Fountain Could Soon Be Back In Public Square

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WILKES-BARRE -- There's a new effort to restore an iconic part of downtown Wilkes-Barre. City council has just given the green light to start a revitalization project on Public Square.

It's all in the early stages, but there is some focus in the plans. That focus is restoring the iconic fountain at the center of the square.
"I got here the same year they turned it off, so I never got to see it," said Guy McKeown of Wilkes-Barre.

There's a strong chance that many could once again see the fountain turned on.

"The goal of my administration has always been to complete the entire square. Approximately 75% of the surrounding square -- the sidewalks, the street scape, the new street lights that were installed in 2006 -- has been completed," said Wilkes-Barre Mayor Thomas Leighton.

The city says getting this fountain to work is the main focus of this revitalization project. Officials hope it will restore this to a place you stop by and visit, instead of a place you just pass through.

The city is currently working with the National Resource Network which is based out of Washington D.C. to help secure the funding to restore the fountain and help boost the downtown economy.

"You get the fountain up and running, first of all it's very attractive looking. Second of all, a lot of mothers would bring their little kids out to splash around. So yea, I think activity would pick up a bit," said McKeown.

"I would like to see our fountain back to capacity, working again. Kids were able to come down here and when it would get real hot they were able to get cooled off by the fountain," said John Knox of Wilkes-Barre.

The city also hopes to include a few smaller projects to clean up the area around the fountain.

"Like new sidewalks, new planters, maybe some new landscaping, some new trees so on and so forth. Just to beautify the interior of the square," added Mayor Leighton.

Most of the money for this revitalization project is expect to come from federal grants. City officials will be presented with the completed public square strategy in October.

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