Dupont council eyeing future of Ben Franklin school


First Posted: 4/19/2013

The Dupont Borough Council held its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 16 where council members and residents discussed waysto fund continued improvements within the community.

Dupont officials are keeping an eye on developments regarding the Pittston Area School District’s possible closure of the Ben Franklin Kindergarten Center, located within Dupont.

Council President Stanley Knick stated his hopes to see the building converted to accommodate senior citizen housing if the school is ultimately closed and the borough can obtain the property.

Council member Bernie Zielinski referred to the original agreement that granted the land to the district, stating it his belief that the borough is entitled to the first opportunity to regain that land if it were to again become available.

The school had been home to the Dupont Elementary School prior to the absorption of Dupont schools into the Greater Pittston Area School District in 1983.

Dupont officials have consulted with county and state representatives regarding funding.

During the meeting, Knick and Mayor Daniel Lello were told that the district will not make an official decision before July of this year, but will keep borough officials informed.

Pittston Area Superintendent Dr. Michael Garzella would not provide an estimate as to how much the school facility and property might be worth. He stated that an architectural engineer involved with surveying the land refused to speculate at this point, given the amount of variables.

In other matters, Lello advised community members to be alert, proactive and vigilant following a string of break-ins and incidents of vandalism in and around the 100 block of the borough’s Main Street.

Police investigation into the crimes is ongoing, so extensive details were not presented, but Lello shared his view that an aware populace is the best defense against petty crime.

Council unanimously voted to allow a Pittston liquor license to be transferred into Dupont so that restaurateur Amouri Oliviera can utilize it when he opens Continental Bar and Grill at 317 Main St.

Oliviera has previously found success founding the Ipanema Grill, the region’s first eatery to offer Brazilian-style rodizio steakhouse faire. Continental Bar and Grill, however, will be far more casual featuring billiards and occasional live music as well as catering.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.

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