Streetscape improvements to begin in Mount Airy

The sidewalks along a seven block stretch of Germantown Avenue in Mount Airy will undergo a major beautification project that begins on Monday, officials said.

The $3.5 million streetscape project is being coordinated by Mount Airy USA, a community development and advocacy group. The work is being managed by PennDot, and will run from Nippon Street to Upsal Street. The project will include new decorative pedestrian-scale lighting, and overhead lighting at key intersections. Other improvements will include replacing sidewalks and curbs, installation of benches and installation of new trees in designated areas.

Officials said the work is expected to be completed in December. It will not require major road closures and through traffic will not be shut off, officials said.

"This is really key for the revitalization of the corridor," said Elizabeth Moselle, director of commercial corridor revitalization for Mount Airy USA.

Moselle said the project, which has been in planning for four years, is being paid for with money from the city, state and federal government.

Matthew Sharratt, a custom furniture maker at the Mount Airy Custom Furniture cooperative on the avenue at Mt. Pleasant Avenue, said the blocks near his store have been improving over the last five years with new businesses. "I think this project is going to contribute to the momentum of lifting this neighborhood up."

Sherman Oberson, owner of Jean-Jacques Gallery, which sells art, jewelry and gifts near Mt. Pleasant Avenue, said he welcomed the improvements but was wary of possible disruptions to his business, particularly disruptions in parking on Germantown Avenue.

"I am thrilled to see it happen and I hope it will not impact my business too badly," Oberson said.