SCRANTON -- There are plans to make it easier for people to access the Lackawanna River. But first, a utility company must clean up contamination that's been around for years.
It's a seven-acre swath of land that many Scrantonians may not even know is there. It's off Cliff Street, sandwiched between the Steamtown National Historic Site and the Lackawanna River.
It doesn't look like much now, but Lackawanna County's Director of Parks and Recreation sees potential.
"I look at this as a spot that could host festivals, daily recreation, whether it be fishing, boating, connection to the trail for biking and walking. I think that there's a lot of diversity that could go on on this site," Bill Davis said.
Lackawanna County will acquire the land from UGI, but only after the utility company does a state-mandated contamination cleanup.
People may remember the land as an old gas plant. The state Department of Environmental Protection shut it down in the 1990s.
The cleanup will take about two years and cost $7 million that UGI will pay. Lackawanna County plans to seek grants to pay for the park.
Plans are to build a pedestrian bridge so that the park will connect with the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Trail on the other side of the river.
Lackawanna County Commissioner Pat O'Malley told Newswatch 16 the park will connect people who live in downtown Scranton to the city's natural resources.
"It's a park in downtown Scranton, something that I think we've needed for years, especially now that we have a lot of citizens living in downtown Scranton," O'Malley said.
UGI plans to start its work in the spring. It could still be a few years before the park along the Lackawanna River is a reality.