Coal Land Development Concerns


(WBRE/WYOU-TV) A battle is brewing in Southern Luzerne County over plans to build a business park.

    It would be built on mine-scarred lane in Hazle Township.  But those living nearby are concerned about their safety and quality of life,

   The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has the details.

  “Well, I’d like to find out more about it and I think a lot of residents would,” Said John Petrill.  He lives in the village of Hardwood, it’s a part of Hazle Township that is near the proposed site of the business park. He and his neighbors have lots of questions about the project.

  “Traffic concerns for people. What’s it going to look like? What will it end up as? It’s something that really needs to be looked at,” Noted Petrill.

 The developer, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, is requesting a zoning change from mining and business to industrial for nearly 800 acres. The land is bordered by Interstate 81, Route 924 and the Southwest Hazleton Beltway. Much of it is former coal mining land.

 A spokesperson for Mericle tells Eyewitness News this is the first step in a long process. They want to create a high-end commerce and trade park here.

 James Cummings: V.P. Marketing. Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services tell us “We envision a trade park with class a buildings, quality jobs, and lots of green terrain and streetscapes.”    

  “We feel it’s a very positive statement for the Hazleton Area,” Said Kevin O’Donnell.  He is President and CEO of CAN DO– the Hazleton’s Area’s Economic Development group. CAN DO is working with Mericle on the project.

  “The process of bringing in good jobs is not just a process of looking for one single industry and bringing in good jobs. But bringing in many businesses so that there is a variety of jobs available,” Said O’Donnell.

A public meeting will be held on the rezoning change request this coming Monday, May 13th, at 5 pm…Followed by a township supervisors meeting.

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