Six local communities win nearly $3 million in casino cash


First Posted: 3/21/2013

Six local municipalities were awarded a total of $2,944,000 in gaming fund grants, with 45 percent of that, or $1,325,000, going to West Pittston for three projects. The largest of the three is $750,000 to rebuild and improve flood-damaged infrastructure and streetscapes in the Central Business District. Another $200,000 was awarded on behalf of Crown Display, an existing paper converting company on Ann Street. The money will be used for to purchase equipment to expand the business and create 25 full-time jobs.

Another $375,000 was awarded to rehabilitate the old Luzerne Avenue school into 22 senior apartments. That money was awarded on behalf of United Neighborhood Community Development Corp., a nonprofit that received rave reviews for its moderate-income apartment project in the Hitchner Biscuit Co. Building on Exeter Avenue.

The 110-school was built in 1903 as West Pittston High School. It later served as a grade school.

West Pittston council president Barry Hosier said United Neighborhood Community Development Corp. and Crown Display both approached the borough and asked council to apply for the grants.

Councilman Brian Thornton said it’s fitting the bulk of the grant money for West Pittston, $750,000, is for flood damage repairs. “The money is very well deserved for all this town went through since the flood of 2011 and I’m not just saying that because I live here and I’m an official.”

Pittston got $1 million for the continuing redevelopment of the business district block bound by Main, Kennedy, Spring and Charles. That was somewhat of a disappointment as the city had requested $3 million.

Exeter got the third highest amount, $579,265 for a two-phase storm water improvement project. Pittston Township got $350,000 for upgrades to municipal buildings including the construction of a 3,004-sq.-ft., one-story addition.

Duryea got $150,000 for the repair and renovation of the Municipal Building; Hughestown $65,000 for two police vehicles and equipment upgrades for the police department; and Yatesville $41,491 for a 2013 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD 4WD cab, steel dump truck body and snow plow.

West Wyoming is on the list as the conduit for $475,000 for the West Side Council of Governments, for the purchase of six public works vehicles to be shared among Courtdale, Edwardsville, Exeter Borough, Exeter Township, Forty Fort, Kingston, Larksville, Luzerne, Plymouth Borough, Plymouth Township, Swoyersville, West Pittston, West Wyoming and Wyoming.

Wyoming Borough Mayor Robert Boyer said this week that Wyoming was awarded a $21,598 Recycling Development and Implementation Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Waste Management, but was denied three requests for gaming grant money.

The grant the borough did get will be used to increase the borough’s recycling by purchasing approximately 2,500 curbside recycling containers and conducting a community recycling education program.

The gaming fund grant requests that were denied were for projects to fortify school entrances, preserve the Swetland Homestead and aid the next phase of the sewer improvement project.

Wyoming wasn’t totally shut out. It will share the equipment bought with the COG grant.

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