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Editor's Voice: Paths to a new Middletown

Posted 6/24/14

Middletown is unusual in that it has three separate business districts. There’s the one we call “downtown,’’ along South Union Street, which has been the major commercial section of the borough for more than a century; the shopping center on …

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Editor's Voice: Paths to a new Middletown

Posted

Middletown is unusual in that it has three separate business districts. There’s the one we call “downtown,’’ along South Union Street, which has been the major commercial section of the borough for more than a century; the shopping center on East Main Street anchored by the Giant supermarket; and the small strip mall and Hardee’s on West Main Street.

 

West Main Street promises to grow as a commercial center, particularly with all the student housing that’s been built and is currently under construction across the street from the strip mall. The proposed Westporte Center, as developer Jim Nardo calls his revamped mall property, will certainly benefit from the more than 1,000 Penn State Harrisburg students who will live across the street by September and from the much-anticipated Amtrak train station that will be built at West Main and Ann streets.

 

In an attempt to get people – particularly the college students – from West Main to downtown, the borough and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plan to extend Emaus Street to West Main. There’s another proposal that also could do the trick – a walking trail and bike path from West Main to the downtown, a project that would cost about $2.7 million, with a grant funding about $1.9 million and Middletown chipping in about $820,000 in matching funds. You can read about the details in a story by reporter Dan Miller on A1 of this edition.

 

The project, along with an extended Emaus Street, will bring pedestrians from one growing commercial center to Middletown’s traditional downtown. College students will safely cross West Main over a pedestrian bridge that’s proposed to cross over the street to the new train station.

 

The entire project has grown in scope since PennDOT announced its plans to move the Amtrak stop from its current Mill Street location to West Main. Now it includes many components that promise to transform not just the West Main area but also downtown.

 

Yes, it’s taken time – the new Amtrak stop was expected to be open by now, according to the agency’s original timetable – but the project has blossomed into something bigger.

 

Already the borough is moving forward with infrastructure improvements in the downtown. Get ready for more construction, Middletown. We’re excited to see the finished product.

  

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