Carbondale Officially Owns White Bridge Playground

CARBONDALE, Pa. -- A playground in Lackawanna County finally belongs to the city it's in.

White Bridge Playground in Carbondale has switched hands several times over the years and was even at the center of a lawsuit.

A handshake and piece of paper finally ended a long back and forth along Hemlock Street in Carbondale. Lackawanna County commissioners handed over the deed for the White Bridge Playground. Carbondale purchased the property from the county for $1 last month and this makes it official.

"It's a beautiful piece of property," said Carbondale City Clerk Michele Bannon.  "It's tucked away here in the back and you can't believe that you're five minutes away from downtown Carbondale, but you've got a nice woody feel back here, so it's a great little neighborhood."

The city of Carbondale thought it owned the White Bridge Playground for decades, maintaining it all that time.

Then, it was sold at sheriff's sale in 2012.

A county judge eventually reversed the sale in 2016, and now, Carbondale plans to make some improvements.

"It allows us to maybe have some more progressive idea here and put some investment into this little pocket park," said parks and recreation director Brian Durkin.

The city of Carbondale will continue to maintain the playground just as it always has. City officials say having the deed in hand just ensures that nothing will change here. Change is something neighbors near the playground have feared for the past several years.

'Without it, where are people in this area going to go?" asked Kyle Grecco.

Grecco grew up mere feet from the playground. He and his family were part of a neighborhood effort to have the sale of the park reversed.

"It was always a place me and my buddies could just go hang out and have some fun. I was riding the swings, the jungle gym, the basketball over there. Spent a lot of time there growing up," Grecco said.

Grecco says now that tradition can continue and there's a new appreciation for White Bridge. You don't know what you've got until it's almost gone.

"From this happening, with it being sold in the repository sale, we saw neighborhoods working together and getting together. You never know what's possible when that happens. That's the ultimate goal because we can't do it all ourselves. We need the community to help out. It actually helps build community inside it all," Bannon added.

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