Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cantons 7&8 Beautification Proposal for Getty Mart Corner

This is terrific progress by Cantons 7 & 8--Below is the plan they have developed to present to the City of Easton's Planning Commission--great job!

West Ward Gateway Beautification Project
Phase I (“Getty Mart”)

Executive Summary:

The residents, community activists and leaders of Cantons 7 and 8 call upon the City of Easton’s Planning Commission for assistance in obtaining Signage, Greening, Trash Receptacles, and a community bulletin board or kiosk at the former Getty Mart on the corner of Northampton and 13th Streets. The Planning Commissions’ assistance will play a vital role in Cantons 7 and 8’s ongoing West Ward Gateway Beautification Project. The “Getty Mart” phase of the Project can be completed within nine (9) months.


The corner of Northampton and 13th Streets is highly visible to both residents and visitors to Easton. The corner serves as an important gateway for pedestrian and vehicular traffic passing to and from the West Ward, Rt. 22, and downtown Easton. The corner is traversed daily by students, parents, and teachers on their way to Paxinosa and March Elementary Schools. The corner is also significant as the location where West Ward Cantons 3, 4, 7, and 8 meet. One day, the corner may usher traffic towards a vibrant, newly-renovated Silk Mill. Because of the corner’s practical and symbolic significance, the members of Cantons 7 and 8 consider it a priority to enhance the appearance of the area.

The existing conditions at the corner are dire. There is no greenery in the area. There are few trash receptacles and no accountability for emptying the ones that do exist. The facades are unremarkable. Asphalt predominates. This blighted landscape, so near to residential homes and schools, has become the site of armed robberies and drug dealing. Because of the automobile and truck traffic pulling in and out of Dunkin Donuts’ and the former Getty Mart, vehicular accidents are a common occurrence.

Cantons 7 and 8 are creating the West Ward Gateway Beautification Project to slow traffic, increase safety, and beautify the corner of Northampton and 13th Streets. Cantons 7 and 8 aim to transform the corner into a respectable and attractive area by (1) Professional landscaping that features native perennials, shrubs and canopy trees to help soften the hard lines at the intersection and make it feel more welcoming; (2) Installation of trash receptacles; (3) Installation of a message board (preferably at the Getty corner); and (4) Installation of brick paved crosswalks, decorative light poles, decorative flags and/or a decorative community welcome sign to give residents and visitors a more positive opinion of Easton, and the West Ward in particular.

Because the former Getty Mart is under construction, this is an opportune time to exert pressure on the property owner to incorporate landscaping into his development plans. Towards that end, we request that City of Easton Planning Commission work with the former Getty Mart’s property owner to insure that the development of the site be in accordance with the West Ward Gateway Beautification Project’s goals.

Technical Considerations:

To insure the success of the West Ward Gateway Beautification Project, development in the area should, at minimum, generally comply with the following requirements:

• Professional landscaping that includes:

o Use of Native plants in a sustainable landscape. Native plants eliminate the need for fertilizer and pesticides whose excessive use in the suburban landscape can be a source of runoff or non-point source pollution. Many native plants have low water and maintenance requirements, virtually eliminating the need for watering and wasting of this precious resource. Once established these types of plants require little care and can be maintained cost-effectively.

o Canopy trees

• Trash Receptacles

• In addition, Cantons 7 & 8 specifically request that the property owner of the former Getty Mart site install a double sided community message board or kiosk visible from the street corner on which citizens can post announcements of general public interest. Cantons 7 and 8 propose to have a local design contest to incorporate symbols from the 8 Cantons into this message board/kiosk.

Other Considerations:

Lastly, it is worth noting that Sunoco, one gas supplier that purportedly is interested in occupying the former Getty Mart at Northampton and 13th Streets, participates in a Community Advisory Panel (CAP), a body that serves as a forum for ongoing dialogue between business and the neighboring community to identify local concerns and discuss possible solutions. According to Sunoco’s website, Sunoco is committed to, in pertinent part:

• Encouraging active involvement by the company in issues and activities important to the community;
• Identifying public concerns regarding local business plans and activities; and
• Assisting in the development of responses to public concerns.

Given Sunoco’s stated interest in “concerns regarding local business plans,” the Planning Commission may also want to approach Sunoco to communicate the Cantons’ concerns and to ask for its support and assistance.

For further information about this proposal or the West Ward Gateway Beautification Project, please contact Canton 7 representative Nikkita Frazier at (908) 283-1910.

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