More Money for Multi-Million Dollar Renovation Project in Downtown Hazleton

HAZLETON -- Downtown Hazleton is getting a bit of a facelift. A multi-million dollar improvement project is already underway, and now the state is chipping in another $300,000.

Scaffolding along West Broad Street in Hazleton might keep some people from coming downtown, but all these changes are the reason Jake Ripa reopened his jewelry store right in the heart of the city.

“With the development you're just going to see it snowball into adding more businesses, adding more restaurants, adding more activities in the downtown, especially Hazleton,” owner of Ripa Jewelers Jake Ripa said.

As part of the renovation project, $300,000 was awarded to continue repairs on a building in downtown that will eventually be a business incubator. It should bring in even more jobs to the city.

“It's a resource for people who are looking to start a business but don't necessarily have an education or access to resources,” Executive Director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress Krista Schneider said.

There are five other buildings that are also being renovated in downtown that used to be vacant for years. Now, they'll be filled with an arts center, restaurants, and other businesses.

“There's a lot of office space being renovated and so we see this as a really good opportunity for people who are looking to start a business to kind of get a jump start on things,” Schneider said.

The spark of development in downtown is only good news for business owners like Jake Ripa.

“I think within the next 16-18 months you're going to see a lot more activity in the downtown and consequently you look forward to things. You don't look back and I think this is going to be perfect,” Ripa said.

The indoor renovations on the business incubator should be finished late this year.

6 comments

  • Phil Nichols

    Why are tax dollars being spent on private development? This never ends well for the taxpayer. It is not the job of government to play “banker”. If this were a worthwhile project, private developers would be lining up, with their own financing already in place.

  • Dave

    In theory this seems like a great plan to bring a positive outlook and boost the morales of community residents. In all actuality it’s a huge waste of money and time. It’s all smoke and mirrors to detract from the real issues. Like many of the cities in NEPA, Hazleton has been ruined. It’s held hostage by criminals, drugs and violent crime. You can put a fresh paint job on a car with a blown engine, but in the end it’s still a piece of junk that’s going nowhere. It’s definitely a sad realization, but the truth sometimes slaps you in the face and stings a bit or a lot in this case. I live in Mountain Top so I’m bookended between Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre, which are equally facing the same problem. Only a matter of time until Mountain Top succumbs to the same fate.

  • Casino Cash Coruption

    More grant money for millionaires . Originally that casino money was promised for the common folk and to reduce tax burdens. Rigged system!!!

  • Pick ME!!!

    Oh, please, pick ME!! I can spend multi-millions of taxpayer’s dollars on renovation projects! I CAN!

    Did I read that someone actually said that this project would bring more businesses to Hazelton? ROTFLMAO!!!! I wonder if they were able to say that with a straight face. Um….nope. People don’t want to do business in downtown Hazelton because it isn’t safe. It isn’t convenient. It surely is NOT appealing, and money is too tight for people to be spending on anything other than getting by, these days. Oh, and paying taxes so that pork fat projects can be funded.

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