It started out as a class project for a group of marketing students at King's College in Wilkes-Barre in 1996 and now 17 years later it is being looked at as a blueprint for the rebirth of center city. Dr. Chris Alexander, a Professor of Business and Management at King's College said, "We wanted the students to come up with an advertising plan to market the downtown. It basically called for transforming Wilkes-Barre into a college town because of the fact that Wilkes University and King's College were the bookends of center city." The report recommended a better working relationship between Wilkes and King's as well as more understanding from merchants and city officials as to the needs of college students. Larry Neuman who is Executive Director of the Diamond City Partnership, told Eyewitness New, "It too a long time to come to fruition but it is happening. The bookstore on the square is a prime example of what can be done with cooperation." Mayor Tom Leighton said, "We have made it one of our goals to have a better relationship with the college students and make the feel welcome. Businesses downtown also have reached out. It is by far a much better environment now than what we saw years ago." Dr. Alexander added, "I wonder what the students would say now? The probably would ask why it took so long!"
Copyright 2013 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.