Mikowychok indicated several planned trails would join in the Union and Basin property.
The downtown traffic improvements include $300,000 for contracted services and $1.1 million for construction contracts.
“We’re looking at the traffic issues that are going to arise not only with the arena but also with the added jobs that are coming to downtown Allentown,” explained Craig Messinger, the city’s interim public works director.
“Our plan is to make sure that it’s done by September.”
Messinger said the area for traffic improvements is between 4th and 12th streets, south to Union Street, north to Chew, plus north on 7th Street “all the way to the city line.”
He explained the project won’t make major roadway changes, but will focus on the timing of traffic lights to improve the flow of vehicles into and out of center-city – including when thousands of people simultaneously will be leaving hockey games and other events in the new arena at 7th and Hamilton.
Messinger said the city has identified 35 intersections that will be included in the project.
Dog and skate parks
The city proposes spending a total of $300,000 to create dog and skateboard parks, but Mikowychok said those parks won’t be created this year.
Dougherty said the parks director is trying to find matching grant opportunities. He said the parks department also is researching what constitutes a state-of-the-art and “hip” skate park.
Dougherty asked for council’s assistance to find suitable locations for the skate park “and a dog park or two.”
The administration proposes spending $200,000 for a portable ice skating rink, with synthetic ice, that would be erected somewhere in center city during winter months.
“We are looking at various locations,” said Dougherty. “What size and where I can’t tell you now. But now we have the money to make it happen for our residents.”
Mikowychok, who in investigating the purchase, said a rink with synthetic ice saves the city the cost of buying a Zamboni to resurface the ice for skating.
He said it will have to be at least 70-by-90-feet for basic family skating.
“It’s certainly not a hockey rink,” he said. “This is for recreational skating.”
The parks director said it is too soon to say if the ice rink will be operational by next winter, because site selection work still has to be done.
City officials hope the rink will be free, although Mikowychok said there could be a rental concession for ice skates. He said it’s not yet been determined if the city will need to hire someone to manage the rink.
Stevens Park renovations
A total of $300,000 is earmarked for Stevens Park at 6th and Tilghman streets.
Half that money will be used to add a spray park so children can play in water in the summertime.
The other $150,000 will be used to rehabilitate the park, including a new pavilion and playground, security improvements and landscaping.
“Stevens Park is long overdue for its renovation,” said Dougherty.
Mikowychok said the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is contributing $250,000 to that project, which he anticipates will be completed in 2015.