City Mayor Sues Scranton Redevelopment Authority, And Board Member

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Bill Courtright filed suit against a city authority board Monday, seeking to depose and replace a board member with his own appointee.

Former Mayor Chris Doherty illegally appointed Peter Riebe to the Scranton Redevelopment Authority board, Mr. Courtright contends in a lawsuit filed on his behalf by city solicitor Jason A. Shrive.

The lawsuit escalates an ongoing battle between Mr. Courtright and the authority board, which refuses to recognize the mayor’s appointment on Feb. 18 of Timothy Perry as Mr. Riebe’s replacement.

The authority is an independent body that plays a critical role in the city’s redevelopment and blight removal. It has previously argued Mr. Riebe’s term will not expire until next year.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/city-mayor-sues-scranton-redevelopment-authority-and-board-member-1.1660441

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As Scranton Mayor, Doherty Leaving, His Mark Affixed

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For an evaluation of Mayor Chris Doherty’s 12 years in the top city job, listen to his chief critic.

“Overall, the mayor did a very good job. He had a vision for the city and, by and large, I think he fulfilled that vision,” city council President Janet Evans said.

This is the same Janet Evans who spent the better part of her 10 years as a councilwoman ripping Mr. Doherty for one shortcoming or another at weekly council meetings.

Not that Mrs. Evans is done criticizing. She still thinks Mr. Doherty borrowed too much money, should have negotiated contracts with the city’s police and firefighter unions instead of fighting a losing and costlier arbitration battle and needed, in his later years, more experienced cabinet members.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/as-mayor-doherty-leaving-his-mark-affixed-1.1608177

Courtright Wins, Mulligan Concedes Scranton Mayor’s Race

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Republican Scranton mayor nominee Jim Mulligan has conceded defeat as Democratic city Tax Collector Bill Courtright won the right to run the city the next four years with a strong victory in the hotly fought contest.

“We’ve got to fix this city,” Mr. Courtright said from a stage in his downtown headquarters. “You know I’m humbled that the people of this city have once again voted for me and had the faith and trust in me and I’m thankful for that.”

With 41 of 48 city precincts reporting,  Mr. Courtright, a Democrat, had 7,646 votes, or 57.4 percent to Republican nominee Jim Mulligan’s 5,866 votes, or 43.1 percent. The rest are write-in votes.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/courtright-wins-mulligan-concedes-scranton-mayor-s-race-1.1580674

Scranton Mayor Proposes Raising The Next Mayor’s Salary To $80,000

Editor’s note:  And the Borough Manager of Pottstown (population 22,377) rakes in $120,000.00 a year.  It would seem a raise is in order!  Make sure you read the rest of the article as they list mayor’s salaries for a number of cities in Pennsylvania.  NONE are any where near what Pottstown pays its Borough Manager.  Somebody’s getting WAY overpaid to run a small town.

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty has proposed to city council that the next mayor who takes office in 2014 should earn a salary of $80,000, which would be $30,000 more than the $50,000 mayoral salary that has been in place over the past 22 years, he said.

Two council members said they agree that the pay of Scranton’s mayor should be increased because it is very low when compared to comparable midsize cities in the state, but they do not support a 60 percent pay hike of $30,000.

Council is expected today to consider introducing an ordinance to raise the mayor’s pay starting in 2014, Mr. Doherty said.

A new salary of $80,000 being proposed by Mr. Doherty, who earns $50,000 a year, would not be applicable to him, as he is not seeking re-election this year and his term ends in December.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-proposes-raising-the-next-mayor-s-salary-to-80-000-1.1437303

Scranton Mayor Proposes $109 Million Budget For 2013; 12 Percent Tax Hike

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty presented Thursday to city council a $109.6 million budget that contains a 12 percent real-estate tax hike.

Though formally proposed by the mayor, the budget had been prepared jointly by his administration and the council.  Cooperation between both sides on the budget proposal was a change from the prior two budgets that were marked by heated battles, council revisions, mayoral vetoes and council overrides of vetoes.

Read the Budget HERE

“This is the first step in our financial blueprint as we move the city forward, and I appreciate the cooperation of council,” Mr. Doherty said.

