CARBONDALE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The fight over a piece of property is over. Lackawanna County handed over a deed to the city of Carbondale for a playground the city thought they owned. It has been a place for children to hang out for decades.
It has been at least two years in the making. The city of Carbondale now holds the deed to the White Bridge Playground on Hemlock Street. A place the city thought they owned.
“We have been under the assumption that we have owned it for decades,” Carbondale’s director of park and recreation Brian Durkin said.
Durkin says the playground has gone through many owners since the early 1900s. Members of the White Bridge Playground Association were the last owners. Over time association members passed away and the property went to the tax claim office and later moved to the county’s repository for sale. In 2017 a private buyer purchased it but then a judge denied the sale after community members fought to keep the playground.
“People became concerned because they lost a park and that’s where it all blew up from there and thank goodness the county reached out and helped us out to get it back in our name again,” Carbondale city clerk Michele Bannon said.
Lackawanna County sold the property to the city for $1.
“I think it’s a great day. I mean Carbondale only has so many parks left. We’ve got to keep them. I mean kids are inside playing video games constantly. We need them outdoors enjoying life,” Kyle Grecco of Carbondale said.
Grecco lives next to the playground and remembers spending his own childhood there.
“Oh I played there all the time. My parents wouldn’t be able to keep me in the house,” Grecco said.
Now that the city has possession of the park, they’re looking to the future by turning something old new again. The city says the process to upgrade the playground could start soon.
“We will be progressive as I said and we will seek grants and some money allocations to put some money back into this park, make it more modern,” Durkin said.
The city says they have been maintaining the park for decades by mowing the grass but not fixing or repairing the equipment.