Renovation plans for Lancaster Square are nearly finished and they could include giving the downtown Lancaster plaza a new name.
At a meeting on Nov. 7 to finalize the city’s plans for the space, two representatives from Mahan Rykiel Associates, a Baltimore architecture firm, showed a list of names the city is considering for the space..
Matthew Renauld, an associate principal with the firm, said the city’s favorite monikers include Red Rose Square, Queen Street Park, Thaddeus Stevens Square and Lancaster Plaza.
Meanwhile, planners are honing on a revamped design for the square.
Tom McGilloway, a principal at Mahan Rykiel, said the firm looked at two options: a rectangular space and one curved to resemble a rose. The firm decided on the rose, according to McGilloway, after the plan received praise by residents for its fluid design that guides visitors into the park.
“We wanted to create a sense of identity,” Renauld said. “How do we unify with Binns Park but allow them to be their own distinct spaces?”
Binns Park is across from Lancaster Square. They are divided by Queen Street.
Renauld said that the curvature of the space will help pull people in from the street and surrounding buildings.
The park is planned to house an area for outdoor dining, a lawn, an interactive water fountain, a kids play area, a wood bench that doubles as a stage and kiosks that could be leased. Renauld said the space could be used year round for summer concerts and fall festivals, as well as for an ice rink in the winter.
“We can design a space for today, but programs and activities will change, so flexibility to accommodate events is really important,” he said.
The park is planned to be finished in the next 18 months.
Lancaster city’s director of economic development and neighborhood revitalization, Randy Patterson, sai the city has not finalized a budget, but has money in its capital budget set aside for the project. The city will also look at other funding sources like sponsorships and grants, Patterson said.
Work already is underway on one of the buildings that frames Lancaster Square, the former Bulova building, now known as 101NQ. A renovation of the building is expected to wrap up in late 2019.
Zamagias Properties, of Pittsburgh, announced 101NQ’s tenants last September. Zamagias still has open space in the building for a 5,000 square foot restaurant along with other small retail spaces on the first floor, Patterson said.
An annex building facing Lancaster Square, meanwhile, is slated to house the new location for the city library and a two-screen, 50-seat movie theater. Patterson said that the theater has not yet secured a new owner, but the city is in talks with an interested buyer.
The project will be finished in three steps, starting with 101NQ, then the public space and finally the annex. Patterson said the entire project is expected to be finished by late 2020.