A precursor of the budget had been hashed out earlier this year during the mayor/council war over revising the city’s Act 47 recovery plan, which called for a 12 percent real estate tax hike on city residents and various other tax increases and/or new taxes, such as commuter and amusement taxes.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-proposes-109-million-budget-for-2013-12-percent-tax-hike-1.1404066

University Of Scranton Refuses To Pay New City Parking Tax

The University of Scranton is suing the city over a new tax city officials enacted this year on parking garages and parking lots and is refusing to pay it until a judge weighs in.

The university filed suit in Lackawanna County Court on Friday, asking a judge to declare the university – a nonprofit – exempt from the city’s 15 percent tax on parking facilities where patrons pay to park.

City officials have said the tax is critical to bringing in more revenue for the financially distressed city.  Council’s 2012 budget estimates the tax will bring in $500,000.

If a judge ruled in the university’s favor, city Business Administrator Ryan McGowan said the city would lose out on a “substantial amount” of revenue from the tax.  He could not immediately provide specific numbers when contacted about the suit Friday afternoon.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/university-of-scranton-refuses-to-pay-new-city-parking-tax-1.1369775

Scranton’s Payday Hinges On Loan Closing

Scranton‘s next employee payday on Friday hinges on a loan closing on Thursday, city officials said.

Mayor Chris Doherty expressed confidence that the closing between the city and Amalgamated Bank of New York and Washington, D.C., would occur as scheduled Thursday and payroll would be made Friday.

“Everything seems to be on track” with the loan and payroll, Mr. Doherty said.

On Aug. 23, the mayor and council President Janet Evans announced the city had secured a $6.25 million tax-anticipation note loan from Amalgamated Bank, which bills itself as the largest union-owned bank in the country.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-s-payday-hinges-on-loan-closing-1.1365473

SAPA Plan Included In Scranton’s Updated Recovery Plan

More than two years after Scranton City Council slammed the door on a regional planning initiative, the Pennsylvania Economy League has pushed it wide open.

Tucked inside Scranton’s 60-page updated 2012 Recovery Plan, which council accepted Thursday, is one paragraph suggesting council will reconsider joining the Scranton-Abingtons Planning Association Comprehensive Plan.

“The PEL sneaked it in the recovery plan at the 11th hour, right before our final vote,” Councilman Jack Loscombe said. “I still feel the same way, though. I don’t see how the plan benefits the city economically.”

The plan, which has been adopted by nine municipalities, provides a policy guide for future land use, economic revitalization, open space conservation and historic resource preservation among the SAPA members. Scranton is the last SAPA member, of 11, to consider adopting the comprehensive plan, according to the updated recovery plan.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/sapa-plan-included-in-the-city-s-updated-recovery-plan-1.1364607

Scranton City Council Holds Hearing On Recovery Plan

In a first in several years, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty on Thursday attended a city council meeting that was a public hearing on their joint revised recovery plan.

The mayor – who usually bears the brunt of a barrage of negative comments and criticism from council and some regular attendees at weekly council meetings – had not attended a council session in about six years, council President Janet Evans said.

However, the city’s financial crisis has finally made for some strange bedfellows between the mayor and council majority, who usually are mortal political enemies. After months of a bitter mayor/council stalemate over revising the city’s Act 47 recovery plan that would be acceptable to banks and the city’s recovery coordinator, Pennsylvania Economy League, the mayor and Mrs. Evans reached an accord July 27. As a result, she said she asked the mayor to attend the hearing, and he agreed.

“It was a milestone,” Mrs. Evans said of the mayor’s appearance. “We’re very pleased to be working with him.”

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-city-council-holds-hearing-on-recovery-plan-1.1360066

General Dynamics To Lay Off One-Quarter Of Workers At Scranton Munitions Plant

General Dynamics will lay off about one-quarter of the workers at its Scranton munitions plant by the end of the year.

The defense conglomerate, which is based near Washington, D.C., reported it will reduce its workforce from 245 to 185 in three increments between October and December. The 60 layoffs will take place as work is completed on two contracts for production of 120mm mortar shell bodies, said Laurie Van Brocklin, a General Dynamics spokeswoman.

