Location: Water Street between High and Lamb Street
- Kayak access
- In-stream angler access
- Walking & running paths
The Bellefonte Waterfront was opened in August 2016 and received warmly by residents. The walkway is a recreation destination for community members and visitors to the area. Concrete steps near the Lamb Street bridge offer easy access to Spring Creek to kayakers and people desiring to fish in Spring Creek. Catch and release fishing is welcome to local and out-of-town anglers. It is also a very popular running and walking pathway.
What is now the Bellefonte Waterfront was once home to the Historic Bush House Hotel, the Cerro Brass Warehouse (originally the Eagle Silk Mill), and a private business. After a fire destroyed the Bush House in February 2006, the Waterfront area sat vacant until 2009, when the Borough formed a steering committee of community members to guide efforts in research and develop an area of economic development beneficial to Bellefonte and the large community. Findings from the initial feasibility study stated that “In order for any development to occur within the waterfront district site, the challenge of the flood plain needed to be addressed…”
In 2010, the Borough was awarded $3 million in matching grant funds. Stipulations for the grant required that flood-plain issues be addressed. Because of the likelihood that no private developer would move forward with the property as-is, the Borough proceeded with the grant, assuring the community that the project would not become a burden to the taxpayers. The Bellefonte Area Industrial Development Authority (BAIDA) agreed to oversee the project, purchasing the property and building a flood wall to mitigate flooding.
After years of planning and securing funding, groundbreaking for Phase 1 and 2 of the Waterfront began in June 2015. Over the next year, the stone flood wall and walk were constructed between High and Lamb Street. A ribbon cutting was held in August 2016—over 10 years after the Bush House fire—to officially open the waterfront to the public. The finished project surely adds to the beauty of the historic downtown and should be attractive to investors willing to develop the property to its full potential.
Background Information on the Waterfront Development Project: Waterfront Revitalization Plan–January 28, 2010
BAIDA Request for Letter of Interest, Waterfront Redevelopment Project–February 2011
Borough position on eminent domain proceedings–2014