HAZLETON -- There may be a lot of changes coming to one city in Luzerne County.
Hazleton has been awarded millions of dollars to renovate its downtown area and improve its police department.
The city hopes to get even more money. The city is applying for more than $1 million in state gaming money to try to renovate Alter Street, one of its business districts. It wants to redo the street, the sidewalks, and some of the storefront facades.
"There are many grants out there, and they are available for cities for purposes like this," Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat said.
The mayor should know. In the past two months, the city has received more than $3 million in grant money to renovate several buildings on Broad Street and revive that area.
The city's police department has also been awarded more than $1 million for new technologies and more manpower to curb crime.
"We've been aggressively pursuing every option we have. I reached out to everybody I know that could write a grant, asked them to submit some type of grant for us. Everybody has their own expertise in which grant to write for, so I have been going to everyone I can and asking can you help us out," said Cusat.
The mayor and organizations applying for grants have a vision that a facelift to areas of the city will translate into this place being more appealing to businesses, thus sparking economic growth and jobs.
"We want people to come to Hazleton and open up businesses here, live here, work here. There are a lot of positive things happening in Hazleton. This is the next area that I would like to start working on," Cusat said.
People already living in the area hope all the money coming to Hazleton does change the city for the better.
"Hopefully it will keep going the way it's been going and not turn around and deteriorate again," said George Mazur of Hazleton.
"We are all hoping for the better," said Nick Rossi of Hazleton.
The city should find out in the spring if it will get the state gaming money to begin the revitalization project on Alter Street.