Bethlehem talks Delaware Avenue overhaul

Plans, cost discussed at community meeting

Example of 340 Delaware Ave. in Delmar before and after further improvements.

Example of 340 Delaware Ave. in Delmar before and after further improvements.

— Bethlehem officials are looking to make investments in the Delaware Avenue corridor to improve the street and attract a steady stream of customers to Bethlehem businesses from the City of Albany.

Supervisor John Clarkson held a third community meeting on Monday, April 15, at the Elsmere Fire Station for Elsmere and Delmar residents, and the streetscape upgrades were discussed. Officials focused on improvements they’d like to see come to fruition in the near future that were outlined in the Delaware Avenue Hamlet Enhancement Study.

“I’m very committed to providing for this investment,” said Clarkson to a group of about 30 people. “Interest rates are low, Delaware Avenue is the town’s main street and I think it makes very good sense to invest at this time.”

Suggestions made in the plan include upgrades to sidewalks and the addition of bicycle lanes, as well as decorative lighting and better landscaping along the road.

Town Director of Economic Development and Planning Mike Morelli said the town may soon be using some of the aesthetic suggestions in the study as guidelines for private proper ty owners. Officials would work with business owners to start slowly implementing the plan through code changes. Some ideas include requiring business signs to be more relative to their trade or instituting “hamlet” signs that overhang buildings. Officials would also like to see parking in the rear of buildings, entrances placed towards the front of buildings so they are more visible from the street and wider setbacks from the street to allow for outdoor cafes or courtyards.

The study also calls for the beautification of the railroad overpass to act as a gateway to the town. A partnership with the school district was suggested to have a mural painted by art students on one side of the overpass, with trees and a garden are placed on the other.

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