Pittston Awarded Grant for ‘Open Space’

PITTSTON, Pa. -- The city of Pittston was just awarded a grant to help renovate a portion of one of its buildings.

The Open Space on South Main Street in Pittston is home to an art gallery filled with work from local artists and the Boden clothing store.

"I think we've been looking at ways to bring this building to its full capacity, so it was wonderful to hear that the state was willing to put up this type of investment," City of Pittston Office of Community Development and Redevelopment Authority Deputy Executive Director Mary Kuna said.

The city's redevelopment authority bought The Open Space building about six years ago. It's done work on the first floor, and now, it wants to do work on the second floor.

"I think any more communities have to look up," Kunda said. "We don't have a lot of space. We're landlocked, so we have to build up."

Last year, Kunda applied for a state grant. The city was awarded $220,246 to make improvements to The Open Space building. That money would go toward revitalizing the building's second floor, which is not in use.

"This is another gesture of what I call vertical development, and that's the recognition that we have a finite amount of space on our Main Street from the north to the south point," Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo said. "So in order for us to maximize our tax base and to bring in the optimal and maximum amount of businesses, we need to look to upper floors to do that."

The money would go to putting an elevator in the building and for other necessities, such as lighting and electrical upgrades.

"A lot of communities have these buildings that are two, three stories and you always see the first floor redone, but you leave this vacant, empty space on the second or the third floor, and it really underutilizes the building," Kuna said. "So it's incredibly important to fill it."

The redevelopment authority will need to secure more money to fully redevelop the second floor.

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