Could the Hotel Sterling Finally be Demolished?

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WILKES-BARRE -- Could the Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre finally be demolished?

A vote at tomorrow night's Luzerne County council meeting could be the last big step needed to begin the long talked about demolition.

That also means some closed streets in downtown Wilkes-Barre could reopen.

At the intersection of River and Market Streets in Wilkes-Barre traffic was at a standstill. Drivers weaved in and out at the traffic light while others simply sat in line.

"Driving back and forth to school every day it`s annoying.  How long have you been sitting here for? Probably about five to ten minutes now," said Tim Zaccone of Wilkes-Barre.

It's all because of detours in place around the Hotel Sterling.  The northbound lane of River Street and the west bound side of Market Street were closed after the flood inspectors found the building to be unsafe.

Wilkes-Barre city officials say the estimated cost to knock down the building came back at just under a half million dollars. The city can cover a little more than half that cost. Luzerne County council will have the option to vote on covering the rest of the bill.

According to the recommendations by Luzerne County manager Robert Lawton, if county council fails to act, the Hotel Sterling could fall into bankruptcy.  Because Wilkes-Barre city officials declared it unsafe last year in September, that means the city would be responsible for the entire cost of the demolition.

"Well it would be nice if they could restore something so we can bring something back to the city of Wilkes-Barre but it`s in a very inconvenient spot," said another driver caught in the mid afternoon traffic tie up.

City officials say if council votes to help fund demolition, only a few small hurdles would remain in place and the building could come down by the end of the year.