W-B Officials Moving Forward On Improvement Projects
WILKES-BARRE — City officials are moving forward with some initiatives to improve residents’ quality of life, including two city park improvement projects, repair of a bridge and keeping a better handle on vacant properties in foreclosure.
At a work session Monday, city Administrator Ted Wampole asked council members to pass at their Thursday meeting resolutions allowing officials to award a contract to the lowest bidder for the rehabilitation of Weissman Park and Spruce Street Park and to buy new playground equipment for the parks.
The work and equipment, which is expected to cost close to $250,000, will be paid for through the city’s federally funded Office of Economic and Community Development budget and grant money from the state’s Marcellus Legacy Fund, which is bankrolled by natural gas drilling fees.
City OECD Director Joyce Morrash Zaykowski said work at the parks will include replacing worn playground equipment, removing brush and dead trees, regrading several areas, painting existing equipment, installing four new picnic tables at each park, increasing handicap accessibility, expanding pavilions and adding or replacing fences.
“I saw the plans last weeks, and the parks are going to be beautiful,” Zaykowski said.
She expects bids will be advertised next week.
Council also will consider authorizing officials to apply for a $250,000 state grant to fund repairs to the Strauss Lane Bridge, which will allow the city to partially open the bridge to pedestrian and local traffic over Solomon Creek.
And the administration wants council to amend city code to require owners of vacant property in the foreclosure process to register the property with the city semi-annually instead of annually.
Ted Mucellin, a representative of ProChamps, the company that handles vacant property registration for the city, said mortgage holders often sell such properties, and the city has to track down the new owner from records that could be outdated by as much as 11 months. Increasing registration frequency will mean more up-to-date records.
That would allow the city to more quickly respond to complaints about such properties from neighborhood residents, Wampole said.
The administration also proposes increasing the registration fee from $200 to $300 to bring it in line with other municipalities, he said.
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In other business
Council at its 6 p.m. meeting Thursday on the fourth floor of city hall, 40 E. Market St., also will consider authorizing resolutions to:
• Honor Harry McCarthy on his retirement from the fire department after more than 30 years of service.
• Sell a vacant lot at 447 S. River St. to Nathan Summerlin for $1,000. • Appoint Fire Chief Jay Delaney to the housing authority board. • Appoint Karen Komorek to the parking ticket appeals board. • Appoint retired firefighter Thomas Kosciolek to the fire civil service commission. • Reappoint Phil Latinski to the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority board. • Award a five-year contract for bridge inspection to Alfred Benesch & Company.