WILKES-BARRE — Residents of Sherman Hills reacted with surprise and curiosity when they heard the news that the troubled housing complex will likely have a new owner soon. Others in the Diamond City were cautiously optimistic, that the complex which came to symbolize violence, could be changing for the better.
The Coal Street Deli sits just yards from Sherman Hills. Owner Christian Tavarez hopes a new owner could mean a better life for his customers.
“Everybody is waiting for a change,” he says, adding that he hopes a new owner will mean a better live for his customers. “I deal with them every day, everybody that comes here is good people, there is a lot of people here that work, that actually work, they just try to better themselves”
According to officials on the Sherman Hills task force, New Jersey based Treetop Development is expected to buy the complex next month. The new owner is expected to go ahead with planned improvements including a fence, 24-hour security, and surveillance cameras.
Zavia Warren lives in the Interfaith townhouses right next to Sherman Hills and welcomes the news.
“People won’t be afraid to just go right there, like my best friend lives in the first building right there, people are so afraid to go in there, because you are afraid you will get shot or something,” said Warren.
For Mayor Tom Leighton crime at Sherman Hills has been an ongoing problem.
In August two young girls were shot, In September the accused killer of a baby from New York City was found hiding here. Soon after, a task force was formed to turn things around.
The mayor said that as the sale is finalized, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development which provides section 8 funding will have some power to require the buyer to make improvements.
“I want to make sure that the new owners know, that this is our city, they are coming into our city, and they know we have rules and regulations that we are aggressively going to enforce,” said Mayor Leighton.