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Vacant Scranton School Slated to Become Apartments

SCRANTON, Pa. — A former elementary school in Scranton’s west side has sat vacant for years, frustrating neighbors who describe the building as a co...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A former elementary school in Scranton's west side has sat vacant for years, frustrating neighbors who describe the building as a costly and unattractive mess.

Now, a developer with plans for the empty lot has many neighbors hopeful for change.

That developer plans to buy the former Lincoln-Jackson Elementary School on Academy Street and turn it into apartments.

Boarded up windows, broken glass, and a crumbling infrastructure are what people who live near the former school are used to seeing when they open their doors.

"We keep our blinds closed, you know. There's a problem with kids at night breaking windows. You never know when the police are gonna be here, the fire department's gonna be here. You never know what's gonna happen," said Mike Passero of Scranton.

Passero has lived across the street from the school his entire life. He even went to the school as a child, but after the Scranton School District closed the school in 2011, the building has sat untouched.

"Myself and my neighbors have been fighting for 10 years just to get something done with this," Passero added.

The Scranton School District first put the former school up for sale in 2016. It rejected several bids, but this week, the district accepted a $51,000 offer from developer Art Russo.

His spokesperson says the plan is to turn the building into apartments for senior citizens.

People in the neighborhood can't wait.

"I think it would be best for them to do that, you know. All the kids they just hang out, and it's a mess around here," said Cindy Conden of Scranton.

"It's been a long time coming. I mean, you look at the place, and it's just disgusting," said Ron Mikolayczak of Scranton.

"Now it's gonna be a jewel in the neighborhood," Passero said.

The sale is expected to close in mid-December. The developer hopes to have people living in the revamped building as soon as the fall of 2020.