Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty is a man on a mission in 2011. His goal is to make improvements at two existing city parks and create a new pocket park. Doherty hopes to use Community Development Block Grants and a $50,000 state grant from the governor’s office, which was verbally committed to by Ed Rendell.
1700 Perry Avenue was formerly the site of a school and is now a vacant lot. Doherty thinks this site would be ideal for a pocket park. Scranton City Council eliminated funding for the proposed park from the 2011 budget. Undeterred, Doherty is seeking other funding as listed above and additional grants through Lowe’s, Home Depot and Kaboom. The mayor estimates he needs $75,000 to complete the North Scranton pocket park, which will feature a swing set, playground area and bike path which will also include a small BMX trick park. This vacant lot is a blighted property. Creating the park will clean up blight, add more recreation and improve property values in the neighborhood.
The Clover Field Park is next on the agenda. The Mayor hopes to add a playground area to a section of the park. The playground area would serve neighborhood children and the children who take part in the West Side Jets junior football program. The West Side Jets use the park as their home base. The cost for these improvements will be $135,000 and funded through the Community Development Block Grant program.
The third project will impact the Novembrino swim complex, 10th Avenue, also on Scranton’s West Side. The deep water pool is going to be eliminated and a splash park added in its place. Adding a splash park eliminates the need for lifeguards and cuts down on the city’s water bill. The splash park is expected to cost $183,000. The city is looking at their pools, which are all around 40 years old.
Doherty said “We have an obligation to reinvest in neighborhoods, stabilize them and maintain property values.” Mr. Mayor, we could not agree more!