Saturday, June 21, 2008

News---Gettysburg's Steinwehr Avenue Business Alliance Sets Sights on $30 Million Renovations

'Gettysburg's Boardwalk': Planning Remake Of Steinwehr, Erin James, Evening Sun Reporter, June 20, 2008.

Steinwehr Avenue is in need of a new look, new infrastructure and a new generation of tourists, they say. Project leaders will use the $215,000 primarily for the study and creation of a comprehensive plan. But when the planning phase is over and implementation begins, revitalization could cost as much as $30 million, said Bill Kough, chairman of Main Street Gettysburg, which is coordinating parts of the project. "It could be well above that even," he said.

When planners decide what they want to do, the potentially multimillion-dollar project would be funded mostly through grants. On Thursday, officials announced that they had secured enough funds to pay the Mechanicsburg-based Delta Development Group as a consultant to construct a comprehensive plan during the next eight to 10 months.

But the effort to improve one of Gettysburg's most prolific commercial hubs dates back to more than a year ago. In May, the Steinwehr Avenue Business Alliance formed with a mission to plan for the future of the street. A revitalization project became a top priority, and officials said in September that they were collecting money and applying for grants with the hope of securing about $200,000.

The comprehensive plan will dictate what changes are made, but officials have already identified some areas of need. For example, the street's sidewalks vary between concrete and brick. The walkway is broken up in some places.

Paul Witt, who owns the America's Best Value Inn, said he'd like to see brick sidewalks all along Steinwehr Avenue. The same goes for consistent signage along the street and the elimination of utility poles, Witt said. "We're trying to get more of a constant look, an upgraded look," he said. "This is kind of like Gettysburg's boardwalk in a way."

The revitalization project could extend as far as facade improvements to buildings along Steinwehr Avenue. The $215,000 in funds came from a variety of government and community sources. Many of the businesses on Steinwehr Avenue also contributed to that total. In October, the Gettysburg Borough Council endorsed the plan to seek grant money for the revitalization project. On Thursday, Borough Council President Dick Peterson said the project is long overdue.

"It's about time that we do something for this street because I'm afraid it's going to wither," he said. Some have worried that Steinwehr Avenue will experience decreased business from tourists now that the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center - once located just down the street - has relocated off Baltimore Pike.

Whether they share those concerns or not, project officials said Thursday that the ultimate goal is to attract more visitors to the street and its businesses. "We're trying to get more people here," Witt said. Main Street Gettysburg spokeswoman Deb Adamik said public support and input for the project will be crucial. "This process is going to include the community," she said.

Contact: Erin James at
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Photo: Masonic Monument on Steinwehr Avenue by NPS.

CWL: Steinwehr Avenue commerical district will not be going down the tubes because the Visitors Center moved a mile away. Family food, gas, and Pickett's Charge will still be the main draw. CWL hopes the Steinwehr retailers' alliance will skip the brick sidewalks and bury the powerlines on both side of the street and the Taneytown Pike from Steinwehr to the visitors center.

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