SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The commonwealth of Pennsylvania is helping Scranton with plans to create a new pocket park in the city’s downtown.
State officials are providing $400,000 to transform an empty lot on Wyoming Avenue into green space.
The site in the 200-block of Wyoming Avenue is the former site of a commercial dry-cleaning operation.
That building was torn down several years ago and the property has been fenced-off ever for the last few years.
Many people consider the land at the intersection of Wyoming Avenue and Linden Street to be an eyesore.
Sandwiched between two churches and right behind the federal courthouse, the mayor of Scranton wants to turn the area into a pocket park.
“I think it’ll be good. You’ve got churches, you’ve got the mall and you have a lot of people that come and go,” Michael Schwartz of Scranton said.
The city just finalized the purchase of the property for $375,000 as the state awarded the project $400,000 total.
“Four hundred thousand dollars is quite a bit of money!” Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright said.
With more and more people living downtown, Mayor Bill Courtright says green space is needed.
“This has become a neighborhood downtown and so having this park is going to be a big plus for the downtown,” Mayor Courtright said.
John Hennemuth works in downtown Scranton.
He remembers when the old dry-cleaning business was torn down and has hated that the site has been empty ever since.
“It’s a plus, plus, plus. It’s apartments, apartments, apartments. Green space, it all works, it only makes it look better!” John Hennemuth said.
Before a park can be created, the mayor says a study must be done to see what type of clean-up is needed from the previous dry cleaning operation.
People who don’t live in Scranton say having a park here could make the area more attractive to visitors.
“I think the more, the more grass in a city the better!” Ben Sears of Bucks County said.
The mayor says the Scranton Area Foundation has already promised to pay for a garden at the site.
The city is now working with the county and the group Scranton Tomorrow to make the park idea a reality.
The mayor says he is hoping that some work at the site may begin during the summer but that is uncertain.