SCRANTON, Pa. — A news conference on the side of the road in Scranton's West Side drew enough attention to draw Tom Murray out of his cab to check out what was going on.
State and local officials announced a plan to revitalize part of the Scranton neighborhood, a part of the city Murray sees a lot of while out driving.
"Yeah, that'd be very good. Get people out walking around to the smaller stores and the mom and pop shops."
West Side has been given a special distinction by the state. It's now labeled as an Elm Street Neighborhood, meaning it will be prioritized for grant funding for revitalization projects.
NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania is spearheading the project set to wrap up in 2030.
NeighborWorks has picked four areas of West Side, calling them catalyst zones.
One is Allen Park along North Main Avenue.
Also, an area of Luzerne Street was picked for more recreation space. The Luzerne Street Shopping Plaza would be revamped.
Clover Field in between West Elm and West Locust Streets would see some new development.
NeighborWorks officials came up with the ideas after forming a committee of West Side neighbors in 2019.
"Instead of looking at the problems, the issues, the things that needed to be fixed in west Scranton, we wanted to start with all of the things that were great about the neighborhood, the good things that were happening, the people who were leading change there, and work with them to build up on their efforts," said Todd Pousley of NeighborWorks.
Mary Pat Ward, a mom from West Side, was on that committee.
"Raising my daughter, who is a senior at West Scranton High School, so this is meaningful on so many fronts, as a resident and as a parent."
She sees an opportunity to create a neighborhood where her daughter will want to live long-term.
"Having a community where kids want to be, that they can go to businesses and have activities within walking distance of their home. I think that's important for kids."
The project is still in its infancy. The neighbors won't be seeing any work in West Side until at least this summer.
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