NeighborWorks Plans 10-Year Effort to Improve West Scranton

SCRANTON, Pa. -- NeighborWorks of Northeastern Pennsylvania is looking for suggestions from folks in Scranton. The organization kicked off a decade-long effort to improve West Side.

NeighborWorks of Northeastern Pennsylvania has found a new home for its latest project. The community development nonprofit will soon move its offices to Smith Street in west Scranton.

And to say thanks to the new neighborhood, NeighborWorks is promising a ten-year effort to tackle some of West Side's main problems.

"I think there's, you know, just like many neighborhoods in northeastern Pennsylvania, there's blight, issues with blight, decreasing home ownership which can be a problem for an older neighborhood like this, aging housing stock, you know, the business community needs investment along Main Avenue. All of those things are things we want to address through this process," said NeighborWorks' Jesse Ergott.

Wells Fargo bank put up $100,000 to get everything started. Organizers say they will look for more grant money over the next decade to be spent in west Scranton.

"I see great opportunity for individual homeowners to be able to invest a little bit more in their home to make it a better place, to work on our public places, and to increase our businesses and make them more vibrant," said Karin Foster, West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch.

The project will start this summer. NeighborWorks plans to do a survey of every property in west Scranton, then go door to door asking neighbors what kind of development they would like to see.

"I hope they come around soon, and I could use some advice, stuff like that," said lifelong west Scranton resident Robert Hughes.

Hughes has some ideas. He'd like West Side to see more of the kind of development he's seeing near his home on Snyder Avenue. A long-vacant house next door is being renovated and eventually resold.

"If one starts, the next one starts, somebody sees it and they try to mimic it or try to improve it, stuff like that. It's a great idea, that really helps," Hughes said.

Officials with NeighborWorks say the next year will be the planning process to get feedback from residents and pick worthy projects to be completed over the next decade.

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