SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — After Saturday’s intense storm, flash flooding exposed infrastructure problems in North Scranton, and a building is standing in the city’s way of fixing it.
West Market Street and Yard Avenue in North Scranton are closed off until further notice.
The City of Scranton went to the county court on Tuesday to file an emergency petition to demolish a vacant building that stands on the corner of the two streets, claiming a buildup of debris from that structure caused storm drainage water to divert to different locations and cause more flooding.
“We are focused on getting these roads reopened, this particular one of all the ones in the whole city, This is where we have the emergency demolition problem where a building is standing in the way of our progress on opening up that public infrastructure,” said Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti.
In the past, officials discovered a sinkhole there and repaired it, but Saturday’s intense storm washed that all away.
The old building is on top of where water from Leech Creek flows into an open creek bank on the other side of the street through water channels
“We got to redo the entirety of how the creek flows underneath this road,” added Mayor Cognetti.
Mayor Cognetti says the only way to do that reconstruction is by tearing down the vacant building.
Now this building has been on the city’s demolition list since 2017, but it keeps getting passed off to different owners, and each owner makes an appeal.
“There are legal protections around private properties we understand that but in this case, it’s at a point where it’s not a stable structure, it could not be inhabited and it’s standing in the way of us being able to open this street,” explained Mayor Cognetti.
The Lackawanna County Court will hear the emergency petition this Friday at 1:00 p.m. to see whether or not the city has approval to take down the building even though the owner put an appeal out.