 27.

The long-awaited plan seeks to improve the visual character of the village and promote pedestrian safety by lowering speed limits and improving crosswalk accessibility, among other aims, according to township Manager Adam Brumbaugh.

“We’re also planning to discuss some constructability questions that we’re sure are going to be raised by people that attend the open house,” Brumbaugh said.

With construction set to begin in 2021, the plan includes parallel parking on both sides of Pike Street as well as sidewalks, added crosswalks and tree replacements.

Brumbaugh said the open house will allow residents to view sketches of the planned improvements, learn more about the specifics of the project, ask questions and give feedback.

The project is estimated to cost about $1.6 million — $1.14 million of which will be funded through a multimodal transportation grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The remaining cost will be covered by township funds, Brumbaugh said.

This follows a denial of funding by PennDOT in 2017 for the first round of that same grant. Now, the township is ready to move forward with secure funding.

Lemont Village Association Chair Sue Smith said she thinks the project will be beneficial to the area. Her association has previously petitioned to lower the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph, and places priority on pedestrian safety, she said.

Smith has lived in Lemont for 53 years, and said she remembers when her children could walk to school when they were in kindergarten. Although that school isn’t there anymore, she said she still thinks the area’s walkability is an important part of the township, but acknowledges there may be parking concerns.

“It’ll be a good thing for Lemont, and there will be people who are opposed to it, but I think they will decide they like it as they see what’s happening,” Smith said.

Some are concerned that the changes could alter traffic flow and parking, ultimately having a detrimental effect on local businesses.

Brumbaugh said the new plan addresses these concerns, and added that the township is open to further working with proprietors to ensure the plan doesn’t negatively impact business.

“We have worked with a couple of the property owners that have expressed concerns about parking, and believe we have come up with a few options to be able to accommodate those concerns,” Brumbaugh said.

College Township has hosted numerous forums over the past several years to address community concerns over the long-discussed project.

Next week’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at the College Township Municipal Building.

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