Sands Bethworks Casino
In December, 2006 the PA Gaming Control Board unanimously voted in favor of the Sands Bethworks casino proposal, which will include a casino with 3,000 slot machines, a 300 room hotel, a concert and events center, an upscale shopping and dining complex, as well as hundreds of condominiums and apartments. The development process faced delays due to a steel supply shortage and unforeseen problems with asbestos removal and buried cement structures. The casino has postponed its projected opening date from 2008 to the spring of 2009. Sands Bethworks has expressed a commitment to respecting the history of the site, as well as existing businesses, neighborhoods, and the Bethlehem community.
For more information visit the official Sands Bethworks website: http://www.sandsbethworks.com/
ArtsQuest SteelStax Project
As part of its “Cultural Enhancement Plan,” the SteelStax project will build a three-story Performing Arts Center within the former Electronic Furnace Shop. The Performing Arts Center will house a 450-seat community theater, an arthouse cinema, as well as a 400 seat café, which will also serve as an adaptable concert hall. The center will provide facilities for the Hispanic American League of Artists, Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Pennsylvania Youth Theater. In addition, the SteelStax project also includes plans to build a new state-of-the-art Broadcasting Center for PBS-39, as well as an Events Center that will accommodate a variety of educational, artistic and musical exhibits.
The SteelStax project is currently in its fundraising and planning stages. To learn more about the SteelStax facilities (the site includes architectural renderings of the new buildings) and the “Cultural Enhancement Plan” visit the official website: http://www.steelstax.com/
Northampton Area Community College’s Fowler Family Southside Center
By mid to late fall, Northampton Area Community College is expected to finish renovating the sixth floor of the Fowler Family Southside Center, which will house offices, classrooms, and its workforce development center for training in the healthcare and hospitality departments. Northampton had previously made significant renovations on the building and began holding classes there in September, 2006. The Fowler Family Southside Center continues to offer the community a variety of credit and noncredit classes.
For more information visit Northampton’s official website: http://www.northampton.edu
National Museum of Industrial History
The National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Besides replacing the roof on the former Electrical Repair Shop, The National Museum of Industrial History has not begun construction as it is still in the fundraising stage. It is projected to open by the end of 2008 or in 2009.
For more information about the museum visit the official website: http://www.nmih.org
The Greenway Project
The City of Bethlehem has plans to acquire and transform the former railroad corridor that runs through the historical industrial community, from Union Station on the west to Lynn Avenue on the east, into a public open space. The city has consulted the landscape architecture and planning firm Simone Jaffe Collins Inc and USA Architects of Easton, PA about plans for the Greenway project, including pedestrian and bicycle trails leading from residential neighborhoods and Lehigh University to the Sands Bethworks site, as well as a skatepark. Although the Greenway Project is still in its designing and engineering stages, the City is expected to close on the Greenway property before the end of 2007. Meetings for local residents will be advertised publicly.
To find out more about the Greenway Project and to view the masterplan, visit: http://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/feature/greenway/index.htm
Route 412 Expansion and Southside Intersection Remodeling
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is expected to begin construction on the Route 412 expansion project by 2009. The estimated $70 million dollar project will be constructed in two phases. The first phase is expected to be completed in 2008 and will focus on the remodeling of 24 intersections, many of them on Route 412 and Fourth Street. The second phase will include the widening of Route 412 into a four-lane highway, as well as a demolition of a rail bridge and the construction of a bridge over the Saucon Creek. During the construction, PennDot plans to have one way traffic flowing from both directions and will most likely keep old lanes open while constructing new ones.