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Allentown Center Square redesign receives a financial boost as new renderings revealed. See what it will look like.

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • A close view on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, of the...

    A close view on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, of the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Seventh and Hamilton streets in Allentown. City officials will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of the area. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • A close view on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, of the...

    A close view on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, of the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Seventh and Hamilton streets in Allentown. City officials will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of the area. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • A close view on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, of the...

    A close view on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, of the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Seventh and Hamilton streets in Allentown. City officials will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of the area. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on...

    Downtown Allentown at Seventh and Hamilton streets is seen on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Allentown will hold two meetings Thursday to get public input for a possible redesign of Center Square home to the Lehigh County Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

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The redevelopment of the intersection at Seventh and Hamilton streets in downtown Allentown received a surge of cash Wednesday.

The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority board unanimously approved an additional $750,000 to improve the intersection and preserve the 90-foot Soldiers and Sailors Monument. ANIZDA initially approved $2.5 million in 2017.

The Center Square project’s plans, which were unveiled in June, would shift Seventh Street down to two lanes and add a bike lane on one side, and eliminate one of the two lanes of Hamilton that bisect around the monument at the intersection. The extra space would create a plaza type space around the monument that could be used for public events.

Mark Hartney, Allentown’s deputy director for community and economic development, said the extra $750,000 will help ensure the project is completed by July 2025, with construction beginning this fall.

Hartney told the board that the plans emphasize safety and walkability. He said people attending events at PPL Center are going into traffic to take selfies in front of the monument.

“This will become a really great space to gather downtown,” Hartney said. “As you know, Center Square is used for all types of things, whether it’s New Year’s Eve celebrations or protests … it’s a really important public space. This will really enhance that and make it a great place to help activate the downtown.”

  • This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center...

    This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center Square in Allentown, which would reduce travel lanes for motorists while adding a bike lane through the intersection (Omnes Studio/Contributed Image).

  • This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center...

    This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center Square in Allentown, which would reduce travel lanes for motorists while adding a bike lane through the intersection (Omnes Studio/Contributed Image).

  • This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center...

    This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center Square in Allentown, which would reduce travel lanes for motorists while adding a bike lane through the intersection (Omnes Studio/Contributed Image).

  • This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center...

    This artist's rendering shows the plans for a redesigned Center Square in Allentown, which would reduce travel lanes for motorists while adding a bike lane through the intersection. (Omnes Studio/Contributed image).

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Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk said the investments made on such projects are important not just for the city, but the entire Lehigh Valley.

“Making sure that we make the appropriate levels of investment into the central business district is critical to the overwhelming success of this vibrant region,” he said.

Hartney said the project will cost $6.5 million, with $4 million coming from NIZ-related entities. That includes $3.25 million from ANIZDA, $690,000 from City Center Investment Corp. and $104,750 from the city.

The remaining $2.5 million is coming from a PennDOT reimbursement grant secured by state Sen. Nick Miller, D-Lehigh/Northampton, along with $25,000 from the city.

Hartney also gave an informational session on two future projects for the ANIZDA board that involve sprucing up two major thoroughfares downtown.

The first is Seventh Street between Linden and Chew streets. It would bring streetscape improvements, including sidewalk repairs, replacing outdated parking meters and planting trees. Hartney said that after fixing the aesthetics along Hamilton Street, it’s time to start focusing on additional streets.

“Seventh Street is the gateway downtown,” Hartney said. “This is the first impression that people see when they come downtown. The streetscape improvements won’t be as exciting or intense as we’ve done on Hamilton Street, but it really just cleans up the sidewalk.”

The other is the area around Eighth and Linden at the Spiral Deck parking garage, which would receive similar improvements. It is near the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion that is scheduled to open this year.

“These improvements are going to be located around the entrance to the Spiral Deck,” Hartney said. “For visitors coming into the city, this is going to be sort of their first impression.”

Morning 첥Ƶ reporter Evan Jones can be reached at ejones@mcall.com.

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