Boscola, Samuelson announce $1.5 million to improve parking in Bethlehem

HARRISBURG, Dec. 22 – State Sen. Lisa Boscola and state Rep. Steve Samuelson announced today Gov. Tom Wolf has approved $1.5 million in total funding to improve parking availability and pedestrian safety near Northampton Community College.

The governor released $1 million for the Polk Street Garage and $500,000 to Northampton Community College for a pedestrian bridge from the Fowler Family Southside Center to the Polk Street Garage.

“Bethlehem is growing fast, and with that growth comes the need for vital infrastructure. This funding will help pay for a needed parking garage in the heart of the south side,” Samuelson said. “This garage is essential to the ongoing success of our vibrant cityscape, which links retail, residential, recreation, the arts, and, of course, Northampton Community College. I thank Governor Wolf for his commitment to the economic success of Bethlehem."

Boscola agreed.

"Parking garages are critical for growth in cities like Bethlehem. This garage will spur new development, new jobs and continue to help rebuild the old Bethlehem Steel brownfield," she said.

"I want to thank Governor Wolf, Senator Boscola, Senator Browne and Representative Samuelson for the additional RACP funding for the future Polk Street garage. This brings the total RACP funding to $2 million," Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez said. "This facility is critically important to the development and revitalization taking place in the Eastern corridor of Third Street on the city’s Southside."

It will help serve the needs of Northampton Community College, Peron Development, ArtsQuest, the National Museum of Industrial History, the Charter School for the Performing Arts and future retail and residential development.

The funding will help pay for the $13 million garage project, including a pedestrian bridge to improve traffic flow and public safety, and will provide impetus for more mixed-use retail and office space development in the area.

This funding is the latest award for the 585-space garage project set for Polk and Third streets. The project received $1 million in funding from an earlier round of RACP funding in 2016.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a state program to support regional economic development projects with a positive regional impact to create jobs and support business development.