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  #1041  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2007, 11:23 AM
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I'm glad it looks like there's movement toward preserving (restoring) the breaker. Hope funding can be found for the work.

Let's see, he paid $25,000 for the property in '97 and ten years later, with no improvements to land or structures, he says it's worth $800,000. Fuzzy math?
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  #1042  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2007, 2:03 PM
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^^^We'll dress you up as Old King Coal, EX, put a sandwich board on you and take you cross country on a rolling platform. My take will be 15% to manage you plus free 'eats'...

segue to Scrantonia: as to the NYC-Scranton rails thing. Tho Scranton's projected ridership looks unacceptabley poor, Scranton might have an 'ace in the hole' warranting the Scranton link anyway:


01/18/2007
Train stop for city gets boost
BY ROGER DUPUIS II
STAFF WRITER


If they build it, will it stop in Scranton?


“It” is the proposed $551 million passenger train service between Northeastern Pennsylvania and Hoboken, N.J. Plans call for storing and fixing the trains here, bolstering the Electric City’s chances for securing a station stop despite limited passenger boardings, the region’s top rail official believes.

“We do feel the (projected) ridership is very low,” said Larry Malski, chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority, which is sponsoring the state’s end of the project. “But locating the storage and maintenance yard here is major factor in bringing the trains to Scranton.”

A environmental study commissioned by New Jersey Transit, which would run the trains, predicts a year 2030 daily ridership of only 40 passengers per weekday from Scranton, just 1.1 percent ?of the estimated 3,520 daily eastbound riders on the line. By contrast, stations in the booming Poconos region could generate nearly 90 percent of the line’s traffic.

Jeffrey D. Stiles, executive vice president of Edwards and Kelcey, an engineering firm that worked on the study for New Jersey Transit, said it is common practice to locate railroad storage and maintenance facilities at the ends of the lines, which eliminates the expensive practice of running off-service trains out to the end of the line to start the day.

And, said Mr. Malski, the Scranton brownfield site eyed for such a yard, used for that very purpose decades ago, is far preferrable to building one in a potentially more residential area of the Poconos.

“It’s been known to kill a project,” he said of ill-planned rail yard placement. “We have the facilities, the infrastructure. It’s been here for 150 years. It’s the ideal place.”

Moreover, changing the rail yard location would require the environmental study process to begin anew, Mr. Stiles said, a costly and time-consuming delay.

That’s clearly not what planners want after years of delays just to reach this point.

New Jersey Transit would like to have its draft environmental assessment, complete with public comment, submitted to the Federal Transit Administration shortly after the March 2 public comment period ends, and hope to have FTA’s response back by this summer.

At a public comment meeting in Scranton on Wednesday, the handful of speakers who addressed the audience seemed broadly in support of the project, with no public outcry against its environmental impact.

Monroe County property owners, who will have their own meeting Jan. 25, are also expected to be broadly in support. In New Jersey, where more property owners may be affected by the line, there could be more concerns, though the study predicts few major impacts — a matter FTA ultimately will rule on.

Ultimately, FTA also will rule on whether Scranton’s projected passenger numbers justify federal funding for the line, a step that will come after the environmental report is approved, and after Pennsylvania and New Jersey officials hammer out how much each state will contribute, not just to construction but also to operation and maintenance.

While Keystone State politicians from Gov. Edward G. Rendell to its Congressional delegation have expressed support for the project, how much they’re willing to contribute remains to be seen.

“There have been preliminary discussions, but no final decisions have been made,” said Jack M. Kanarek, senior director of project development and capital planning for New Jersey Transit.

Those decisions will be necessary before the project can get FTA blessing for the next step, preliminary engineering.

Contact the writer: rdupuis@timesshamrock.com
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  #1043  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2007, 2:26 PM
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Well that is a bit of good news right before the weekend. I was wondering where the yard on the Scranton end is located. If it's close to downtown there could be a condo boom/downtown revitalization in the coming years as more and more commuters move to downtown Scranton from the NYC area for cheaper housing. More residents (and demanding NYers at that) could change the whole complexion of Scrantons urban core. Art galleries, theatres, restaurants, who knows? And the valley might get that 25 to 30 story building you're looking for (granted it would be in Scranton, but there's no telling what kind of spill over W-B could experience from something like this. Just make sure the crima rate stays low and the school system ranks high, and the folks will flock to NE PA in droves.


OK, maybe I'm being overly optimistic, and I probably won't be around in 2030 anyway, but it's still fun to hope.
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  #1044  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2007, 3:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex-Ithacan View Post
Well that is a bit of good news right before the weekend. I was wondering where the yard on the Scranton end is located. If it's close to downtown there could be a condo boom/downtown revitalization in the coming years as more and more commuters move to downtown Scranton from the NYC area for cheaper housing. More residents (and demanding NYers at that) could change the whole complexion of Scrantons urban core. Art galleries, theatres, restaurants, who knows? And the valley might get that 25 to 30 story building you're looking for (granted it would be in Scranton, but there's no telling what kind of spill over W-B could experience from something like this. Just make sure the crima rate stays low and the school system ranks high, and the folks will flock to NE PA in droves.


OK, maybe I'm being overly optimistic, and I probably won't be around in 2030 anyway, but it's still fun to hope.

I assume that the referenced storage/maintenance facilities are located just beyond Steamtown or in that area anyway...that area along the lackawanna River and below the business district plateau is full of trackage on into the warehousing area.....maybe Snakeyes has a firmer grip on the reality
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  #1045  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2007, 8:04 PM
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Originally Posted by donybrx View Post
I assume that the referenced storage/maintenance facilities are located just beyond Steamtown or in that area anyway...that area along the lackawanna River and below the business district plateau is full of trackage on into the warehousing area.....maybe Snakeyes has a firmer grip on the reality
Nope I can't add anything. Would love to hear the details of that meeting at the Scranton Hilton however.............Why can't we get high speed rail in this country?
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  #1046  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 2:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex-Ithacan View Post
"....... More residents (and demanding NYers at that) could change the whole complexion of Scrantons urban core. Art galleries, theatres, restaurants, who knows? ......"
Some of it is happening anway, it seems, without the rails:

How about this?...Palm Beach, Scottsdale, LA, NYC, Honolulu & SCRANTON???
with Philadelphian ladies inquiring too?


01/19/2007
House Beautiful lavishes praise on city boutique
BY KRISTIN WINTERMANTEL DURKIN
STAFF WRITER

Nikole Capozzi, co-owner of Lavish Skin Care, 600 Linden St., holds a copy of House Beautiful. The magazine ranked Lavish as one of the great places to shop. LINDA MORGAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Lavish Skincare is in good company.

The downtown Scranton boutique is one of 14 businesses listed in the current issue of House Beautiful magazine as great places to shop.

Besides Lavish, the list includes shops in such glamorous locales as Honolulu, Palm Beach, Fla., Scottsdale, Ariz., New York City and Los Angeles. The businesses are all featured under the heading “Here’s Where We Go To Shop To Get Happy.”

Owners Chris and Nikole Capozzi learned of their store’s selection when a copy of the magazine arrived in the mail from House Beautiful’s headquarters, along with a note that said, “Lavish makes the cut!”


It’s the first national press for the business, which opened in November 2003 in the 300 block of Spruce Street and moved to its current location, a larger space at 600 Linden Street, in September.

“It’s nice when you get recognized by people in the industry,” Mrs. Capozzi said. “It makes all the hard work mean something.”

A House Beautiful staff member contacted the Capozzis in the fall, saying someone from the magazine had recently visited the store, anonymously, during a visit to Scranton. The staffer then asked for some interior photos of the shop and for the name of its Web site (www.lavishskincare.com), but didn’t say why she need the information.

“She said they’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Scranton,” Mrs. Capozzi said. “It was great to be able to say (to her) that it’s not just us — look at all the other boutiques here. Downtown Scranton is really something.

She e-mailed some photos to House Beautiful, but never heard anything further until the January issue arrived in the mail.

The magazine mention has already produced some developments for the store. Mrs. Capozzi has gotten a few calls from people in Philadelphia, asking how far away Scranton is because they wanted to drive up to check out the store. And L’Occitane, a high-end skincare and fragrance line, authorized Lavish to sell its products. “(The press) makes the process of getting a new line a little easier now,” she said. “It gives a business like this precedence.”

And This:..........

01/19/2007
This could be riverfront’s year
BY DAVID SINGLETON
STAFF WRITER

Businessman Jerry Donahue stands on the Lackawanna Avenue Bridge, next to the former Central New Jersey Railroad depot, which he plans to renovate. LINDA MORGAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Over the past 25 years or so, Bernie McGurl has seen riverfront development proposals for downtown Scranton come and go.

“Big, throw-it-against-the-wall conceptual things” is how the Lackawanna River Corridor Association executive director describes those projects that never were.

Finally, there may be something that sticks.

Work is expected to begin this year on three intertwined projects Mr. McGurl predicts will change how people look at the downtown and the river’s place in it.


“It’s going to give us a whole new perspective,” he said.

First up will be renovation of the Central New Jersey depot on West Lackawanna Avenue. Businessman Jerry Donahue, who heads the partnership that bought the 116-year-old landmark in 2000, said the $4.45 million project is on track to start in May. Mr. Donahue plans to convert the depot into a retail and restaurant complex.

The Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority also hopes to break ground for the $2.9 million Scranton Downtown Heritage Greenway, a river trail linking Seventh Avenue and Olive Street.

Bridge is a key

The last piece of the puzzle is reconstruction of the Lackawanna Avenue Bridge. The state Department of Transportation, which is administering the estimated $3 million project for the city, expects to award contracts this summer, with construction to start by the end of the year.

The bridge project is integral to the other two since the Central New Jersey station is adjacent to the span, and the greenway trail will run beneath it.

All of the participants in the three-pronged effort came together last week to smooth over last-minute glitches, including divergent timetables.

Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert C. Cordaro, who facilitated the meeting, said he thought it was important to bring all the players together so there would be no further delays.

“Any project that is not moving forward is stalled, and this one wasn’t moving forward,” he said.

Mr. Donahue, who anticipates the renovation of the Central New Jersey depot will take 12 to 18 months, said the timing of the bridge reconstruction will be critical to his project.

“If PennDOT doesn’t start this bridge (this year), it’s going to create hardships for our property,” he said. “We are all going on a wing and prayer that PennDOT abides by its most recent timetable.”

PennDOT expects the bridge work to take 18 to 24 months, although the agency is shooting for the shorter time frame, spokeswoman Karen Dussinger said.

The bridge reconstruction is less of an issue for the Heritage Valley Authority since the greenway work from Olive Street to Linden Street will be tackled first, executive director Natalie Solfanelli said.

County eyes development

Mr. Cordaro said the county has more than a passing interest in what happens on the west side of the Lackawanna River. County officials are exploring “ideas and concepts” for potential residential, commercial or retail development on the east side of the river between Lackawanna Avenue and Linden Street.

But none of that is viable, Mr. Cordaro said, “until you can link to something real on the west side.”

“We really want to link the two sides of the river, but we have to do the west side of the river first.”

Last edited by donybrx; Jan 20, 2007 at 2:55 PM.
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  #1047  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 2:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donybrx View Post
Some of it is happening anway, it seems, without the rails:

How about this?...Palm Beach, Scottsdale, LA, NYC, Homolulu & SCRANTON???
with Philadelphian ladies inquiring too?
LOL, Scranton = foo-foo, who knew?

Now let's get that bridge built. If Scranton is to take over the NE as the new trend setter, the bridge is a must. I can just see Mrs. Kapinski from Olyphant being named to Mr. Blackwell's best dressed list.
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  #1048  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 3:11 PM
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LOl...good one...but remember that Scranton and Wilkes-Barre were fancy-schmantzy in their hey-day, as the Dallas & Houston of the time when oil was for ball bearings and coal was king;

Here's a wonderful website for Scranton in 1912 referred to as as "Anthracite Metropolis"; the site is three pages with thumbnails on the last two showing marvelous buildings and info..... a labor of love for the lady who scanned it and fun for such as us geeks, nerds and/or jes' plain affcienados.

http://www.rootsweb.com/~scwhite/ken...912/index.html
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  #1049  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2007, 8:57 PM
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Heck of a link dony. It'll take a while to explore that rascal. Thanks.
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  #1050  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2007, 1:32 AM
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^^^ I had a ball with it, EX and found some wonderful photos of beautiful old buildings among the thumbnails...and one magnificent old theater---the POLI.......gives you a sense of how productive and dynamic Scranton, Wilkes-barre and the area were at the time..on the way to big things...til the mines stopped....

btw I'm combing thru some sites for railroad maps and photos....
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  #1051  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2007, 7:17 AM
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Look who's turned up...

HEY!

I'm getting close to becoming a worthwhile member of this fine forum again. It looks like there is a lot for me to catch up on over the last few months. I intend on reading each and every posting and making comments as needed. So, gang, look for some pithy replies on topics you've most likely forgotton all about from last fall.

I will share one thing with you guys. Last Wednesday, I attended the public meeting held by NJ Transit on the Scranton-Hoboken rail line. Was anyone else from the Forum there?

The meeting was informative, and I was able to get some answers from the NJ Transit reps to questions I had, which was cool. I was disappointed by the low attendance, after hoping for more noticible support for a project that is projected to carry only 40 commuters a day to/from NYC. (For funding purposes, pleasure and vacation travelers can't be counted/estimated in the ridership numbers.)

I left the meeting with a slight feeling that our planet has a better chance of being hit by an asteroid over the next few months, than seeing the rail line connect to Scranton. There are battles and conflicts ahead that need to be overcome. The speed of the line is a detriment, too. Without high speed, there is no way a rider will get to NYC under 3 1/4 hours, about 1 hour longer than by bus/car. Adding trains from PA will strain the already clogged system in Northern NJ, I was told, and there is a stong NIMBY backlash going on near Andover. They are angry that the line will impact them, yet benefit PA residents. So much for warm neighborly feelings between NJ & PA.

The only thing that made me feel a bit positive is the plan to use the Scranton yards for maintenance, etc. of the trains.

Still, any train line appears to be a long way off. Too long for this boy who's been waiting for this for a decade already.

I've got a lot of reading to do...look for some more posts from yours truly sometime this week. And, yes, Ex-Ith, I still have to post the pics from our fall meeting. Keeping with the theme of this post, I'm getting back on track.

Any new Scranton/WB forum fans out there since I left?

MetroJ BJR
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  #1052  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2007, 2:25 PM
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Hokey smokes, MetroJ is back. Time to celebrate.


Glad to see ya again, and sad to hear the news on the rail to NYC. We've been having some pipe dreams about it.

Look forward to your comments on the other topics covered over the last couple of months. dony's been doing a dandy job of keeping us current, as usual. There are a couple of folks who chime in every once in a while and help out (always appreciated).

The only negative itwm I can think of is that we seem to have lost vasiliy.

Look forward to getting you back in the loop.
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  #1053  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2007, 2:28 PM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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HEY!

I'm getting close to becoming a worthwhile member of this fine forum again. It looks like there is a lot for me to catch up on over the last few months. I intend on reading each and every posting and making comments as needed.
Welcome 'home', MetroJ !! Happy to 'see' ya again!

Quote:
So, gang, look for some pithy replies on topics you've most likely forgotton all about from last fall.
...please be gentle.....


Quote:
I will share one thing with you guys. Last Wednesday, I attended the public meeting held by NJ Transit on the Scranton-Hoboken rail line. Was anyone else from the Forum there?

The meeting was informative, and I was able to get some answers from the NJ Transit reps to questions I had, which was cool. I was disappointed by the low attendance, after hoping for more noticible support for a project that is projected to carry only 40 commuters a day to/from NYC. (For funding purposes, pleasure and vacation travelers can't be counted/estimated in the ridership numbers.)

I left the meeting with a slight feeling that our planet has a better chance of being hit by an asteroid over the next few months, than seeing the rail line connect to Scranton. There are battles and conflicts ahead that need to be overcome. The speed of the line is a detriment, too. Without high speed, there is no way a rider will get to NYC under 3 1/4 hours, about 1 hour longer than by bus/car. Adding trains from PA will strain the already clogged system in Northern NJ, I was told, and there is a stong NIMBY backlash going on near Andover. They are angry that the line will impact them, yet benefit PA residents. So much for warm neighborly feelings between NJ & PA.

The only thing that made me feel a bit positive is the plan to use the Scranton yards for maintenance, etc. of the trains.

Still, any train line appears to be a long way off. Too long for this boy who's been waiting for this for a decade already.
Thanks for the input and first hand account....there is along way to go on this one....alas and alack...

Quote:
I've got a lot of reading to do...look for some more posts from yours truly sometime this week. And, yes, Ex-Ith, I still have to post the pics from our fall meeting. Keeping with the theme of this post, I'm getting back on track.
ugh ......lol....

Quote:
Any new Scranton/WB forum fans out there since I left?
hmm. Let's see now. Were you around when 'Snakeyes' appeared? How about 'BucksNative'---who I believe might be making his move to Scranton as we speak, er, write....?

As you'll see in reviewing the posts herewithin, he is connected to the newly proposed Scranton medical School. You guys will surely connect.....
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  #1054  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2007, 8:31 PM
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The anniversary of the tragic Knox Mine disaster is upon us:


Posted on Sat, Jan. 20, 2007

Preserving lessons from Knox Mine

By RON LIEBACK rlieback@timesleader.com
SCRANTON – Ruth Cummings was in a quaint Alabama high school on Jan. 22, 1959, when she heard about the Knox Mine Disaster.

Although it didn’t directly affect her region in the South, it had a huge effect on her, both personally and on her future career.

“I remember following this on the news every night,” she said. “And seeing the film footage of the vortex of water going down the mine was intense.”

After a career as a history teacher, Cummings moved from Alabama to Scranton in 2002 to fulfill the position of educator of the Anthracite Heritage Museum at McDade Park, her childhood thoughts of the catastrophe still vivid.

Her job as educator is to put together events to preserve history, such as the annual remembrance program at 2 p.m. today at the museum at McDade Park for the one of the most famous mine catastrophes in history, the Knox Mine Disaster, which occurred 48 years ago Monday.

“The program is intended to sustain the memory,” Cummings said. “Many of the people who are alive don’t know what it means. This is the most powerful event of the area, and it must be preserved.”

Cummings said the event is imperative because older people are concerned that the memory of the disaster is fading.

“We try to do something that will help bring that image to the surface again,” she said. “So the victims will not be forgotten and to help the younger generation understand how dangerous mining was.”

She said the primary part of the remembrance will be an oral history of people who were directly involved in the event, such as family members of the deceased and miners who went to work that day, but worked a different shift.

Most of the oral history will be read from a book titled “Voices of the Knox Mine Disaster” written by Robert P. Wolensky.

“The stories are fascinating,” she said. “It is very powerful to know that these people lived through this horrible event.”

The event usually attracts around 100 people, and this year folksinger Tim McGurl will sing the older songs written about the disaster in Jenkins Township.

Twelve miners drowned on that tragic day when the Susquehanna River broke through the ceiling of the mine in which they worked.

The mine had been improperly excavated beneath the river, and the water’s force broke through the thin layer of rock, according to historical accounts. More than 10 billion gallons of water flowed through this and other mines.

Although the 69 men who escaped and the dozen who did not were working in the River Slope Mine, the event is commonly known as the Knox Mine Disaster because they worked for the Knox Coal Co.

“Not only was it a physically powerful event because of tons and tons of water going into the mine from the Susquehanna, but also because it meant the end of mining in Wyoming Valley, which was limping along anyway,” Cummings said.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Lieback, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7210.
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  #1055  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2007, 6:00 AM
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Hokey smokes, MetroJ is back. Time to celebrate.

Glad to see ya again, and sad to hear the news on the rail to NYC. We've been having some pipe dreams about it.

Look forward to your comments on the other topics covered over the last couple of months. dony's been doing a dandy job of keeping us current, as usual. There are a couple of folks who chime in every once in a while and help out (always appreciated).

The only negative itwm I can think of is that we seem to have lost vasiliy.

Look forward to getting you back in the loop.
Happy to see the usual suspects still around. I wonder where Vasily went...maybe he's on sabbatical like I was.

Nice to hear from you again and thanks for the welcome back smilie face party.
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  #1056  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2007, 6:09 AM
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Welcome 'home', MetroJ !! Happy to 'see' ya again!

...please be gentle.....

Thanks for the input and first hand account....there is along way to go on this one....alas and alack...

ugh ......lol....

hmm. Let's see now. Were you around when 'Snakeyes' appeared? How about 'BucksNative'---who I believe might be making his move to Scranton as we speak, er, write....?

As you'll see in reviewing the posts herewithin, he is connected to the newly proposed Scranton medical School. You guys will surely connect.....
I'm ALWAYS gentle. Just ask all my EX'es.
I must have respect for someone who uses not only "alas" but uses it with "alack" in a posting.

Well, Snakeyes and BucksNative...nice to see new blood. At least new to me. I'm very excited about the new medical college coming to NEPA. It will be an honor to have BucksNative join the Scranton crowd!

Good to be back.
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  #1057  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2007, 6:31 AM
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I'm finding that prices are about the same unless one wants to live in a bad, cheaper part of Scranton. But the deciding factor for me in choosing my apartment, which is in Scranton, is its location. I can walk to my office at Mercy Hospital, to shops downtown, Nay Aug Park, and explore the university's campus. Plus, it's an older classy building, built in 1929, with some great architectural features. There's a photo here http://www.managemententerprises.com/clay.htmlthat doesn't do it justice. Actually there are two L-shaped buildings set on a circular driveway.
I'm just starting to catch up on past posts...and felt I should reply to this one first, partly because I was showing a friend from Philadelphia around town this weekend and made it a point to pass this gem on Clay Avenue. I told him, "I want to get an apartment in this building someday." LOL!