“We regret the impact that the action has on employees,” Ms. Van Brocklin said. “We are hopeful, with successful bids on mortar bodies contracts, that we will be able to rectify that.”

The layoffs will leave the 500,000-square-foot plant with fewer than half the employees it had when General Dynamics acquired it six years ago.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/general-dynamics-to-lay-off-one-quarter-of-workers-at-scranton-munitions-plant-1.1359821

Blue Cross Sues Scranton After City Defaults On $2 Million Note

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Scranton seeking $2.05 million owed by the city in a promissory note from last fall.

The city executed a note on Oct. 27 promising to pay Blue Cross $2 million in unpaid bills by Jan. 5, the lawsuit states. But the city failed to pay and that constituted a default, the lawsuit states.

As of Wednesday, no payment had yet been made and the lawsuit seeks the principal amount of $2 million as well as 5 percent interest that accrued to $58,904 from Jan. 6 to Wednesday, for a total amount sought of $2,058,904, according to the complaint.

Blue Cross has been one of the city’s largest vendors with bills that have gone unpaid under the city’s financial crisis. As such, the lawsuit was not necessarily unexpected, said Mayor Chris Doherty, adding that he is in contact regularly with Blue Cross about the situation and the firm is continuing to provide health care coverage for the city’s employees.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/blue-cross-sues-scranton-after-city-defaults-on-2-million-note-1.1356343

Businesses Worry Over Scranton’s Deepening Financial Crisis

Between sips of soda at Sal’s Pizza on Linden Street, Nick Noll recounted his time as a Scranton business owner.

His business, Keystone Granite and Marble, was on Diamond Avenue in Scranton but moved to Old Forge earlier this year as he saw deepening financial problems and grew tired of the business privilege tax.

“As soon as I moved to Old Forge I felt like I received a raise,” Mr. Noll said. “It no longer became a question of whether or not I should pay my taxes or take my family on vacation.”

Mr. Noll said the increase in the gross receipts tax proposed in the city’s revised recovery plan from 0.75 percent to 1 percent is “counterproductive” to bringing business back into the city.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/businesses-worry-over-deepening-financial-crisis-1.1354898

Scranton Mayor Cuts City Workers’ Pay To Minimum Wage

A fiscal and political crisis in the nearly-broke northeastern Pennsylvania city of Scranton deepened Tuesday as public employee unions sought to have the mayor held in contempt of court after he defied a judge and slashed workers’ pay to minimum wage.

Unions representing firefighters, police and public-works employees also filed a pair of federal lawsuits against Mayor Chris Doherty and the city that alleged violations of labor law and due-process rights.

Doherty last week ignored a court order and cut the pay of about 400 city workers to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The Democratic mayor said it was all the cash-strapped city of more than 76,000 could afford, promising to restore full pay once finances are stabilized.

“It’s incredible,” the unions’ attorney, Thomas Jennings, said Tuesday. “I’ve never had a public official just say, `I’m not going to obey a court order. I’m not even going to try. He can’t tell me what to do.'”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=398160

Scranton Mayor’s Lawsuit Hearing Not Set Until August 3rd

SCRANTON, PA – The Lackawanna County Court set a hearing date more than a month away on Mayor Chris Doherty’s lawsuit to get his financial recovery plan implemented, effectively increasing pressure on the mayor and city council to resolve the issue through negotiations.

The Aug. 3 court date allows council solicitor Boyd Hughes the legally required time to respond to the city’s lawsuit, a court official said. The suit asks the court to order the mayor’s recovery plan implemented or to order a council vote on it.

But with the city running out of money, facing increasingly impatient creditors and the mayor unilaterally slashing 398 employees’ pay to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to save money, the far-off court hearing date at least temporarily dashed hopes for a quick resolution.

“It can’t wait until August,” city Councilman Bob McGoff said by telephone after the hearing. “I think what it means is that the mayor and the council president need to get together before Aug. 3.”

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/doherty-lawsuit-hearing-not-set-until-aug-3-1.1336275

Scranton’s Leaders Brace For 2012 Staff Cuts

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty’s reaction to staff cuts contained in city council’s 2012 budget was simple.

