With 20 years of work behind him and his team, Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo looks forward to a new decade and new projects.
“I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt,” he said. “We cleared the table of … things that have held us back. We can really see the whole field. We know where we’re headed.”
Lombardo, who started the city’s revitalization journey in 1998 with the help of council and other volunteers, still says the work may only be 35 to 40 percent done. With that in mind, the city has a full slate of projects planned for the new year.
To start, the city will be working on expanding and designing streetscape for the northern end of Main Street. Lombardo said work has already started on securing permits for the work. They plan to use a $1 million grant from Governor Tom Wolf to finance the project.
“It’s the trickiest part of the streetscape,” Lombardo said.
Main Street coordinator Mary Kroptavich and her team will contribute to the streetscaping as well, she said. Kroptavich stated she plans to use Main Street and the events tied to her position for philanthropic goals through the Redevelopment Authority.
“Part of the mission of our Main Street is to continue to give back to the community as we grow,” she said.
To that end, the Dowtown Pittston Partnership and Art E Fekts Gallery will host its first silent auction at The Banks on the riverfront in May, Kroptavich said.
“This will be an amazing fundraising event,” she said.
With the amphitheater behind the Pittston Memorial Library open, Kroptavich also plans to offer a “variety of movies and music” for the public in the spring.
Residents can look for new developments of old buildings in 2020 as well. Lombardo said the city has acquired the former Fort Jenkins School and will work with a developer on that as well as development of the “Burns Building” near the fire station that has already begun.
Within city hall, former mayor Jason Klush will step into the position of city treasurer for 2020, and residents will see the benefit of a technology upgrade to the city’s systems.
“We’re automating a bunch of our forms,” Lombardo said. “There will be more capacity to do more things via the city’s page portal.”
Lombardo also stated the city plans to announce a massive parks project early in 2020.
“It’s going to be the largest scale recreational project we’ve ever done,” he said.
Lombardo said he anticipates plenty of work still ahead to realize the vision laid out in 1998, but feels “incredibly optimistic” heading into a new decade.
“The magic has been everybody sticking together and staying focused on a master plan,” he said. “The credit belongs to everybody.”