Casino Revenue Used To Repair Historic Bank Building

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WILKES-BARRE – There are mixed opinions about the use of grant money from casino revenue, to restore a historic building that does not yet have any prospective tenants.

City officials told Newswatch 16 that they are using $1.3 million in grants to repair the walls, roof and skylights of the former First National Bank on Public Square.

Mary McDonough remembers the bank when it was last open in the 1970’s and believes that the project is a good use for gaming funds.

"I think it`s a good thing, I do, because we have to keep our city up in order for us to survive,” said McDonough. "Downtown was very well developed. After the flood, things really took a turn for the worse."

After walking by the big black protective netting on the front of the building, Jim Stephens told Newswatch 16 that he thinks the plan is dicey.

"It`s good that it's getting fixed up, but without really having a buyer, that`s another story I guess,” said Stephens. “There`s certainly, probably other projects where casino money could have been used better, especially if they didn`t have a potential buyer.”

Stephens said the situation seems similar to the Hotel Sterling saga.

Organizers received state aid and casino revenue to restore that historic high rise, but contractors demolished it last summer, after authorities deemed the building dangerous.

Wilkes-Barre officials said they’ve already received interest in the building from commercial and residential developers, but there are no solid commitments yet.


  • Mad In Hazleton

    I remember a democrat gov. named Ed 14 cent Rendell who pushed for the casino money and promised that the money would go towards property tax relief…but when he got his first influx of money he gave it to pitt for a new hockey stadium…….I have not seen my property taxes go down as promised by a Democrat, now flash forward to now Tom Wolfe says he’s going to tax the gas and oil companies to give the money to the teachers unions, this will cause the gas and oil industries to close up shop….they gave millions to the counties where they are drilling……Wolfe is a typical democrat aka liar.

  • jdog

    Whatever happened to the theory that casino revenue was going to provide property tax relief? Oh, that’s right, that was just BS, to get loser politicians to to vote yes to the casinos….

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