The property at 16 E. Main St. was a train station long ago, and in recognition of its history as a transportation hub, it has been dubbed Whistle Stop Plaza.
The building itself was renovated years ago, but the other property enhancements have been several years in the making. Out front, they include a sunken courtyard, stage, pergola, seating, bike rack and trees. Out back, the parking spaces share billing with a wide walkway extending the borough's rails-to-trails project, a 1,100-square-foot mural and green space.
"It sits beside one of the most-traveled intersections in northern Lancaster County," said Marsha DiBonaventuro, manager of the Main Street program Downtown Ephrata Inc. As the plaza increasingly becomes a gathering place, she said, the increased activity should be good for business.
"In the end, the borough was able to implement $400,000 worth of improvements using less than $40,000 from the borough," said DiBonaventuro.
Funding came from several sources, notably the state's Hometown Streets program and the county's Urban Enhancement program. DiBonaventuro also stressed the involvement of volunteers in the project.
At 9 a.m Sept. 12, the borough will celebrate the completion of the plaza. The event is open to the public, but organizers ask that those who plan to attend notify them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-738-5060 by Sept. 7.