SHAMOKIN, Pa. -- Two buildings in Shamokin are in the process of being torn down to make room for a medical center. It's part of a state program to revitalize communities.
Shamokin has seen its share of blighted buildings, but one by one, some of them are coming down, starting with two on Independence Street.
"At one time, that used to be Phil's Men's and Boy's Store, but then it became an auto supply and got deteriorated," Bob Mrowte said.
Demolition started this week and people gathered across the street to watch.
"It's good to see it go. So many buildings are falling apart in town and for the development they're going to put in, it's a great idea," Bruce Heefer said.
Earlier this year, $3 million in state grant money was designated for improvement projects in Shamokin, including this one. Keystone Health Care Development Corporation plans to build a health care facility here.
"It's nice to have something like that close to here. I've been sick a lot," Janice Mrowte said.
"Having something right in town because we do have an older population in this area and they won't have to drive as far for the medical center," Rich Lippay said.
Another project in Shamokin is turning the former Coal Hole bar into a 40-room hotel.
The owner of the former Coal Hole bar tells Newswatch 16 the project is still in the design phase. Even so, people are excited about the future changes in Shamokin.
"Bring more opportunity to the town and we can certainly use it, so I think it's a good idea," Lippay said.
"We need more occupations around here. We need more jobs. That's one of the best things they can do for us," Heefer said.
No demolition date has been set for the former Coal Hole bar. Construction on the health care facility is scheduled to start next summer.