Installation of new decorative lights started going up along the Boulevard this week, part of the revitalization work that is being done in phases to the upgrade the borough's downtown shopping area.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the new black globe lights had been placed on the west side of the Boulevard between Jefferson and Hamilton avenues. Lights will still need to be put up on the east side in that two-block section.
Installation of lights and also the planting of new trees are some of the final steps in this current phase of the ongoing revitalization project. The project began in July with the construction of new sidewalks and brick pavers. New benches and trash receptacles will also be among the final steps.
A variety of trees were planted last week in this two-block section of the Boulevard. Original plans called for the planting of one type of tree – the kwanzan cherry - but after some input from business owners, the borough worked with its engineer to find different types of trees that would work for this area and add variety in the landscape, according to Borough Administrator Mike Kronyak.
Instead of just planting all kwanzan cherry trees, which are known to not grow very tall but have a wider canopy, the borough planted six of them along with eight honey locusts and five blackgum trees which will grow larger vertically, he explained.
The work to revitalize this two block section of the Boulevard – Jefferson to Franklin to Hamilton – represents phases three and four of this ongoing project. The first two phases – Washington to Kipp to Jefferson – were completed about two years ago.
To date the borough has spent about $590,000 in grant funding from the state Department of Transportation towards these four phases and about $160,000 of its own funds towards engineering and additional costs. The borough has received grant funding in stages, applying for one phase, or one block at a time.
The borough has received state funding for five phases. The fifth grant will go towards future work to revitalize the next block up – Hamilton to Walter. Plans to apply for a sixth grant to fund work for Walter to Division is also in the works.