“We will do more with less,” Mr. Doherty said Wednesday, reflecting on how his administration plans to grapple with looming personnel reductions after lawmakers on Tuesday night overrode his veto of their $85.3 million 2012 budget.

Despite a wide-ranging list of cuts – including 29 firefighter layoffs proposed by Mr. Doherty himself – the mayor maintained there could be delays in nonessential services, but stressed garbage collection will continue uninterrupted.

“We have to live in the budget they give us,” said Mr. Doherty. “We are going to make it work.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/scranton-s-leaders-brace-for-2012-staff-cuts-1.1250766#ixzz1i37DSzKa

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty Invited To The White House For St. Patrick’s Day

Logo of the United States White House, especia...

Image via Wikipedia

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty received a letter from the White House inviting him and his wife to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the President and First Lady.  Mayor Doherty was surprised by the invitation.  V.P. Joe Biden was born in Scranton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s father was born in Scranton, so there is a Scranton connection in Washington, D.C.

In March of 2008, during the presidential primary, then Senator Obama spoke at the Irish Women’s Dinner at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton.  In April of 2008, Senator Obama returned to Scranton for a meal at the Glider Diner.  Mayor Doherty supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary and raised money for her campaign

It should be noted that Scranton’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is reported to be the fourth largest in the United States.  150,000 people pack Scranton for the parade and festivities.  The good news is that the parade in Scranton will be on March 12th so Mayor Doherty will still be in town for the celebration. 

In 2008 Hillary Clinton was Grand Marshall for the parade.  Mayor Doherty would like the President or Vice President to come to Scranton and be Grand Marshall of their parade.

Congratulations to Mayor Doherty for this high honor.

Scranton: Northeast Pennsylvania’s Economic Growth Engine (Part Two)

(Continued from yesterday’s Part I below)

I asked Mayor Doherty if the population decline in Scranton was a concern and was he focused on trying to reverse it.  The mayor said the population is growing and becoming more diverse.  There are now two dozen languages being spoken in the Scranton School District and over 70 ESL teachers.  When the mayor took office ten years ago there was one ESL teacher in the school district.  I recently read that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area is the least diverse of any metropolitan area in the United States over 500,000 people.  It would seem this may be changing.

We talked about the significance of what having a medical college and possibly a law school would mean for Scranton.  Bringing in and retaining college educated people will help stop the “brain drain” and grow a population with more disposable income.  This in turn fosters economic development and reduces crime.  Medical schools and law schools bring a certain amount of prestige to any city lucky enough to have one.  Perception is a hard thing to change.  These types of accomplishments will tangibly demonstrate that Scranton is not a rust-belt, blue-collar, post-industrial casualty.  Instead, Scranton has pulled itself up by its bootstraps and seeks to reclaim her proud heritage and rightful place as an economic powerhouse in Pennsylvania.

With a new governor in Pennsylvania things will most likely change.  Ed Rendell was a friend to Scranton and poured $140 million into the city for economic development.  Governor Corbett is still an unknown, only just taking office.  Many who received funding from Rendell are worried that money might be harder to come by under Corbett.  The good news from Scranton is private sector funding for economic development has reached a level that will sustain Scranton in the event that money from Harrisburg dries up.

One of Mayor Doherty’s mottos is “invest in yourself”.  Two examples of this are the restoration of the municipal building lobby and fixing the broken “Scranton The Electric City” sign that is perched atop on of the city’s taller buildings (pictured above).  The mayor feels strongly about the message neglect, disrepair, messy, dirty and cluttered can send to residents and visitors.  The first-floor lobby area in the historic Municipal Building was cluttered with soda/snack machines and was in need of a major spruce up.  The mayor did just that.  (While I was waiting outside the mayor’s office, I took a picture of the lobby because it was so impressive – see Part I photos).   The “Scranton The Electric City” sign had been broken for decades.  Now the sign lights up every night and makes a positive statement about the Scranton of the present, while honoring the city’s past accomplishments.

