PITTSTON — Pittston is an old town getting a modern facelift. And some of Pennsylvania’s top government employees are taking notice.
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, along with several city officials, took a tour of Pittston Monday to check on the progress of the new Geisinger Health System building on North Main Street and the River’s Edge condominiums on Kennedy Boulevard.
Joining the Auditor General on the tour were Avoca native and current State Rep. Michael Carroll, Pittston Redevelopment Authority vice chairman Michael Lombardo, Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Joe Chacke, City Administrator Joe Moskowitz, councilman Michael Lombardo and city solicitor Sam Falcone.
“It’s great to see leaders who have a game plan on how to move the community forward,” DePasquale said. Whether it’s new jobs or something, they are managing it in a fiscally responsible way.”
DePasquale thinks what the city of Pittston is doing is rare.
“Some communities have just stopped trying,” he said. “It shows that you can do it if you’re willing to put the effort in. You’re doing it residentially and commercially.”
DePasquale was escorted by his Deputy Press Secretary, Mike Hoover, a 1982 graduate of Wyoming Area High School.
The group met at City Hall prior to touring the Pittston Memorial Library’s new additions. The library added a 125-person conference center, along with a new children’s wing recently. Following the tour of the library, the group boarded a limo bus and made its way to the Geisinger facility.
The facility on North Main Street is approximately 17,000-square feet and is expected to open in September. This facility features 25 exam rooms and radiology technology, amenities other Geisinger locations never provided. An integrated garage will hold approximately 45 vehicles.
The original plan for the Geisinger building was to have a pharmacy; however, because a few pharmacies are already located on Main Street, city officials decided that wouldn’t be good for the community. Therefore, a section in the front of the new building will be reserved for community events, not a pharmacy.
“There are goods and bads in almost anything,” DePasquale said. “When an older community gets redeveloped, the community stores sometimes get pushed aside. There was an effort not to do that.”
After the Geisinger tour was finished, the group headed to River’s Edge on Kennedy Boulevard, a 30-unit structure that currently has 18 deposits. The units are either two- or three-bedroom condos with 28 of the 30 offering a view of the river.
Two of the model condos are finished with work expected to wrap up in the next few weeks. DePasquale was impressed with the modern look of the facility.
“If I were moving up here with my wife, that would be an ideal opportunity,” he said.
Redevelopment Authority vice chairman Michael Lombardo had several conversations with DePasquale throughout the day. While talking in one of the offices of the condos, Lombardo explained to DePasquale he thinks Pittston is the perfect size and back on the right track.
“One of the key things is to make sure those places are clean and safe,” he said. “We’re not smaller than we were. I think we’re the size we need to make the communities safe.”
When the tour concluded, DePasquale and city officials checked out the new Inspiration Mural and converged on Callahan’s on Main Street for lunch. DePasquale and his staff then traveled to Allentown to make an announcement about the Allentown School District.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick