Lackawanna County’s Globe project gets $1 million state grant

Lackawanna County’s Globe project gets $1 million state grant

As appeared in The Times Tribune by Jeff Horvath on December 22, 2017.

Officials overseeing the conversion of the former Globe Store into the future home of Lackawanna County government got an early Christmas present Friday — a $1 million state grant for the project.

State Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald, announced Friday that five redevelopment projects in Lackawanna County, including the Globe conversion, will receive a total of $5.5 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants.

“The senator brought home the bacon,” Commissioner Patrick O’Malley, the Globe project’s chief advocate, said of Blake, while also thanking a laundry list of other local lawmakers. “This is the greatest Christmas present we could have had.”

Consolidating county government at the Wyoming Avenue landmark will provide one-stop shopping for those looking to use government services at a single location in the heart of downtown Scranton, Blake said in a news release announcing the grants.

O’Malley — who has been making that point since before the county bought the Globe last year — and other officials went to Harrisburg earlier this year and met with Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff to lobby for the grant. He also spoke with Wolf personally about the Globe project and asked the leaders of local unions representing county employees to write letters requesting the grant, he said.

“We’re revitalizing the 100 block of Wyoming Avenue. We’re bringing back a historical building that everybody loves,” O’Malley said. “This doesn’t just affect us. This affects all those businesses that are for rent, for sale, for lease across the street from us, all up Wyoming Avenue.”

Officials expect to complete the project by late 2018 for less than $17 million, though some, including Commissioner Jerry Notarianni, are skeptical of that estimate and fear cost overruns. Construction work at the Globe began earlier this month.

“Realistically, to this point we’ve spent $3 million (on the project),” said Notarianni. “It’s great we get that grant and hopefully it lessens the burden on the taxpayers of Lackawanna County.”

Calling the project a “hallmark for my administration,” O’Malley rejected the notion it will cost more than expected.

It’s great to have the million dollars in breathing room, but the fact is … we’re going to be under 17 (million dollars),” O’Malley said.

Also receiving RACP funding are:

n Carbondale Development Partners: $1.5 million to complete a large-scale redevelopment plan for multiple acres along Main Street in the city’s business district.

n Scranton Counseling Center: $1 million to continue work to relocate the center into a new facility in South Scranton. The South Scranton location is a former button factory that developer Charles Jefferson of Jefferson-Werner LLC plans to renovate. “That additional RACP (money) goes a long way to getting the project kicked off,” Jefferson said.

n The Dickson City Revitalization Project: $1 million to construct new commercial office space and a warehouse facility in and around the rear 200-400 blocks of Main Street.

n Just Believe Recovery Center in Carbondale: $1 million to add an additional 12 detox rooms and 12 rehab rooms to its existing operation, among other improvements.

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