Bethlehem’s South Side gets artsy

July 4, 2013 by  

In an effort to make the South Side area of Bethlehem appealing to visitors, city planners have proposed creating an arts walk along several streets in the town. They have also called for the creation of a Community Benefits District.

The plan for the arts walk is to use colored pavement, strings of lights, and murals to turn that part of the town into a destination. A planner for the project, Carter van Dyke, stated that the goal is to turn the area into a place with its “own identity, its own brand”. The streetscape will be paid for by Lehigh University, which has also pledged $100,000 annually for the upkeep of the Community Benefits District.

If all goes according to plan, the expected yearly budget for the district is half a million dollars. The budget will be funded by those who own property in the district and by Lehigh University, ArtsQuest, St. Luke’s University Health Network, and Northampton Community College. Property owners are expected to cover half of the budget through fees assessed by the city.

The District is not yet approved, however, and community meetings are being held to give residents and business owners a voice in the process. Flyer printing can be used to promote the meetings. At the last one, held at the end of June, property owners appeared a bit skeptical about the plans, citing concerns about vandalism and costs. The next meeting is scheduled to take place on July 10 at 7:00 pm. The Community Better District and funding for the program will be explained in detail at the upcoming meeting.