Old Schoolhouse Coming Down, Part of Lackawanna County Land Bank Program

FELL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- An old schoolhouse in Lackawanna County is being torn down after decades of being vacant.

The nearly 100-year-old building in Fell Township is now the first property not in Scranton to belong to the Lackawanna County Land Bank, a program that finds money to tear down blighted buildings.

"Nobody is going to be able to come in to use their own funds to make it worth their while to do anything with it. If the county can help us out with the land bank, get it done, get these properties productive and back on the tax rolls, how could it not be a win for everybody?" said township supervisor Andy Gorel.

The building used to be an elementary school in Fell Township called the Roosevelt School.

"There's a back area of the school that the foundation has caved in, and I've always wondered what held that building up," said township resident John Revak.

Newswatch 16 talked with Revak to learn more about the old schoolhouse. He's Fell Township's unofficial historian.

"My mother, my sister, and brother attended the Roosevelt School. By the time I got into school in kindergarten in 1964, the Roosevelt School had been shut down."

Revak says the building has been vacant pretty much ever since. It has never been able to keep an owner, so now the Lackawanna County land bank will use its resources to get it torn down.

Fell Township will be the second of the 40 municipalities in Lackawanna County to join the land bank.

"This is a big opportunity for the people of Fell Township. Look at the neighborhood, it's a beautiful neighborhood, and we have blight right amid of it. Once the blight is taken care of, this neighborhood is going to be totally revitalized," said Lackawanna County Commissioner Pat O'Malley.

Once the building is torn down, the property will be put up for sale.

"New construction is always a good thing for the town. Part of me is sorry to see it go. Where the Washington School was, there is a beautiful park. Hopefully, when something is gone, something much better takes its place," said Revak.

The hope is to have the building torn down by the spring.

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