HONESDALE -- Some people on assistance in Wayne County will have to travel farther in the future. The county assistance office is moving.
The state signed a new lease with a developer that plans to build an office about half an hour away from Honesdale in a business park closer to Scranton than its current location.
Some people aren't quite sure it will help those who rely on the services in this location.
You must go up to the second floor to get to the county assistance office on 8th Street in Honesdale, but within a couple of years, depending where you live, you'll need to travel at least 30 minutes more.
"I think keeping that where it's at would be best rather than moving it 30 minutes away. Mothers need something close to home. Same with the elderly," said a mother who wanted to remain anonymous. The woman was at the office getting her son health insurance and doesn't believe it's fair to move the office to a business park near Hamlin.
Kayla Heater of Honesdale feels the same way. "People who don't have transportation, it would suck for them. Especially because it's low-income people."
The Sterling Business and Technology Park near Hamlin has been marketed as a business park close to Interstate 84 so industry might want to move here. Instead, it's the County Assistance Office located in the county seat of Honesdale moving there in two years' time at the extreme southern end of the county.
State officials confirm a lease has been signed with a developer to start in April 2018 on Routes 191 and 196. They say proximity to clients and public transportation were considered in the decision to move to the site.
Still, stores and restaurants in Honesdale expect to lose business when the 20-plus employees and those who come to the office move south.
"We'd lose customers and people who spend money in stores. They eat in town. They shop in town. It brings people into the town," said Jeff Hiller of Greater Honesdale Partnerships.
In our area, only one other county has its assistance office located somewhere other than the county seat, and that's Carbon County. Carbon County's office is in Lehighton, a14-minutee drive from Jim Thorpe.