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Improvements marked for busy Muncy intersection

By Staff | Jul 8, 2015

Muncy Borough workers are barricading the old Myers Auto Building that is scheduled for demolition next month on the corner of Main and Water Streets.

MUNCY – Muncy is part of Lycoming County’s 50 year old Heritage Plan. The town’s historic resources and architecture have identified it as a site for historic preservation. Future plans for improvements to downtown Main Street were announced at a public outreach meeting held on Tuesday, June 23 at Orlando’s Market & Deli on South Main Street in the Borough of Muncy. Held in partnership with the County, the Muncy Borough and STEP, Inc., representatives explained the process of “Moving Muncy Forward.”

The main focus was the major intersection at Main and Water Streets, and 3 properties, the Myers Auto Building, the Ritz Theatre and the Mozley Opera House. Environmental results were reviewed from the Brownfield assessments as explained by Muncy Borough Manager, Bill Ramsey. “Everything will be interconnectedtaking baby steps to get things done,” he said.

A grant has been issued from EPA for $550,000 to identify sites that are being underutilized. Muncy Borough is part of three partners involved with the grant. The other two are the City of Williamsport and the County.

The three identified Muncy properties are under “Phase One” of the study with some existing environmental concerns that may include storage tanks, asbestos and lead base paint. An overview was given by project director, Robert Goldman from TRC headquartered in Philadelphia. “The Opera House is a beautiful building,” he said, “and the Ritz was buit in 1923.” The former Myers commercial building originally built in 1895 has been empty for some time. “We found 4 above ground storage tanks, staining on wood floors from auto operations, asbestos pipes, and too many weak supports,” said Goldman.

The barricaded building is scheduled for demolition sometime in August now that it has been purchased by the Muncy Borough for $85,000 using Act 13 funds according to Ramsey. Future plans will be a temporary greenspace until necessary funding is secured for further development to make the intersection more safe for pedestrians. The borough is in the process of accepting bids for the demolition which will include the asbestos removal. All three properties are in a transition process.

PHOTO BY BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Mark Murawski, County Transportatiton Planner and Rachelle Abbott, Chief Planning Officer with STEP, Inc. were representing supportive services during the public outreach meeting "Muncy Moving Forward" on June 23rd held in Muncy at Orlando's Market & Deli.

Mark Murawski, transportation planner with the County, discussed the intersection as being “basically a choke point” and has been addressing the issue for 29 years. “More growth is planned in the area. There’s no big league growth with a little league intersection,” he said emphatically.

Two times this intersection has been turned down for funds by PennDot. “This has got to get done.”

Studies and traffic counts are now being done on municipal ordinances and what effect they will have on the area’s road systems. “Eighteen of the 21 intersections will fail if even one third of the growth is allowed to occur,” Murawski added. 1200 vehicles per hour cross the intersection during peak times, much of it being truck traffic. “Imagine if it tripled,” he added. “The infrastructure needs built. It is too antiquated.”

A plan is in place to replace the traffic signal system with newer technology, better defined crosswalks, required signage and ADA compliancy. Another application has been sent to PennDot for the light.

Physical mprovements are expected to begin in 2017, and a comprehensive county update will be given this fall. Zoning ordinances are expected to be completed early 2016.

PHOTO BY BARB BARRETT The former Myer's Auto Parts building, the Mozley Opera House and the Ritz Theatre have been declared designated brownfield sites and are currently part of the Lycoming County Heritage Plan. They will be revitalized for further development.