The photo on that website really sells the buildings short. It is a fine looking complex.

Unfortunately, the photos I have also don't do the apartments justice. They show the rear of the buildings, but you can see more of the footprint of the apartments.

BucksNative, I am happy to hear you are trekking up the Northeast Extension. A warm welcome to Scranton to you. I'd be happy to show you around, being a "Native" myself of these parts for all my 30-something years.

Can't wait for the development of the medical college and its spillover effects in the community. Just what the doctor ordered! (I should have posted my Bad Pun Alert.)

Clay Avenue Apartments are the low red brick buildings on the left.




Best,
MetroJ
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  #1058  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2007, 6:37 AM
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What's up with the old Hotel Jermyn?

I hope it's not torn down like the Casey was.

The Southern Union Bldg. is a KOZ zone, yes? Shouldn't take long to fill. Probably law firms.
FYI on the Hotel Jermyn. It is still standing and is used as an elderly apartment building. It was renovated about 10 years ago. The first floor was home to Lavish, a soaps and toiletries store, for a few years, until last year. It moved to a location on Linden St. and has since received national accolades from House Beautiful. The Northeast Theatre local acting company calls the Jermyn home, also.

Southern Union Building is in a KOZ I think. Roger Staubach's organization recently represented the sale/lease of the building and I heard several firms are interested in it.
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  #1059  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2007, 5:23 PM
Snakeyes Snakeyes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroJunkie BJR View Post
FYI on the Hotel Jermyn. It is still standing and is used as an elderly apartment building. It was renovated about 10 years ago. The first floor was home to Lavish, a soaps and toiletries store, for a few years, until last year. It moved to a location on Linden St. and has since received national accolades from House Beautiful. The Northeast Theatre local acting company calls the Jermyn home, also.

Southern Union Building is in a KOZ I think. Roger Staubach's organization recently represented the sale/lease of the building and I heard several firms are interested in it.



Hey Metro....yes should hear something in March re: Southern Union Building.
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  #1060  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2007, 2:13 PM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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Thanks, Snakeyes......you know things....

nice to have your posts MetroJunkie....an asset to the threads and to the area...

Back in Wilkes-Barre, speaking of 'a lack':

Inflatable dam....something fishy? or just all wet....

Posted on Wed, Jan. 24, 2007

OUR OPINION (Times-Leader)
Current of uncertainty enough to sink dam plan

MAYBE IT’S TIME to leave them to the beavers.

Dams, that is.

Especially when it comes to problematic portable dams on the Susquehanna River.

With so many people gnawing on this proposal for so long, we are disheartened that the Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Environmental Protection continue to have so many unanswered questions about U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski’s pet project.

As reported in Saturday’s Times Leader, the Corps and DEP want the county to provide more evidence that the seasonal dam won’t block fish migration or harm people and aquatic life by pooling up sewage outflow, acid mine drainage and nutrients that lead to algae.

We find it disturbing that the county has invested $1 million in dam studies and application permits yet can’t respond to these questions in more detail.

County engineer Jim Brozena says they can’t because “they’re asking for some things for which the data doesn’t exist right now,” and securing that data “would take considerable time and financial effort.”

We believe additional time and funds may not be warranted by a project with so many questions, so few answers and so many potential problems.

In the county’s publicly released letter, it says that the average time something harmful would be detained in the pool is 2½ to three hours. The worst case would be no more than two days, probably in situations when the river is low.

Knowing Murphy’s Law and government projects, we can’t help but wonder if the truism that, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong,” might not sink that optimistic estimate.

Imagine if the dam became a reality, and during one of our 90-degree August heat waves it was blocked for a week or two weeks?

Imagine the dead fish, the algal bloom.

Imagine a deserted riverfront, and a city choked by stench.

Improbable? Maybe.

Impossible? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Which is why we, and the Corps and DEP, continue to have so many questions.

Considering this logjam of conflicting opinions and with the riverfront development already under way, we suggest that it’s time to think about letting the portable dam proposal sink quietly away.

Scuttling the dam project would not only permit the county to focus on the work already under way, but would allow it to be reimbursed for the $1 million already invested in the project, Saturday’s article said.

Perhaps that money could be directed toward what is really needed for the Susquehanna: cleanup.

A clean river gliding past our renovated downtown would be free of nagging questions, undoubtedly beautiful and the ultimate magnet for residents and tourists alike.

And it’s not unthinkable that a clean river might even catch the attention of a few eager beavers.
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