Streetscape Project Kicks Off in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE--- A $1.5 million streetscape project in downtown Wilkes-Barre kicked off Monday morning.

It might look like graffiti on the sidewalks of Wilkes University campus right now, but a few spray painted red lines are the start of something big.

"Wilkes University is becoming a nationally recognized small research university. We want to make Wilkes-Barre one of Pennsylvania's best cities," said State Senator John Yudichak, D-14th District.

The project was funded mostly by state grants and more than $400,000 by the university.

Soon, there will be new sidewalks, better lighting, and a few trees will be cut down so that students and citizens can see people more easily on a three-block stretch near the school.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George said it's a win-win situation for Wilkes University students and the citizens of Wilkes-Barre.

"I've always said, how Wilkes University goes, Wilkes-Barre goes. How Wilkes-Barre goes, Wilkes University goes," Mayor George said.

Older lights will be replaced and there will be more of them installed. Officials hope this will make students feel safer at night.

"It's unsafe in Wilkes-Barre," Wilkes University senior Alyssa Schuler said. "This makes me feel safer at night because this is all lit up."

"It's like any city, really. I try not to travel alone or in pairs," Wilkes University senior Casey Krause said.

University officials hope that through this project they're able to attract more students because campus will look nicer and it will be safer.

The hope for city officials is that if more people are interested in the university, more jobs and more money will flow into Wilkes-Barre.

"We want to continually attract people from not only Luzerne County, but from the surrounding states as well. We have to have a campus that really pops when they come to visit Wilkes," President of Wilkes University Patrick Leahy said.

The streetscape project should wrap up before the start of the fall semester.