Easton Breaks Ground For New City Hall
Officials praise $26 million office/transportation project on S. Third Street.
With the earth still frozen and site preparation delayed by 45 days, Friday's groundbreaking for Easton's new intermodal center—home to the next city hall —was largely symbolic.
There were speeches, a lot of thank yous, and about 20 city and state officials lined up with shiny shovels, digging in pre-dug dirt.
Still, those officials said the intermodal is an important symbol: of Easton's revitalization and of cooperation among government agencies and mayoral administrations.
"It was a puzzle," City Councilman Ken Brown said of the project, which has existed in some form for 12 years. "And as each mayor left office, the next one had to pick it up and make sure the pieces fit."
Now, with construction set to begin, Brown said those pieces not only fit, "they're glued together."
When finished, the intermodal will become the new home for city government, LANTA offices, a bus terminal, and a new 375-space parking deck.
The project is being paid for by a mix of state and federal grant money, and through a $10 million city bond. The city hopes to recoup some of that money by selling the Alpha building, the current city headquarters.
State Sen. Bob Mensch said the project is an investment in economic development.
"You can't have a good economy if you can't move goods and people," he said.
And the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a statement applauding the project for "breathing new life into a city filled with vacancies."
Mayor Sal Panto—joined by predecessors Thomas Goldsmith and Michael McFadden—said a new building on the site was a "do-over" for him, since he approved the Perkins on that lot during his first tenure as mayor.
He also said the new parking deck will help relieve the demand for parking that could come from Crayola's expansion, which the company says will bring another 150,000 visitors a year to Easton.
"Bring in another 30,000 people June, July and August, and I don't know where they're going to park," Panto said.