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'Step Up Shamokin' raising funds to save historic stairs

They are known as "99 steps" and they've been around for more than 100 years. Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize shows how you can help.

SHAMOKIN, Pa. — If this staircase could talk, it would probably have a lot of stories. It's known as "99 steps" and was built on East Lincoln Street in Shamokin in 1914. Thousands of people used the steps every week to get to and from their factory jobs.

"The sides are gorgeous. The stonework is still gorgeous. The rails are even in pristine condition, but the stairs and the risers have to be replaced," Allison Williams said.

The 99 steps have been closed since 2008, but now the group Step Up Shamokin is raising money to renovate them.

"These steps that are so important to people and they're still closed, so we said, 'You want to open it up? Then step up, Shamokin!'" said Kathy Vetovich.

Vetovich is with the group Shamokin Area Businesses for economic Revitalization" or SABER. She says renovating the 99 steps is not about functionality; it's about pride.

"All of a sudden, people see that something is happening. There's this sense of, oh, they're trying it again, and nothing is going to happen. We're showing them, have pride, have a sense of accomplishment. We're doing it."

The project is expected to cost $200,000. Brian Persing Masonry will do the work at a discounted rate.

"Shamokin is coming back. The businesses are opening in town. We have people who are investing back in the town, so I'd like to be a part of that any way that I can. I see it like when I was a kid," Persing said.

For those who donate certain amounts of money, there will be opportunities to get their names on bricks used in the renovation.

"People are willing to donate, people are willing to work, and we're all on board," Williams said. "We'll make it happen."

The first phase of the project is expected to start next month.

Donations can be made via check or money order, which should be addressed to

SABER,
150 E. Lincoln Street,
Shamokin PA 17872

Credit: WNEP