Mullery: House minority leader tours Luzerne County

McClinton learns firsthand about region’s blight challenges

NANTICOKE, July 15 –  State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, welcomed House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton to Northeastern Pennsylvania on Thursday. McClinton was in the region as part of her factfinding tour of communities throughout the state.

“I’m very grateful to spend time in the 119th District today and seeing firsthand how the Commonwealth’s investments are helping meet local needs and how additional support will bring about development to this important region,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware.

McClinton visited the L.S. Bowl-A-Rama site in Nanticoke. The 122,000 square-foot structure running the entire length of East Washington Street between South Prospect and South Walnut streets has been vacant since 2007. The former silk mill has been a longstanding eyesore in the community and, despite changing ownership on multiple occasions, has yet to be razed.

“We are on the verge of securing significant state funding to assist the city of Nanticoke in demolishing this eyesore,” Mullery said. “I wanted Leader McClinton to see the hurdles cities like Nanticoke face in acquiring and eliminating blighted properties so they could rehabilitate these sites and attract new developers who will contribute to the tax base.”

Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin said he was honored to host Leader McClinton. “This property has become the city’s responsibility at a cost of nearly $1.4 million to destroy. We have worked with our state partners to acquire much-needed grants. This particular property has become a public safety concern as debris has begun to fall onto the streets and sidewalks. We need the state’s assistance to help protect our citizens.”

Mullery and McClinton also visited Main Street in Glen Lyon. In 2016, the Economic Innovation Group reported Glen Lyon was the most distressed community in Pennsylvania. One key factor in their determination was that nearly one-third of Glen Lyon’s properties remained vacant. A significant portion of those properties are blighted.

“Newport Township officials and community organizations have worked tirelessly to remove blighted properties from the township,” Mullery said. “However, they have been limited by a lack of funds. Given her position, Leader McClinton has the ability to advocate on behalf of communities like Newport Township and others throughout the Commonwealth for inclusion of blight remediation monies in the annual state budget.” Mullery added.

Township Manager Joe Hillan welcomed the visit from Leader McClinton. “We’ve recently received a grant that will help us demolish 18 blighted properties in the township, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the state’s partnership. I think it is important for our state leaders to see how those funds are being put to use to better our communities.”