NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It was demolition day in Nanticoke. The demolition of a long-time eyesore and former industrial building, began Tuesday morning.
The building was once a factory, then an entertainment venue, and after many years left empty the day for it to come down has finally arrived.
“It’s good to see it come down though, it’s progress,” said Ed Markiewicz of Nanticoke.
“It’s a good day, It really is because it was a sad day to watch it fall apart like it did,” Mary Grobinski of Nanticoke said.
Nanticoke residents and city officials watched in awe Tuesday morning as work began to tear down a long-time eyesore.
“It was a safety hazard, just to get this down it was one of the biggest blighted properties we have in town,” Mayor of Nanticoke Kevin Coughlin said.
The former industrial building stretches an entire city block on Washington Street between Prospect and Walnut Streets.
The building housed the former Duplan Silk Mill, and later, the L.S. Bowl-a-rama and L.S. Skate-a-rama.
A fire in 1991 damaged the Walnut Street side of the building.
The bowling alley closed in 2007, which later became the site of a major drug bust in 2009 before it was left vacant to deteriorate.
“It became a burden to the city of Nanticoke and a burden to the neighbors in the Washington Street corridor,” said Independent Senator of Pennsylvania’s fourteenth district, John Yudichak.
“But I’ll tell ya, after it burned we were afraid really afraid to go through the alley,” said Grobinski.
People who lived nearby spoke of good and bad memories as they watched the building get torn down.
“It’s sad because of what it stood for, it employed a lot of people in Nanticoke at one time, I think almost 400 people worked there. It’s good because it’s been an eyesore, trouble spot you know,” Markiewicz said.
“My kids loved it here, my daughter roller skated, we used to go bowling all of us,” Grobinski said.
As for what’s next for this plot, Mayor Coughlin says the city ultimately wishes to repurpose the property.
“Hopefully we’ll get a developer in here and they’ll something with the property,” Mayor Coughlin said.
The city and its municipal authority owns the building. They obtained more than $1 million in state grants to pay for the demolition, which is expected to take several weeks.