PITTSTON — The Pittston Memorial Library recently underwent a $1.5 million expansion. But the work to improve the facility and the surrounding area isn’t over yet.
City council announced Wednesday they received official notification from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Financing Authority of the approval of a $250,000 grant to be used toward the Pittston Library Park and Amphitheater project.
The grant is part of the Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program (GTRP) and was submitted by the city last year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Developement, a GTRP grant is used for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and beautification projects.
“It’s in final design right now and we’ll have it out to bid in September,” Pittston Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Joe Chacke said.
The project will consist a public playground that will include swings and other standalone playground elements, along with a 15-by-30-foot steel stage equipped with a projector screen. The playground area will be ADA compliant and feature poured rubber. Cut into the side of the hill behind the library will be tiered levels, with installed AstroTurf. It’s expected approximately 200 people will be able to view the stage.
The city, along with the library, hopes to host movie nights there along with small concerts. The playground area will have direct access to the library.
The project is expected to begin in the fall, with completion next spring.
Two other parks in Pittston under the Parks To Prosperity Program have also received funding. Sullivan Park, located on Church Street and Hill Park Avenue, which is home to the Pittston City Little League, will receive a makeover which includes a walking path, work on all three ball fields, a picnic area, more parking and improvements to the basketball courts.
The city approved another request for a $250,000 GTRP grant to be used for the Sullivan Park project. Renovations to Jefferson Park, off New Street, have already started. The park will be renovated with a new playground set and a full-court basketball court, along with a half court.
In City Administrator Joe Moskovitz’s monthly report, he touched on the recent release from the Pennsylvania Auditor General showing Pittston owed more than $230,000 toward its police pension plan. Moskovitz said the city has already paid $100,000 toward the plan, and will pay off the balance in the “long term.”
According to the report, the city owed a total of $518,553 toward its three pension plans in 2015, but fell short of its police pension obligation by $230,006, the state Auditor General’s office said.
In other business:
• The city will seek a $1.9 million Community Facilities Loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development for the reconstruction of and improvements to the former M&T Bank building for the proposed Luzerne County Community College campus on Main Street.
• Council approved the closing of Church Street, between Broad and William streets, between 4 and 11 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4, Friday, Aug. 5, and Saturday, Aug. 6 for the St. John the Evangelist Parish Bazaar.
• Change orders No. 1 and No. 2 for the Pittston City Phase III Streetscape Project were approved at a savings of $1,316.85, and approved Payment Application No. 3. Council also approved Payment Application No. 3 for the Pittston City Hall Phase II Energy Savings project and Payment Application No. 8 for Phase I.
• Council accepted the resignation of Martin Moughan from the Board of Directors of the Pittston City Redevelopment Authority effective July 5, following 34 years of service. Frank Serino will fill Moughan’s term, which expires in September.
• Council approved the purchase of a 2016 Ford Super Duty F-350 with a winter snow plowing package in accordance with the Coasters Program Contact, with financing in the amount of $50,719.20.
• The city approved the closing of Tomato Festival Drive and Kennedy Street for the 2016 Pittston Tomato Festival.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick