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CCDC kicks off Little Italy improvements

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Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday for a $2.4 million infrastructure-improvement project in downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood.

Formal construction is scheduled to begin August 15. The project will remake the public right-of-way along India Street from Grape to Laurel streets.

In 1995, CCDC introduced a three-stage plan to stimulate the revitalization of Little Italy. The strategy included the Little Italy Neighborhood Developers project, a joint venture between CCDC, developer Barone Galasso & Associates, and architects Jonathan Segal and Ted Smith, which created 76 new housing units (39 of which were price-restricted) on the full block bounded by Kettner Boulevard and Cedar, India and Beech streets. The second facet of the plan included the creation of Amici Park, an approximately 50,000 square-foot park in a formerly blighted corner of downtown bounded by Date Street and Interstate 5. The park is now shared by the community and Washington Elementary School.

The third component, the revitalization of India Street, is on its way to completion, CCDC said. Phase II of the project will include new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, irrigated street trees, tree grates, landscaped planters, and street lighting. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2006. Phase I, which included a similar revitalization of the public right-of-way from Beech to Grape streets, was completed by CCDC in 2000.

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