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Host: Scott LaMar

Road trip to Martin Library in York

Written by Avery Van Etten | Sep 6, 2018 4:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, September 6, 2018:

York is undergoing several revitalization projects in an effort to bolster economic development in the area. The historic Yorktowne Hotel is being renovated, and the Landmark Properties Project is responsible for updating two more buildings in the city. In addition, the York Plan 2.0 Innovation District is a project that focuses on developing the Northwest Triangle and bringing it into our technological future. Thursday's Smart Talk Road Trip takes us to Martin Library, where we'll discuss the city's revitalization work.

The Yorktowne Hotel opened in 1925. In 2015 the York County Industrial Development Authority (YCIDA) purchased the property, and the following year the building closed as the more than $36 million renovation project began. The hotel is scheduled to reopen late next year as part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Though the building will have updated facilities, it will maintain its characteristic old-fashioned charm.

After reopening, the Yorktowne Hotel is expected to employ around 100 people. Even while under renovation, it maintains a role in the York community. At the beginning of last year, over 2,500 items from the hotel were donated to local non-profits. YCIDA partnered with the York College Hospitality Management Program to enable three students to be part of the renovation process. Last year, the building was made available to York County police to use for training exercises.

Two more York city locations are being updated as part of the Landmark Properties Project. Buildings at 101 E. Market St. and 335-351 W. Market St. are getting makeovers, which are expected to conclude this month. Royal Square Development & Construction (RSDC) is spearheading this project to create updated retail and apartment spaces in these buildings.

Joining us on our Road Trip to talk about these initiatives are York Mayor Michael Helfrich, Dylan Bauer, vice president of development for RSDC, Jack Kay, YCIDA chairman, and Andrew Staub, marketing and communications manager of Downtown Inc.

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Jack Kay, Dylan Bauer and Andrew Staub

Another revitalization effort in the city is the York Plan 2.0 Innovation District. The project, led by York Exponential, aims to create a technology-based innovation hub in the northwest corner of York city. The estimated cost of the development is $64 million, which will go toward creating and renovating property to house robotic device production, design workshops, and space for offices and laboratories. John McElligott, CEO of York Exponential, hopes to break ground on the project at the end of this year.

McElligott joins Mayor Helfrich, Bauer and Staub on Thursday's Smart Talk to discuss the York Plan 2.0 Innovation District.

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John McElligott, Dylan Bauer, Andrew Staub and Mayor Michael Helfrich


Development comes with concerns about inclusion. Mayor Helfrich faced backlash from members of York's minority community after suggesting a plan to form a contract with the York County Economic Alliance and use their staff to supplement York's Department of Economic and Community Development. Members of the city's minority population expressed fears that their voices would be minimized or left out of the redevelopment process, that economic development would be outsourced, and that gentrification could displace minority residents. 

Mayor Helfrich's plan for revitalization in York focuses on expansion and inclusion. For example, he wants to add two new employees (the maximum the budget will allow) to the Department of Economic and Community Development. One of these employees, he has said, should be fluent in Spanish in order to better communicate with the city's Latino community. The city's revitalization efforts have also focused on including low-income residents. 

We talk about these topics with Thursday's guests, as well.

"Today's Smart Talk Road Trip LIVE remote broadcast is supported by Roof Advisory and CGA Law Firm."

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