WILKES-BARRE -- A quarter of a million dollars could be invested to bring in more concerts and events to the River Common in Wilkes-Barre.
Luzerne County, King's College, and Wilkes University announced a plan to give $250,000 to the Riverfront Parks Committee over the course of five years. The money would add more concerts, cleanups, and events to its common area along the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre.
“This is a great way to get the activity level up, get some new things going on here, and get the whole county and city involved,” said John Loyack, executive vice president of administration and business at King's College.
The Riverfront Parks Committee organizes big celebrations like Riverfest. Previously, members said it was underfunded, but this money from the new partnership will open new doors.
“When people come down here for the first time, I think they're stunned to realize just how much park space there is down here and just how beautiful it is,” said Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership.
Those with the Riverfront Parks Committee also hope to teach people to appreciate the beauty of the environment through their events.
“When you come to this unique setting, say the amphitheater, you're outside. You're right where the environment is, where nature is happening all around you,” Executive Director of the Riverfront Parks Committee John Maday said.
Luzerne County Manager David Pedri said Wilkes University and King's College did not have to team up with the county on this plan, but this effort shows the strong support of the schools.
“They have chosen to be part of this community. They have chosen to assist us,” Pedri said.
“We have 3,000 people that come downtown every day to live, to work, and to be educated, and so it's a part of our community,” said Michael Wood, special assistant to the president at Wilkes University.
Even on hot days like Monday, officials estimate hundreds of people use the park every day, and that number has only gone up as time has gone on.
“I think that would be really awesome actually. Rivers are great. I love being around water,” visitor Hiram Gonzalez said.
If the partnership is approved by county council, it will go into effect next year.