Allentown shows off plans for Center Square redesign at 7th and Hamilton streets
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Big changes appear imminent in Center City Allentown after officials revealed the first renderings of a redesign at Seventh and Hamilton streets.
The revamped design of Center Square is set to include the entire intersection and public rights-of-way, with the Soldiers and Sailors monument remaining as the focal point of a new plaza in the “historic center” of Allentown, officials said Wednesday in a Facebook post.
“This civic plaza celebrates the centrality of the monument, while prioritizing the natural flow of traffic and pedestrian safety around it."Allentown officials on social media
The city and representatives from Omnes Landscape Architecture held two public meetings last year at the city’s busiest and most prominent intersection, where residents laid out what they want to see included in the project.
Omnes Landscape Architecture’s renderings show the plaza near the Lehigh County Government Center — at the southeast corner of the intersection — would be extended over the traffic lane that directs drivers to the right of the monument.
“This civic plaza celebrates the centrality of the monument, while prioritizing the natural flow of traffic and pedestrian safety around it,” officials said on social media.
Using the extra pedestrian space
The plaza in front of Two City Center — which houses Starbucks, Sports & Social and many other businesses at the northeast corner — also would be expanded to take over the left-turn lane on Seventh Street.
That part of the redesign project was not up for debate, but officials and designers asked residents to weigh in how they want to use the extra space that’s being created for pedestrians.
The project will be funded by grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone’s Public Improvement Investment Program.Allentown officials
Ideas included using the space for dining, seating, farmers markets and festivals, while some called for enhanced pedestrian safety measures, spaces for gathering, and better lighting.
The project at Seventh and Hamilton streets will be funded by grants from the state Transportation Department and Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone’s Public Improvement Investment Program, officials said.
The special taxing district — the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania — lets some Center City Allentown businesses keep tens of millions of dollars in state and local taxes each year.
Officials said they expect the project to be finished by the end of 2025.