For over 100 years, the Bushkill Creek Corridor was one of Easton’s primary centers for commerce, industry, and innovation. After several decades of disinvestment and decline, today a large-scale initiative is underway to revitalize this important Corridor by leveraging and celebrating creativity, sustainability, and our community’s proud cultural heritage.
Through an innovative public/private partnership between the City of Easton, Easton Redevelopment Authority, Lafayette College, and VM Development Group, the Simon Silk Mill is being redeveloped as a world class mixed use complex known as Silk: A Creative Community. The vision for Silk brings together the world’s best creative industries professionals, a green/sustainable technology incubator, unique retail establishments, fine restaurants, gardens and trails, cultural and educational experiences, condominiums and lofts, a boutique hotel and conference facilities, and hundreds of thousands of visitor each year. In June, it was announced that internationally renowned sculptor Stephen Antonakos will create the first signature artwork at the Silk site, a neon piece that will adorn the Mill’s iconic smokestack. Construction of Silk is scheduled to begin by the end of 2011, with the initial phase of building rehabilitation starting in 2012.
Less than 2 miles downstream, Lafayette College is advancing one of the most transformative initiatives in its long and illustrious history. The Williams Arts Campus at the base of College Hill will be anchored by the Williams Visual Arts Building and will feature an experimental black box theater, a state-of-the-art film theater, a sound stage, and a high-tech media and teaching lab.
Connecting these two projects will be the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. Named for the renowned sculptor and Easton arts pioneer, this 2.5-mile hiking and biking trail will serve as a canvas for a mix of local, national, and international artists, the identification of whom is guided by the Council for the Arts, a committee of dedicated artists and community members with close ties to the highest quality artists and arts organizations in the world. Construction of the Trail is nearly complete, with a grand opening scheduled for late 2011.