EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – State leaders toured a run-down former factory in the Poconos on Thursday. They discussed how to re-develop the former ‘International Boiler Works’ in East Stroudsburg, which has been abandoned for more than 25 years.
Officials with the Wolf Administration, the Department of Environmental Protection, and local leaders were part of the tour. They’re rallying behind bipartisan efforts to redevelop the blighted site, and others like it in Pennsylvania.
The main building was once used to make large, commercial boilers. Today, it’s empty and riddled with graffiti.
“It’s almost like something you would find in The Walking Dead,” laughs Brian Bond, Manager, East Stroudsburg Borough.
After IBW closed in the ’70s, it became a tire warehouse. But that business was short-lived, and the property became abandoned in 1992.
“The site is an eyesore right now, says John Christy, Monroe County Commissioner.
Local leaders envision the 12-acre property as becoming a thriving industrial manufacturing facility once again.
“Once the buildings come down, it will be a nice blank slate,” Bond explains.
This tour is part of Governor Tom Wolf’s ‘Restore Pennsylvania’ initiative. If passed, the bipartisan proposal would provide funding to demolish sites like this and make them productive again.
“And there’s many of these kinds of blighted buildings dotted across Pennsylvania,” explains Mike Bedrin, Regional Director, DEP.
County leaders say, currently, there are four potential buyers for the property. The main draw is the rare access to a working rail system.
Redevelopment would bring high paying jobs and put this property back on the tax rolls.
DEP officials says chemical contamination and environmental issues have been resolved. “So, now you have a clean bill of health on this site. All you have to do is take down a structure and you’d have a fantastic place to build a building,” Christy adds.
Demolition is estimated to cost between $900,000 and $1 million dollars.
Governor Wolf’s ‘Restore Pennsylvania’ proposal calls for enacting a severance tax, which is a tax on natural gas production in the Keystone State. The initiative would produce $4.5 billion dollars to fund infrastructure projects over a four-year period.