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Plans for Pocket Park Progress in Scranton

SCRANTON, Pa. — One of the only undeveloped pieces of land in downtown Scranton may soon become its first pocket park. A state grant has cleared the way f...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- One of the only undeveloped pieces of land in downtown Scranton may soon become its first pocket park. A state grant has cleared the way for development at the corner of Wyoming Avenue and Linden Street.

The city of Scranton purchased the lot almost two years ago with plans to develop it into downtown green space but there were a lot of hurdles before any development could happen.

City officials say a state grant just secured helps them clear the last hurdle.

The city's plan to put a pocket park on this lot along stalled when officials realized how much it would cost to do the necessary environmental remediation.

But the pocket park plans are back on.

"I certainly would, because I live down here and I walk a lot, absolutely," said Bob Pfaffroth.

As early as this spring, the lot could become green space that Mayor Wayne Evans says the downtown really needs.

"Downtown has become a neighborhood, there's more and more apartments and condos downtown, almost, it seems like, every day. So, I think the people who live downtown deserve to have a pocket park. If you go to New York City, every corner has a pocket park. that's something we want to see downtown," said the mayor.

State officials say the soil there is contaminated because of the dry cleaning business that was here for about 50 years A state grant meant for projects just like this one will pay for the remediation, a job that'll cost more than $350,000.

The lot is on one of the busiest corners in downtown Scranton where Linden Street meets Wyoming Avenue and this area of the city has become even busier.

"I think this whole block has come alive. The county offices have moved in a block away, and we see a lot more traffic for people taking a walk on their lunch hour. I think it's just going to be great for everyone to have a place to go," said Kara Schermerhorn.

City officials say other grant money will pay for the development of the park. The remediation work could start as early as this fall.