Carbondale Park is Saved, At Least This Summer

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CARBONDALE -- A park in Lackawanna County that officials say was accidentally sold in a court sale will still be open for park-goers in Carbondale this summer. But, a deal to buy back the property is in limbo.

Mike Staples of Carbondale thought White Bridge Park had a lot of potential. He planned to build houses there when he bought the lot in a court sale a few weeks ago.

But, he wasn't prepared for the backlash.

Kids who used the park in Carbondale called for Staples to give it back.  Especially, since the city says the property ended up for sale by accident. At first, Staples didn't budge.

But, now, the 'no trespassing' signs are gone at White Bridge Park. And a judge has gotten involved. The city of Carbondale can keep the park as long as they can get the new owner a better deal.

"White Bridge Park is pretty unique. It's about an acre of land. perfectly flat in a nice quiet neighborhood. We don't own a piece of property like that," said Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor.

The current owner bought the property for about $2,000. In order to make a deal with him there are some conditions. First, Lackawanna County has agreed to pay Staples his money back. Then, the city of Carbondale can swap a property with him that's worth about the same amount of money.

"I can't put a monetary value on this property. It's been a playground for 61 years and generations of children grew up on this playground. And, hopefully now many more generations are going to grow up here," said Frank Perry of Carbondale.

Perry lives just down the street from White Bridge Park, and led the charge to get the park back. He hopes the city can strike a deal within the 60-day window required by the court. But, at least his grandkids have a place to play this summer.

"It's caused a giant uproar, especially with the kids and so on, which we always want to worry about them having something to do," added Taylor.

Mayor Taylor says the deal is still in limbo. Mike Staples says Carbondale hasn't made any acceptable offers yet.

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