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Leaders in Wilkes-Barre plan for pandemic recovery

As cities try to bounce back after the pandemic, leaders in Wilkes-Barre are coming up with plans to come out on top with help from the American Rescue Plan.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown says he and his administration have studied the pages of the American Rescue Plan and are already making plans for the $37.1 million that will be granted to the city.

"We put some of these things together. It was, how can we best help the residents of the city Wilkes-Barre, to help make up for some of their financial situations they went through with a lost revenue because of the pandemic," said Mayor Brown.

Brown says he and his staff will be working with third-party social agencies to get stimulus money to residents and nonprofits in Wilkes-Barre, with the overall goal to help them recover and improve the city.

"We looked at what parameters there were within the act that we could use to help the residents of Wilkes-Barre," said Brown. "Stimulus check that we're going to be putting out to households that show that they've been adversely affected."

Residents looking for a cash stimulus will have to prove their primary residence is in the city and that they have been adversely affected by the pandemic. The mayor is also hoping to give money to people looking to improve their Wilkes-Barre properties or to people looking to start a business in the city.

"We put together a program to establish new businesses in the city of Wilkes-Barre, so if someone wants to come to Wilkes-Barre, open up a business. We're going to help them with funds," said Brown. "Someone wants to buy a home in the city of Wilkes-Barre? We're going to help them with their down payment."

Mayor Brown says this will help fulfill the vision he's had for Wilkes-Barre when he decided to run for Mayor.

"If they can show us that they've been adversely affected financially, that household will get a check, and we haven't determined how much it's going to be, but that's going to be something that's going to be beneficial to the households," said Brown.

In addition to payments to residents or people setting up a business, the mayor hopes to use some of these funds to help nonprofits and upgrade the sewer systems and creek infrastructure in the city.

Now, all these plans are still in the works. There is no word yet on an application process or a payment date for people in Wilkes-Barre.