WILKES-BARRE – As authorities work to solve a violent crime reported at a popular recreational spot in Luzerne County, a group of volunteers spent the day sprucing Kirby Park.
Around 80 workers from Geisinger Health Plan split up at the park, to clean up litter and paint benches and curbs.
“This is probably one of the greatest assets in the community. People need to come out and enjoy it. The more people that come out, the safer it will be,” said Chris Fanning. “As we heard the stories this week, we thought some people will have a negative idea coming, but I did not hear one complaint.”
Fanning said the cleanup was scheduled long before the report of a teenager being sexually assaulted in Kirby Park.
Police arrested a homeless man back in May for attacking a woman who was walking along the levee in nearby Kingston.
Amy Covell told Newswatch 16 that she was excited to see volunteers sprucing up Kirby Park after the reported crimes.
“We feel very safe here today,” said Covell. “We live out of town, and we wanted to bring our children here. It’s such an amazing opportunity because we played here when we were little.”
Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch President Charlotte Raup said there is renewed interest in a neighborhood watch at Kirby Park, but the group would need a new batch of younger volunteers to make it happen.
“We`ve cleaned it several times on the other side. There`s a lot of characters there and there shouldn`t be. Wilkes-Barre is seven square miles; there should be no place in the city that looks like that,” said Raup. “If we get volunteers, we’ll help them out. We’ll work with the police, we’ll work with the state police, and we’ll do everything we can.”