Work on the long-delayed and much-anticipated Lancaster Central Market streetscape project should start in April.
Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray credited Sen. Lloyd Smucker with helping get the sidewalk and road improvement project moving with PennDOT when he updated city council on the project recently.
Smucker was able to get PennDOT to move up bidding deadlines so the project could start sooner than it otherwise would have, according to Matthew Parido, his chief of staff. That would have been spring of 2016.
Jessica Mailhot, market’s manager, said the project has been a long time coming.
“We’re excited that it’s going to be starting and we’re anxious for it to be over,” she said.
Customers shouldn’t be significantly affected while work goes on, she said.
Market will be open, but customers may have to use different entrances while areas are being worked on.
Charlotte Katzenmoyer, the city's public works director, said the city looks forward to finishing the project.
"I believe the community will love the final product, but we ask for patience during this most challenging phase," she said. "Please support our market and their local businesses by continuing to shop there during the construction."
The city worked hard to get more than $2 million through federal and state grants and local donations through the Central Market capital campaign "to lessen the burden on valuable city resources," Katzenmoyer said.
The estimated $2.2 million to $2.5 million project includes new brick pavement and sidewalks on North Market Street between King and Orange streets and on West Grant Street from Penn Way to North Prince Street.
Lights embedded in the sidewalk will be added to the pavement around the market and in Penn Square near the Griest Building.
Black metal bollards will replace wooden ones and black wrought-iron benches will be placed around the market.
The intersections of King and Queen and Market and Orange streets will get new traffic signal poles.
Project plans also call for new bricks and a “poetry path” in the Heritage Quadrant — the area around the market and in front of the Downtown Lancaster Visitors Center.
Barbara Buckman Strasko’s poem, “Bricks and Mortar,” an ode to the late Lancaster artist David Brumbach, will be engraved in granite. The winding path will be designed to resemble the Conestoga River in an aerial view of the city.
The project will also include “green” infrastructure improvements and a rainwater cistern.
Lancaster Economic Action for Downtown Streets, or LEADS, will be able to use the water for the planters the group puts up in the summer.
Project bids are due at the end of the month. Once construction begins, work is expected to last about a year.
Work on the project was expected to begin the summer of 2011, but was delayed for two reasons.
One delay was associated with an underground vault for the Griest Building that house its electrical and mechanical equipment.
Walls of the vault had deteriorated and needed to be repaired before the streetscape project could begin.
The other delay was associated with PennDOT’s involvement in the project, meaning the project had to be bid through PennDOT's bidding system.
The streetscape project follows a $7 million renovation to the market itself. That project was completed in 2011.
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article said the poetry path would include bronze lettering. The lettering will now be engraved.