Plans for Development of Old Scranton School for the Deaf

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A developer based in California has big plans for a former school in Lackawanna County.

The former site of the Scranton School for the Deaf may become a restaurant, event space, and apartments.

That developer will take one of the first steps in the project next week when it goes in front of the Scranton zoning board.

They're starting with the only building on the property that's in the city. The rest are in Dunmore.

Orange zoning notices posted throughout Scranton's Green Ridge section mark the first step in a project to revitalize one of the most beloved historical properties in this neighborhood the former campus of the Scranton School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.

"We take our dog in the field every now and then, and we also see couples getting engagement photos there every now and then. So, it is a nice really beautiful area and I think being able to restore it would be great for the community," said Dunmore resident Kathleen Jordan.

"They're going to put a restaurant in there and they're going to have something for events, and I would think that would be a good thing," added Scranton resident Joe McCarthy.

A developer based in California has plans to renovate the campus.

Scranton zoning board shared drawings of the plans, which include apartments, a distillery, bed & breakfast, and first, the development of a restaurant and coffee shop along North Washington Avenue.

Most of the property is in the borough of Dunmore.

Only one building is in the city of Scranton. It's also the newest and the first one that the developer plans to renovate and could be the keystone of the entire project.

The developer, Urban Smart Growth, says the restaurant would face the rest of the campus and would be there to serve residents of the apartments and the community.

Neighbors have some concerns.

"The neighbors are really not opposed to development of that site, quite frankly, I think it needs to be done. However, we are cognizant that we would like a developer who would listen to some of our concerns," Mary Walsh-Dempsey said.

Walsh-Dempsey lives across the street from the school. She's worried about how the project could affect traffic and noise levels in her neighborhood.

"Primarily, we want to protest the integrity of our neighborhood. If you've been out there, it's a beautiful residential neighborhood, many of us have lived there for decades, it's generational."

We spoke with representatives of Urban Smart Growth who told us that they have done a study to see how the project could affect traffic and they say the effect would be insignificant.

They plan to go in front of the Scranton zoning board on Wednesday and neighbors say they plan to be there to raise some concerns.