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Summer Parks Program Saved in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE -- Some summer programs at city parks in Wilkes-Barre could have been a thing of the past if it weren't for a federal grant that helped pay for summer employees.

Jah-Zi Gibson has been coming to Huber Park in the Mayflower section of Wilkes-Barre since he was a kid. Now, he brings his son here for some good one-on-one basketball from time to time.

"If it's not the swings, it's the slides. Just running around, things like that," Gibson said.

Free summer programs at parks just like this were on the chopping block this year.

In April, city administrators chose to cut the park attendant program and close the indoor pool at Kistler Elementary. The cuts saved taxpayers $40,000 dollars.

"If the parks had been busy and active and a lot of interaction with the park attendants, we would've taken a harder look at it. But last year, driving around the different parks, it was just the park attendants," Wilkes-Barre City Administrator Ted Wampole said.

However, a federal grant made possible by CareerLink in Luzerne County saved the summer attendants program.

24 high school students will be hired for the nine-week job at $8 an hour.

Students will be hosting some fun and educational activities in the following six parks across Wilkes-Barre.

  • Coal Street Park
  • Iron Triangle Playground
  • Frances Slocum State Park
  • Huber Park
  • Parsons Park
  • Miner Park

Each park was chosen because they cover different areas of the city.

"We want someone who will engage with the kids, that's not afraid of a little hard work because they might be cutting grass, or throwing out garbage," Administrator for theLuzernee County CareerLink, Christine Jensen said.

Officials said it's a win-win situation. They are giving students job experience and saving money for the city,

"It's good to get people in the community to come to the parks and stuff like that," Gibson said.

Students are still encouraged to apply. They must meet the following guidelines:

  • 16-18 years of age
  • Currently enrolled in high school or a high school graduate
  • Eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Family benefits or with a total household income of $31,000 or less

To apply, you can visit CareerLink's offices in Wilkes-Barre at 32 East Union Street.