Having frequent events is an important tool Scranton uses to promote itself, attract tourists and prospective residents.  Scranton has a huge list of events like First Night, St. Patrick’s Day Festival (3rd largest in the U.S. and draws 150,000 people), La Festa Italiana (draws another 150,000 people), Komen for the Cure (10,000 people), Steamtown Marathon (2,500 people), Scranton Jazz Festival and the Pages and Places Book Festival.  These events are helping to make Scranton a “destination”.

My last question to Mayor Doherty was “What has been your greatest challenge?”  His answer was “changing the way people think”.  People need to believe that things are possible instead of falling into the “it can’t be done here”, “it will never work”, “we can’t afford it”, “we never did it that way before” and the litany of excuses to maintain the status quo.  The status quo is why Scranton hit bottom and had 22 empty building in its downtown. 

Mayor Doherty has a vision for Scranton and is undeterred by criticism and negativity.  Nor is he content to rest on his laurels.  He always has future projects on the back burner and showed me some of them while we walked.  The mayor is taking the revitalization of Scranton one project, one building at a time. 

I will share one last thing Mayor Doherty said to me, which is important to always remember.  These things take time.  It took seven years to get to the Connell Building project completed.  Construction took less than one year.  All the planning, committees, red tape etc… took six years.  Rome was not built in a day and neither will Scranton (or any other city) be magically revitalized.  The mayor has accomplished all these things over ten years.  It takes a dedicated team of people to make all this happen.  It also takes someone like Chris Doherty to lead the team with a positive, can-do attitude, a never give up mentality and most of all a healthy dose of patience.

The Electric City has a bright future and is poised to again become one of Pennsylvania’s most vibrant and important cities. 

 

Scranton: Northeast Pennsylvania’s Economic Growth Engine (Part One)

I recently had the pleasure of being given a tour of downtown Scranton by Mayor Chris Doherty.  Here are some thoughts and observations from my experience.

Mayor Doherty is a very down-to-earth person.  I was impressed by his friendliness towards the residents of Scranton and his commitment to the city.  We were joined by developer Charlie Jefferson.  Charlie developed the Connell Building and is working on some other projects in Scranton.  I will be writing a separate article about Charlie and his projects.  These two gentlemen made my trip enjoyable and highly productive!

Mayor Doherty gave me some basic information, before we left the office, about what has gone on in Scranton during the ten years he has been mayor.  When Mayor Doherty took office there were 22 empty buildings in downtown Scranton.  Scranton had hit a low point.  He decided his focus as mayor would be finances, the parks system and the downtown.  Former Governor Ed Rendell gave Scranton $140 million during the eight years he was in office.  It has certainly been put to good use.

One thing which pleasantly surprised me is the walkability of the downtown, for a mid-sized city.  The nice grid pattern of the streets, good signage and cleanliness were huge pluses.  I felt completely safe.  Scranton has a low crime rate for a mid-sized city.  As we walked and talked it became readily apparent that Scranton has turned the corner.

There are plentiful and diverse restaurants in the downtown which include things like Thai, Lebanese and Vegan.  A high-end steak house is also under construction downtown.  It will be along the lines of Morton’s or Ruth Chris.  We walked through the construction area that is being framed-out.  The influx of new center city residents, the Commonwealth Medical College, the University of Scranton, two courthouses, a municipal building, Steamtown Mall and new companies setting up headquarters downtown have swelled the demand for goods and services.  There is substantial foot traffic downtown, a key ingredient to redevelopment.

Mayor Doherty has built three new parking garages and rehabilitated one to make sure adequate parking is available for downtown visitors, shoppers and workers.  Lack of parking had been an issue that kept people from coming downtown.

Several companies have relocated or grown their businesses downtown.  An old Woolworth’s store is now home to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney & Fax Serve, which combined employ 200 people.  A high-end salon opened downtown that has grown to 80 employees.

Downtown Scranton has a Hilton Hotel and a Radisson Hotel.  The Radisson is the former Lackawanna Railroad Station.  Talk about an adaptive reuse success story!  We went inside so the mayor could show me around.  It is fantastic!  Both hotels are large and well-kept.  I asked Mayor Doherty what the occupancy rate averaged and he said “85%”.  Scranton hosts many events, conferences and meetings which help keep the hotels full and visitors coming into Scranton.  The mayor made a good point by saying people visit Scranton, leave impressed and spread the word!

