Community interest in revitalizing downtown Bethlehem spans
more than 20 years. A few pasl efforts which addressed downtown decline and revitalization are:
1956 - Interim Report on the City of Bethlehem.
1958 - Organization of Citizens Urban Renewal Enterprise.
1963 - Creation by the Chamber of Commerce of a Subcom-
millee for Downtown Revitalization, as a specialized
pari of the Chamber's Downtown AclionCommittee.
1964-1967 - City's Community Renewal Program cited immediate need for downtown improvement.
1968 - Establishment of Downtown Improvement Commit
tee Task Force which, in conjunction wilh a newly
created Central Business District Advisory Board,
determined requirements and goals for a renewed
central business district.
1969-1975 - Completion of the Center City Bethlehem Plan Report and the construction of the First Valley office
lower, the Marketplace with 80,000 square feel of
enclosed retail space, the 800-car Walnut Street
Parking Garage, ihe Bethlehem Plaza along Broad
Street, and improvements lo Guetter and Walnut
1974-1976 - A period of uncertainty about future directions in
the Center City, including the feasibility of a hotel-
convention center and major retailing center, as proposed in the 1969 Plan. At the City's request,a study
panel of Urban Land Institute member professionals
was convened in March, '1976 lo make findings, conclusions and recommendations concerning existing
concepts, plans, projects, and programs for Center
1976-1978 - In response to the need for redirection, the City departed from the 1969 Center City Plan, and undertook a planning effort lo restore and rehabilitate
Main Street. This effort showed preference for the
historical L-shaped (Broad and Main Streets) configuration of the Center City as compared to the
large superblock concept recommended in the 1969
Center Cily Plan.