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State Casino Money Pumped into Luzerne County

WILKES-BARRE -- Several parts of our area are cashing in with some state grants, thanks to money from the state's casinos.

More than $2 million of the casino money will be invested into projects throughout Luzerne County with more than half of that staying in Wilkes-Barre.

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance, which specializes in workers compensation, is in the process of making empty space in downtown Wilkes-Barre its new headquarters.

And while the company told Newswatch 16 it is still doing its due diligence, a $1million grant was awarded to help the company expand and grow in Luzerne County as part of the state's casino money account.

"It's an enormous benefit," said city administrator Ted Wampole. "The city has worked extremely hard under Mayor George's administration to try to keep GUARD in downtown Wilkes-Barre. This will be where their headquarters will be so we will have the HQ of a Berkshire Hathaway company set up in downtown Wilkes-Barre."

The Wilkes-Barre city administrator estimates around 600 to 700 jobs come with that expansion which means those people will be eating, working, and living around the city.

And the money doesn't stop there.

Newswatch 16 has covered extensively the Solomon Creek flood wall which partially collapsed back in December.

More than $5 million is needed to repair the wall but city leaders admit a $500,000 state grant is a large drop in the bucket towards a long-term solution.

The whole list of grants for Luzerne County includes:

  • $25,000 to Ashley Borough for the Last Phase Borough Building construction;
  • $30,000 to Fairview Township for a new police cruiser;
  • $250,000 to Hanover Township for Medico Industries Pressline #4 phase 3;
  • $240,000 to Hanover Township for the Lower South Valley COG for road restoration;
  • $104,385 to the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority for the Luzerne County courthouse interior restoration project;
  • $1,000,000 to Wilkes-Barre for GUARD Expansion;
  • $60,000 to Wilkes-Barre for renovations to improve YMCA’s Accessibility, Pool and Wellness Center;
  • $500,000 to Wilkes-Barre to reconstruct retaining walls at Solomon Creek.

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