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Local Leaders Spotlight New Proposed Addition to the SteelStacks Campus | WDIY Local News

A rendering of the renovated former Bethlehem Steel Turn and Grind Shop on the SteelStacks campus.
Contributed photo
A rendering of the renovated former Bethlehem Steel Turn and Grind Shop on the SteelStacks campus.

City and community leaders recently provided an update on a planned new addition to the SteelStacks campus that received millions of dollars in state funding. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

In a video shot outside of the Visitor Center on the SteelStacks Campus, Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds and ArtsQuest President and CEO Kassie Hilgert announced a new addition to the site – the redeveloped Bethlehem Steel Turn and Grind Shop.

Reynolds spoke about the importance of have a “public and private partnership” to the project, which he called the “formula for success.”

“The state of Pennsylvania is coming forward with $7 million, the single largest economic development grant the Lehigh Valley has ever seen, to turn this from a dream into a reality,” Reynolds said in a voiceover, as he and Hilgert walked through the interior of the building.

The funding was awarded as part of the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program in October 2022. The program assists with the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.

ArtsQuest has said that Air Products provided an initial $1.5 million pledge in support of its overall capital campaign - which also includes replacing the Banana Factory with a planned Cultural Center.

The nonprofit previously said the Turn and Grind Shop project received a $1 million pledge from Northampton County, and a $100,000 grant from the Keystone Savings Foundation. No timeframe has yet been provided for completion.

Hilgert said the redevelopment of the shop will open new opportunities.

“We’re going to be able to bring in national and international touring exhibits, which is something that is very unique to this region,” she said, “whether it’s art, or sculpture, or science, that’s going to be fantastic…”

Also said the new space will welcome a variety of concerts, and also provide for the expansion of Musikfest, Oktoberfest and Christkindlmarkt.

“We’ve got 220 days of programming we can drop in right now,” Hilgert said. “All we got to do is raise the rest, and I know we’re going to do it together, just like we’ve done everything else here in Bethlehem.”

The state says plans call for an “adaptive reuse” of the 150-year-old, 26,000 square foot Turn and Grind Shop, which will support flexible use for programming, entertainment, displays and more.

(Original air-date: 1/17/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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