The University of Scranton is located downtown and home to 7,000 students.  The university is growing by leaps and bounds.  Currently there are two enormous construction projects taking place that total more than $100 million.  The university is also considering the establishment of a law school which would be another huge economic boost for Scranton.  The University of Scranton is a key partner, along with the city, in transforming the downtown.

Commonwealth Medical College is building a campus downtown.  This is Pennsylvania’s first medical school to be built in 50 years.  The school is now leasing space and is in their second year of operation.  In September, the student body will move into the school’s new permanent downtown site.  The medical school will be responsible for bringing 800 new jobs and 600 students into downtown Scranton.  Six hundred new apartments/condos will be needed in the next five years as a result.  (If the law school becomes a reality; housing demand will sharply increase above the current projection for 600 units, fueling further economic development downtown.)

During our tour, we walked past the building used as the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company headquarters in NBC’s hit mockumentary, The Office.  Scranton was on the list of possible locations being considered.  When it was discovered the bar across the street from the building was named The Office, Greg Daniels decided it was perfect.  The Office has brought a great deal of free publicity to Scranton and has increased tourism.  There are monthly tours offered (March through December) and conventions, for fans of The Office, that bring many people to Scranton.

There is more to come in Part II on Thursday



One Of My Adaptive Reuse Posts Catches Eye Of Scranton Mayor

Scranton Cultural Center_0157.jpg

Image via Wikipedia

This is one of those moments that makes sitting here blogging away every day worth the effort.

I wrote a post for Code Blue’s The Pulse blog about an adaptive reuse project, here in Pottstown, that would transform the old armory building on King Street into luxury apartments.  This would be significant as there are several other projects lining up along the same lines.  If this project is successful, it could jump-start redevelopment in the central core neighborhood.

As an example of adaptive reuse in a central downtown neighborhood, I cited the Connell Building project in Scranton‘s central business district.  My post and reference to Scranton’s renaissance caught the eye of Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty.  As a result, I am traveling to Scranton on Tuesday to meet Mayor Doherty and get the mayoral tour of Central Scranton.  I am more than a little excited!

Here is a link to my post about the armory project:

http://codebluepulse.blogspot.com/2011/01/pennsylvania-state-armory-building.html

There will be a posting and lots of pictures from my trip!

Center City Living In Scranton Is Taking Off

Building near the Lackawanna County Courthouse...

Image via Wikipedia

The demand for Center City Scranton housing is heating up.  Another blighted landmark building in Central Scranton is being converted into more than 35 apartments with retail space on the first floor.  The 5-story Chamber of Commerce Building was built in grand style in 1926.  Brass rails, marble floors, 14-foot tall built-in bookcases and rollout doors are featured in the beautiful interior.  The building served the Scranton Chamber of Commerce until 1998.

Developer Charlie Jefferson, is the force behind this transformation.  Jefferson was also responsible for the Connell Building’s transformation into loft apartments.  All of the loft apartments were leased before anyone moved in.  Jefferson’s total investment in downtown Scranton is $35 million.  This Chamber of Commerce building sale was some where in the vicinity of $1 million according to Jefferson.

The former East Scranton Junior High School will be converted into 24 apartments.  A $3 million grant from Ed Rendell will help to transform this property into more apartments.  The school has been closed since 2001, according to a Facebook alumni page.

The construction of The Commonwealth Medical College is going to drive demand for 600 additional apartments in central Scranton in the next five years.  The amount of recent development in Scranton has been astonishing given the economic downtown during the last several years.  An increased population in the central business district will spawn the need for stores, restaurants, clubs and services like banks, dry cleaners, grocery stores and other conveniences for residents.  The Commonwealth Medical College is building an 180,000 square foot building in downtown Scranton that is opening this year.  The new facility will house the school’s educational and research programs.

Mayor Chris Doherty said “the success of the city will come from life downtown, and the trend is well on its way.”